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(Review originally written at 15 May 2009)

There aren't an awful lot of WW I movies to watch out there and there certainly are very little WW I flick that is about its aerial battles. In that regard this movie is already a quite original one that is worth watching for its concept alone already. Movies featuring aerial battles are often surprisingly great and fascinating ones and makes you wonder why so few movies got made about it.

This movie is by no means a great or flawless one but the movie still certainly has an epic feel over it, with its story, settings and battle sequences. It makes this movie still more than a great watch. It's certainly a movie that deserves to be better known.

Of course the movie deserves most praise for its battle sequences in the air, that are shot extremely well. The planes and weaponry are so terribly old fashioned all but it doesn't make it any less exciting to watch, thanks due to the professional way it is being brought to the screen. For those particular sequences they used experienced (stunt)pilots and mostly authentic planes. Besides its battles in the air, the movie also features some surprisingly big and good looking battle sequences fought on the ground.

The movie also gets its great look from its dynamic camera-work by Douglas Slocombe and the movie its musical score composed by Jerry Goldsmith uplifts the movie as well at times.

The movie begins mostly well and exciting but about halve way through it starts to drag when the movie decides to focus more on the drama aspects, also with it characters. The movie of course also decides to throw in a love-story and the movie just overall becomes a tad bit less interesting and less exciting to watch, especially its middle part. The movie is also quite long with its 156 minutes of running time. This all is of course quite suiting for an 'epic' movie and it also helps to give the movie its epic feel and look but you also have the feeling that the executing could had been better at times. This movie basically had everything in it to become and classic epic but in the end it's nothing more than simply a very good and entertaining movie to watch. Perhaps a different director could had done something more and better with its material.

The movie features George Peppard in the main lead from the days when he was still a big star. You could say that at the time of this movie he was at his prime. next to him, the movie also stars big name actors such as James Mason and Ursula Andress. Especially Andress shines in her role.

Despite its lesser parts this movie foremost really remains a god and perfectly watchable one, that also deserves to be seen and known by more people from all over the world. Seems like a real waste to me that this movie isn't any better known yet.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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