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And isn't it baronic

"The Red Baron" is flying, driving and healing at dizzy cinematic heights! By Ekkehard Knörer

The following fate befell the filming of "The Red Baron - his greatest conquest was her love": "The next challenge was right around the corner. Til Schweiger who early on had agreed to play Manfred von Richthofen's best friend and flying companion, Werner Voss, tore his Achilles tendon at a charity football game organised by Michael Schumacher, and even when the filming was well underway it was doubtful whether he would be able to work at all. But thanks to the expertise of renowned sports medic Dr. Müller-Wohlfahrt he was up and walking within a week." (quote press release)

A miracle! The greatest racing driver of all time! The greatest sports medic of all time! The greatest actor of all time! For the sake of film fame and in honour of the greatest airman of all time! Germany is flying, driving and healing alongside the world's greats and just to make sure that everyone hears about it, big business has thrown 18 million euros at it. Not one cent of German film funding has gone into the project, a fact to be proud of. (Have the funding bodies come to their senses at last?!) And to satisfy the world's hunger for German pilot hero stories, the whole thing has been filmed in English. The language coach also worked on "Lord of the Rings". German cinemas are now showing the dubbed-back version. Made in Germany! Qualitätsprodukt! Ye gads!

And foreign greats are involved. Lena Headley (Kate) for example, last seen "at the side of the Spartan king Leonides alias Gerald Butler in the historical comic adaptation and box office hit '300' which made over 450 million dollars." (press release) Sparta! 300! 450 million! But does a German have to be behind it? A German like Til Schweiger? "In his latest hit movie from 2007 (already 5.5 million viewers) 'Keinohrhasen' (Rabbit Without Ears), the multi-talented Schweiger was involved at every level: scriptwriter, producer, director and leading actor." (press release) Numbers surpassed already! More than six million! Renaissance man Schweiger!

And hyperrealism in home-made German produce: "On the basis of well-founded, historical research the aeroplanes needed to lift into the air in absolute photorealism. Pixomondo employed the all the best talent, trained in Germany and brought back home to take on this painstaking task." (press release) Brought back home: director and scriptwriter Nikolai Muellerschoen who lives in Los Angeles! Exiled special effects experts come home to Pixomondo! Hollywood Renaissance man star Schweiger who plays football with the greatest racing driver of the world! And to top it all the international superstar Joseph Fiennes looks mournfully into the cameras in two or three scenes! Miracle of miracles! 18 million euros of private money!

Even the German resistance gave its seal of approval. Leading actor Matthias Schweighöfer reports from a viewing with Tom "Stauffenberg" Cruise: "'Tom asked me if he could have a look,' Schweighöfer said. How was the private film evening with the superstar? 'Tom set up a screening room in his hotel, ordered some food and put Suri to bed," the young actor explained. 'We watched the film together and then he leaped up and said: 'Incredible what you've made out of Germany! ( Incredible! Out of Germany! Screening room in hotel! Suri in bed!

And: "Director Niki Müllerschön: Is it right to make a film about a war hero? And a German war hero at that? I think so." (Reuters)

But: Should you bring 18 million euros worth of plot, dialogue, special effects and acting that is nothing but nonsense, that is intellectually and in every other respect hopelessly naive, idiotically stupid and dull as ditch water to German screens with impunity? I think not.

P.S.: German film board rating: Particularly valuable.

The Red Baron. Germany 2006 - Director: Nikolai Müllerschön - Actors: Matthias Schweighöfer, Lena Headey, Joseph Fiennes, Til Schweiger, Axel Prahl, Volker Bruch, Hanno Koffler

Ekkehard Knörer is film and DVD critic and publishes his own internet film magazine Jump Cut. He also writes for Perlentaucher on crime fiction.

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