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Filmfacts indicated that a love scene between "Manfred" and "Else" was cut after a West Coast preview which May account for the varying running times. A Hollywood Reporter news item from early 1970 indicated that Von Richthofen and Brown would be shot on location in Munich. However, as Variety reported in a March 1970 article, shooting had been set at Ireland's Ardmore Studios where the popular 1966 Twentieth Century-Fox World War I feature, The Blue Max was filmed. A September 1970 Daily Variety item reported that stunt pilot Charles Boddington was killed during a crash during production. Filmfacts stated that the Irish government was forced to ground the twelve planes used for the aerial sequences being filmed at Weston Airfield near Dublin after Boddington's fatal crash and another the next day when pilot Lynn Garrison and actor Don Stroud, as "Arthur Roy Brown," suffered minor injuries after crashing into the Liffey River. Modern sources add Julie Corman to the cast.
Manfred von Richthofen (1892-1918) was Germany's greatest air pilot during World War I, credited with a record eighty enemy aircraft kills. Known variously as "der rote Kampfflieger" by the Germans, "le petit rouge" by the French and "the Red Baron" by the British and Americans, the famed ace was twenty-five years old at the time of his death in April 1918. Although Richthofen is generally portrayed flying the famous red Fokker Dr.I tri-plane, during most of the war he flew the Albatros bi-plane D.II and D.III that were only partially painted red.
As shown in the film, Maj. Oswald Boelcke (1891-1916), credited with forty enemy kills, served as Richthofen's mentor as well as commanding officer until his death. The film depicts Richthofen as responsible for the accident that led to Boelcke's death, but the incident also involved pilot Erwin Boehme, who actually collided with Boelcke's craft. Although the chronology of some events was changed for continuity, the film is historically accurate in many respects. Hermann Gring (1893-1946), who was later appointed Reichmarshal by Adolf Hitler and the head of the German Luftwaffe during the Third Reich, was a member of Richthofen's Jasta 11 and, as shown in the film, was made its commander upon Richthofen's death.
As the film indicates, Canadian Anthony Roy Brown (1893-1944) was officially credited with bringing down Richthofen. However, some years after the end of the war, through autopsy reports and numerous investigations into Richthofen's death it was concluded that the fatal shot that killed the flying ace did not come from Brown's Sopwith Camel guns, but from an Australian machine gunner on the ground.