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Karl Ritter (1888–1977) produced and directed some of the Third Reich’s most famous, popular and hard–hitting feature films. Having produced Hans Steinhoff’s Hitlerjunge Quex, his own WWI trilogy of Patriots, Operation Michael and Leave on Word of Honor made his reputation at the celebrated Ufa film studios. The huge popular and financial success of Pour le Mérite (premiered December 1938) prompted him to conceive of a sequel in early 1939. Whereas the story told in Pour le Mérite ended with the re–birth of a modern German air force in 1935, the second film was to show the Luftwaffe in victorious battle as the ‘Legion Condor’ in Spain. Ritter’s script drew on his experiences filming his documentary film In the Battle Against the World Enemy in Spain a few months earlier, and on his extensive personal diaries from this time. The production of Legion Condor called on huge resources with sixty characters, hundreds of extras, tanks,and with aircraft provided by the Luftwaffe. Military Advisor to the film was General der Flieger Helmuth Wilberg, who had overseen the deployment of the Condor Legion in Spain and who was a top strategist behind Blitzkrieg. The lead actors in Pour le Mérite were contracted. The film script had 167 Scenes and 527 camera shots, promising a major two hour long feature film. Filming was abandoned inlate August 1939 on direct orders from Hermann Göring and Dr. Joseph Goebbels – collateral damage to the infamous Hitler–Stalin Pact. The script of Legion Condor was presumed lost until the Author discovered a copy in a used bookstore in Berlin in June 2018. Exclusive access to the film script and to Karl Ritter’s unpublished diary, courtesy of Ritter’s grandson, provides readers with the true story of Legion Condor for the first time. The entire film script is translated into English, as well as twelve never–before–published B&W film press photos which survived.
This book is available from International Historic Films in Chicago, IL. USA and has a limited press-run of just 500 copies. 244 pages, with 126 footnotes, 38 B&W photographs and 4 full-colour poster plates.