Zeppelin Film Details
Overview: In 1915, frustrated with the German air-raids on London, British Intelligence sends Scots officer Geoffrey Richter-Douglas, who has German ancestry, to Germany, to find information about the latest German Zeppelin.
Tagline: The Great War’s most explosive moment!
Review: Belgian-born director Etienne Perier made two English-language films in the early ’70s. One was the action-orientated Alistair MacLean adaptation When Eight Bells Toll; the other was Zeppelin, a WW1 story about an audacious raid on the British mainland. Neither film was a huge success, though both were pretty serviceable. Perier retreated back to Belgium after these two efforts, where he has continued making French-language movies ever since. If pushed to state which of his two English-language films I like the most, I would probably (marginally) go for Zeppelin, as it features an unusual storyline and is entertaining in its quiet, workmanlike way. A German-born British soldier, Geoffrey von Richter-Douglas (Michael York), is called upon to carry out a tricky mission during WW1. It seems that the Germans have developed a very advanced zeppelin (giant airship) called the LZ36, which they could potentially use to carry out bomb raids and other such strikes against Britain. Von Richter-Douglas is ordered to “defect” to the German side and work his way into the full trust of the Germans so that they will allow him access to the LZ36. The only person who unconvinced that Von Richter-Douglas is committed to the German cause is Ericka Altshul (Elke Sommer), beautiful wife of the zeppelin’s designer Christian Altshul (Marius Goring). Von Richter-Douglas talks his way aboard the zeppelin as it embarks on its trial run, but is horrified to discover that the supposed “trial run” is actually an intricately planned, top secret attack on the British mainland. The objective is to storm a fortress where the Magna Carta document is being kept and destroy the document, striking a blow against British morale by robbing them of one of their most valuable items of heritage and history. Unable to make contact with his superiors to forewarn them of the attack, Von Richter-Douglas is left to ride out the raid and wait for a chance to thwart the plot from within. York’s character is quite interestingly presented, being a German by birth but a Briton by nationality. Tension is created as the film progresses by making the viewer wonder if he will aid or hinder the German plan. Alas, York is not at his best in this film, and his stiff performance mars the action somewhat. The aerial photography is very exciting, though, with some good scenes aboard the airship as it drifts across the North Sea on the way to its devastating strike. The film is quite slowly paced for its opening half, but becomes brisker and more absorbing as it enters the second act. The climactic raid is quite excitingly done, although – as several reviewers have already noted – too many loose ends are left unresolved as the final credits roll. Zeppelin is a passable film and would go down well on one of those rainy afternoons when there’s nothing else worth watching.
Country: United Kingdom
Duration: 100 min
Genre: Adventure, Drama, War
Also known as: Zeppelin – Das fliegende Schiff,Zeppelin,Cepelinas,A Zeppelin,Tseppelin,Zeppelin – ilmojen jättiläinen,Operacja Zeppelin,ツェッペリン,Vzducholoď,Gökler yanıyor,Цеппелин