Wernher von Braun - I reach for the stars

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German title Wernher von Braun - I reach for the stars
Original title Wernher von Braun (German)
I aim at the Stars (US)
Country of production Germany , USA
original language English
Publishing year 1960
length 107 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director J. Lee Thompson
script Jay Dratler
production Friedrich A. Mainz
Charles H. Schneer
music Laurie Johnson
camera Wilkie Cooper
cut Frederick Wilson

Wernher von Braun - I Reach for the Stars is a German-American feature film from 1960 that deals with the life of the German rocket researcher Wernher von Braun . Curd Jürgens can be seen in the title role .


In the style of a classic film biography (biopic), the professional and private stations of Wernher von Braun are retold. His reluctant resistance to the SS and the Nazi armaments policy is particularly emphasized and his role in the Third Reich as that of an apolitical follower is glorified; It is kept secret that he was a member of the NSDAP and the Reiter-SS and even had the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer. The second part of the film describes von Braun's new beginning in the United States and his significant involvement in the creation of NASA and the exploration of space.

Production notes

The director J. Lee Thompson confessed in a television interview that he himself was dissatisfied with the cinematic result regarding the transfiguration of von Braun's role in the Third Reich, but the producers would have liked this tendency.

The film had its world premiere on August 19, 1960 in the Mathäser-Filmpalast in Munich . Exactly two months later it also started in the USA. Sometimes the production is also run under the short titles Wernher von Braun , I reach for the stars and The man who reached for the stars .

The film structures were designed by Hans Berthel ; Walter Rühland was responsible for the sound . The Austrian émigré George Froeschel had worked on the story.


The mirror tore down the work in 1960:

“With that astonishing, no longer shocking clumsiness, which has already become notorious for US politics in the middle of the century, Columbia producer Charles Schneer took up the project of his German colleague FA Mainz, the bi-national rocket builder Wernher von Braun still to be degraded to a cinema hero during his lifetime. The result - directed by the Englishman J. Lee-Thompson - is oppressively embarrassing. As if from a well-dosed party program, everyone can hear what they like from this film: reproach against the title hero because he constructed the V 2 - praise because he did it 'for Germany'; Accusation for 'betraying' Germany - praise for doing it for the West; Accusation for changing the flag - praise for being 'true to himself'. "

- The mirror 1960

The time for this film on August 26, 1960:

“To speak of the film: the best thing about it is its objectivity with regard to the ambiguity inherent in modern research, the scientific race to“ conquer space ”and the constant exploitation of this competition for military purposes. [...]

The film can hardly be addressed as a work of art, at most as a dramatized and sometimes a little fudged factual report, mixed with a few episodic lyricisms and polemical dialogues. [...]

In any case, J. Lee Thompson's director knew how to win a number of exciting moments from the not excessively varied photo report and to replace what the recordings often had to lack in visual appeal with a corresponding amount of acoustic props. [...] "

- The time 1960

The Lexicon of International Films called the film a "film biography which cannot satisfactorily explain the problem of conscience and responsibility towards the released power".

The Movie & Video Guide saw the film as "an unconvincing fictional story".

Halliwell's Film Guide wrote: "Sensitive biographical film about a controversial scientist who switched sides".

The criticism of the GDR mainly emphasized the Nazi role von Brauns in propaganda and emphasized the rocket researcher's commitment to US armaments. There it says: “The world premiere of the Columbia film“ I aim the Stars ”on August 19, 1960 shows how far the political commitment to film moves within the framework of the 'North Atlantic Partnership' Munich more than clear. The film rehabilitates and glorifies the V-2 wonder weapon expert, war criminal, Knight and Federal Cross of Merit Wernher von Braun [...] in a wide screen sheet and should make the American rocket strength in the age of the Soviet spaceships difficult to believe. "

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Lee-Thompson's statement in the 2008 documentary Der Raketenmann , broadcast on ZDF on March 24, 2012
  2. Film review in Der Spiegel , No. 36, August 31, 1960. P. 55f.
  3. ^ Film review in Die Zeit , August 26, 1960.
  4. Klaus Brüne (Red.): Lexikon des Internationale Films Volume 9, S. 4275. Reinbek near Hamburg 1987.
  5. ^ Leonard Maltin : Movie & Video Guide, 1996 edition, p. 614
  6. ^ Leslie Halliwell : Halliwell's Film Guide, Seventh Edition, New York 1989, p. 495
  7. Claus Ritter: Papas Kino . East Berlin 1964, p. 192.