Don Stroud as Captain Roy Brown in 'Von Richthofen and Brown' - United Artists, 1971
[Prints best within 42 x 40 cm / 17 x 16 inches]
It's ironic that the best thing actor Don Stroud ever did in his long and illustrious career very nearly cost him his life. That's because the film Von Richthofen and Brown (aka The Red Baron) marks a significant time in motion-picture filmmaking. In 1970, when VR&B was shot, rear projection was no longer considered a cutting edge technique, and the advent of CGI was still a long way off --- So, always striving for a better picture, director Roger Corman decided to put leading actors, John Phillip Law (playing the Red Baron) and Don Stroud (playing Captain Roy Brown), up in the air, where they could do it for real with fixed cameras!
As I was saying, when they made VR&B they broke the mold... LITERALLY... and that's not all they broke. During the filming of an aerial scene, Stroud's pilot was KO'd by a passing duck. (Yeah, I said DUCK.) Anyway, Stroud, his plane, and his pilot crashed and sank in a river. When Stroud realized he was still alive, he managed to get free from his seatbelt and bring his unconscious pilot up to the water's surface until help could arrive. It was probably due to his aquatic agility as an experienced surfer, back in his native Hawaii, which allowed Don Stroud to miraculously save his own life and that of his pilot. Having said that, a stunt pilot was in fact killed during the filming of VR&B and there were injuries to others as well.
This film didn't win an Academy Award or Oscar... It doesn't deserve one... It deserves a MEDAL! These guys put their balls in the air, and that's just one of the reasons this film garners an almost mystical level of respect from those who appreciate it... to this day!
Hmmm... and there's something I like about the name of the film too ;)
Von Richthofen and Brown can be purchased on DVD, at major video stores and online:
Barnes & Noble:
Codi von Richthofen,
The Red Baron Gallery ©