You have to admire the pilots in WWI. They fought high above the trenches in planes that were death traps to begin with. They didn't view themselves as regular soldiers. They were more like adventurers playing a high stakes game of cat and mouse with their enemies. The 'hunt' was what was important. None of these brave pilots were more famous than Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the so-called Red Baron (only the coolest nickname EVER!).
Von Richthofen would tell his men, "We are sportsmen, not butchers". They were expected to be symbols of all that was 'old school' heroic and seemed to come from a different era entirely. It was more important for pilots to be gentlemen and follow a code of ethics (to fight with 'grace'). They would never kill an opponent who was not shooting at them first. They would view the strafing of ground troops as 'rude'.
There is a scene midway through the film that shows the Baron sharing a drink and conversation with the Canadian pilot (Charles Brown) who would eventually be the one to shoot the Red Baron down. They both had found themselves being forced to make an emergency landing. Once on the ground they were no longer adversaries. They were just a couple of guys who got separated from their squadrons. The war only existed for them while they were flying.
Richthofen's achievements in the air caught the attention of the German Kaiser early on. He saw in the young pilot, the perfect tool for propaganda. This was something that Richthofen resented because it took him away from flying and doing what he did best. Despite the fact that he would be easy to spot in the air, the Baron insisted on painting his plane red so as to strike fear in the heart of the enemies when they saw him coming.
The movie has many great fight scenes where you experience what it must have been like to participate in aerial combat. The rest of the film, however, feels cold and detached emotionally. Even the romance with a french nurse (Lena Heady) lacks passion. What we get are snippets of the famous Ace's career and I left the film without learning anything new about the person the Red Baron was. I wanted to know more about where his ethics and ideals came from but the movie left me cold.
It seems that the German public also saw problems with the film. While being one of the most expensive films ever produced in Germany, it was one of its least successful and was roundly panned by critics.
"Germany's greatest First World War fighter ace, Baron Von Richthofen, known as the Red Baron is shown departing his Fokker DR.1 Triplane 425/17 after yet another successful sortie. 425/17 was the aircraft in which the Red Baron finally met his end in April of that year. No fewer than 17 of his victories having been scored in his red-painted triplane."
Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness
I forever stand vigilant to protect this planet from the myriad of forces that are always against us. Be it the octopus, zombies, aliens or the robots my team of human agents, and our feline allies, circle the globe in a never ending struggle for human freedom.
I learn all I can on every subject that interests me. I especially enjoy ancient history because in the past there are valuable lessons to be found. Also, if I ever get my time machine to work properly, it would be good to know a bit about possible destinations and what to expect when I get there.
I greatly appreciate beautiful design. Be it manufactured or found naturally I am fascinated by the process of invention. I am attracted to the unique, the strange, the haunted. I like to share what I find on this blog.
And not let us forget the 'Cephalopod Menace' who, if allowed to, would wrap their tentacles around all that is good and pure in this life and crush it until it remained no more. They are creatures of pure spite. Hate is all they know. Death is all they do. They are our most ruthless and determined enemy.
So we fight. Selena has the celebrity contacts, the cat is ruthless and without pity, Roosevelt's ghost has the experience and I do the wetwork.
Fighting for the future of the planet doesn't have to be a chore, however. We can take the time to appreciate all that is cool in this world even as we cut the octopus into bite sized chunks.
This is the reason there has always been and must forever be, a Cave of Cool. Be sure to wipe your feet before you enter.