"The Blue Max"
Music By Jerry Goldsmith
La-La Land Records
Disc 1 - 25 Tracks/Disc Time: 51:20
Disc 2 - 28 Tracks/Disc Time: 71:23
To coincide with the recent Twlight Time Blu-Ray release of the film, "The Blue Max" makes what could be one final and complete appearance on CD. The film based on the best selling novel by Jack Hunter which was considered somewhat hard to adapt into film considering that the book had characters that were virtually unlikeable to begin with. The film stars George Peppard ("Breakfast At Tiffany's", "The A-Team"), as German pilot Bruno Stachel, an ambitious and arrogant ace pilot during World War I who wants to make an ascent within the ranks of the flying corps. With a rival air pilot (Jeremy Kemp, "Top Secret!" and fierce lover Kaeti (Ursula Andress, "Dr. No") whose husband is General Count von Klugermann (James Mason, "The Verdict"), his commanding officer. Bruno strives to achieve his goal in obtaining "The Blue Max", a metal given to Germany's greatest fighter pilot. Bruno's arrogance and obsessive pursuit of this glorious honor puts him and his life in danger as the count orders Bruno to fly an newly designed and untested plane that would lead to disasterous results in the end. The film was not very popular for the most part and its two and a half hour running time and by the fact that film has so many unlikeable characters that made it hard to root for it. The greatest achievement the film had was the great cinematography which can really be enjoyed on HD.
The only other element that is worthy of mention is easily the music of the late Jerry Goldsmith, who was really starting to take off careerwise after scoring several Oscar nominations for "Freud", "A Patch Of Blue", "The Sand Peebles" and would follow with a well deserved one for "Planet Of The Apes" soon after this film. Goldsmith's score for this film is one of the more heralded because he somehow found inspiration to write such a solid score despite the circumstances of the film with the lack of redeeming characters, but featured the great cinematography I mentioned earlier.
Goldsmith fashioned his memorable score around themes and motifs that would really play out in the score's more memorable tracks "The First Victory", "The Attack", "Retreat Part 1", "Retreat Part 2" and "The Bridge" which are tracks that really soar much like the exceptional aerial sequences utilizing musical fugues and a passacagila (in both parts of "Retreat") that are very memorable and exciting. Unfortunately, they did not survive as intended in the final cut of the film. Goldsmith also creates suspense and melodrama where the film lacks anything that worthy of any redemption as he musically demonstrates in the tracks" The New Arrival", "A Pretty Metal", "First Blood", "The Cobra" and the score's other major highlight, "Kaeti Has A Plan", which features a touch of darkly embued elegance to it as much as Goldsmith's love theme for Bruno and Kaeti ("Love Theme From The Blue Max") does with his deft musical first class touch.
Finally presented here in its complete deluxe edition by La-La Land Records, this album and two CD's worth, which includes the original Mainstream album from 1966 should finally put the chapter of this score to rest after several CD issues including the last one by Intrada Records over five years ago which instantly sold out. This set is a complete as it gets for this score and if you include Twlight Time's Blu-Ray release (which features an excellent commentary track featuring Jon Burlingame, Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman that really puts Goldsmith's score into perspective with informative ease), that really puts the final nail in the coffin of Goldsmith goodness. My problem with this score is that it is a little too overhyped for its own good. Granted it features some really exciting material which was ultimately trauncated in the final cut of the film and unjustly so, but the rest isn't all that spectacular. What I will really give this score credit for is for being the comeuppance of Goldsmith the great composer film music fans would really love even more because soon after he really went for it musically in every score after this one without regret. "The Blue Max" nonetheless is a very solid release and reissue by the label that really has been long in coming after five long years of being out of print and gives a chance for those who missed it the first go around to rediscover it all over again. Thumbs up.