'Red Baron' to fly again

29th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

29 September 2004 , MUNICH - "The Red Baron" will fly again in a new film version of the life and times of German flying "ace of aces" Manfred von Richthofen, credited with shooting down 80 enemy planes in World War One. Filming for the movie, which will star young German actor Matthias Schweighoefer in the title role is set to get underway early next year in the Stuttgart area, according to Munich-based production company Orange Pictures. Orange has teamed up with Miramax Entertainment to bring von Richt

29 September 2004

MUNICH  - "The Red Baron" will fly again in a new film version of the life and times of German flying "ace of aces" Manfred von Richthofen, credited with shooting down 80 enemy planes in World War One.

Filming for the movie, which will star young German actor Matthias Schweighoefer in the title role is set to get underway early next year in the Stuttgart area, according to Munich-based production company Orange Pictures.

Orange has teamed up with Miramax Entertainment to bring von Richthofen to the big screen in a production which will also star Klaus Maria Brandauer and Laetitia Casta as the romantic interest.

Estimated to cost EUR 25 million, the high-budget project is to be shot on location in Ludwigsburg, Germany with the town's Ludwigsburg Castle, quaint marketplace and its Baroque Crown Prince Palace making it ideal for the historical picture set in the war years from 1914 to 1918.

According to the magazine Filmecho:Filmwoche, "The Red Baron" has been in the cards for five years, with research for the screenplay carried out and prepared in Los Angeles.

Niki Muellerschoen, who is director and also wrote the screenplay, based the script on historical facts, focussing on the horrors of the war rather than emphasizing von Richthofen's derring- do.

Likewise, the movie will stress that the non-political aristocrat von Richthofen was actually exploited by the German media for propaganda purposes, which contributed to making him an international legend.

Originally to have been filmed in the US, Roland Pelegrino, who co-produced the film, said the film could be made much cheaper in Germany.

According to Muellerschoen's research, Richthofen shot down 75 enemy planes instead of the 80 usually cited. However, the first two planes he shot down, both French Nieuports, crashed behind enemy lines and could not be officially credited to Richthofen, though later on his kills were taken at his word.

Born in Breslau, Germany, on 2 May 1892, the son of a Prussian aristocrat, Major Albrecht von Richthofen, he began his military career as a cavalry officer. But after the war broke out, eager to become a pilot, he joined the Fliegertruppe (air service) as an observer in 1915.

After completing a training course, he was was assigned to an air combat unit, flying an Albatros D.II biplane. Most of his time in the air was with the double-winged craft or its successor, the Albatros D.III.

But it was his Dr. I triplane with which he is usually identified, since he had it painted blood-red from cowl to tail, so as to forestall any "friendly fire" from German gunners on the ground.

After Richthofen scored his 16th victory in the air, making him the top living German ace, he received the coveted "Blue Max" order (Orden Pour le Merit).

In April, 1917, Richthofen shot down four enemy planes in one day, his personal best.

Later in 1917, after shooting down his 41st plane, the German high command grounded him. But he was soon allowed to return to the front after making propaganda tours and being received by Kaiser Wilhelm.

He was shot down and killed at the age of 25 in the skies over Vaux sur Somme, France, 21 April 1918. 

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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