OPERATION VALKÜRE - DAS STAUFFENBERG ATTENTAT
(VALKYRIE) http://www.valkyriemovie.ch Running Time: 120 Minutes
Germany/ German CH in theaters on 20.01.09
French CH 28.01.2009
for press screening, thanks to Warner Bros. (Transatlantic) Inc. Zürich Branch /distributor for 20th Century Fox in Switzerland
Valkyrie is produced by Bryan Singer, Christopher McQuarrie and Gilbert Adler. McQuarrie co-wrote the original screenplay with Nathan Alexander, who also serves as co-producer.
I SAW THE BLAST
"There is widespread disgust in the officer corps toward the crimes committed
...Operation Valkyrie was the emergency plan Hitler himself had established to protect his government from civil unrest if he was cut off or killed...
Based on the true story, this movie
gets Tom Cruise starring as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. A
great performance, only , from time to time, a bit mellow, focused
around a basilar simplicity and supported by the wonderful acting of the
"conspirators", where we can easily recognize the excellent
quality of actors like Terence Stamp as General Ludwig Beck, or Bill
Nighy as General Olbricht . My mention goes also to two-time
Academy Award® nominee Tom Wilkinson in the role of the
"ambiguous" General Fromm.
Wilkinson took a role that could have very easily been portrayed as a
villain and instead portrayed him as a product of an extremely
duplicitous, treacherous environment.
He is a political maneuverer trying to survive in this world, and
he’s played brilliantly” says screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie.
photography is enchanting, the atmosphere of the 40s is obtained. The
only significant changes made to the facts are compressing the timeline
to fit a two-hour screenplay reducing the number of
characters involved. Director
Singer says, “We weren’t making a documentary.
The important thing was getting the truth of the story across in
the most engaging way.”
“The beginning of the film, before the bomb goes off in
Hitler’s [conference hut], is done in a more classical way, with
cranes and dollies and more formal, fluid compositions,”
director of photography Newton Thomas Sigel says. “But
after that, it’s almost entirely hand-held. We used a particular
kind of hand-held work with the cameras on the shoulders that feels
almost like a hand-held dolly. The result creates a kind of subtle
nervous energy, a feeling of uncertainty, increasing the suspense and
scenes of the movie are more than memorable, for example, what Hitler
says about Wagner, or when Colonel von Stauffenberg is somehow forced by
Fromm to make a major "Heil Hitler" greeting or when
Stauffenberg's personal adjutant (Lieutenant Werner von Haeften/Jamie
to be shot before and in front of "his" colonel. But
actually each scene is a blockbuster. Every second of the
assassination attempt at Wolf's Liar is thrilling.
“The film is a ticking clock,” Tom Cruise says.
“This is a dynamic suspense thriller that will keep
you on the edge of your seat all the way through.
I’m proud that we got the film made, and I’m very proud of
what everyone accomplished.”
All the sufferance of Colonel Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (15 November, 1907 – 21 July, 1944) (who faced much of the horror of the war), and all his inner torturing doubts about loyalty to Germany, surface clearly. The movie explores his conscience. He is aware he commits high treason. To take initiative joining the anti-Hitler conspiracy, trying to stop the dictator before Germany and Europe are destroyed, is no easy thing. This is not my country, he says. This is no longer his Sacred Germany and he feels he is right. “To experience it from Stauffenberg’s perspective and see what these men risked – not just their own lives but their families’ lives – it’s tremendous,” Tom Cruise says. “Ultimately, I don’t think Stauffenberg saw himself as a hero,” he continues, “He saw it as the correct thing to do, to try to end the war and spare human lives".
The Stauffenberg plot is represented in all its phases, solidly, incisively, without useless divertive, describing all the paranoia that a conspiracy against such a dictator implies. Important is also the question "what happens after the assassination"?. The strategy to use Hitler's own emergency plan Valkyrie, re-elaborating it in order to remove the highest in the regime, and in order to take Berlin, is not only well explained before the attempt to assassinate the dictator, but also represents much of the second part of the movie, when Stauffenberg really believes to have killed Hitler. "I saw the blast" he says, and he says it again when, horrified, he realizes that Hitler is still alive. The struggle between the two factions (Stauffenberg and Wolf's Liar), in order to command Berlin after the attempt, is simply brilliant as well as the mobilization of the Reserve Army. This struggle is won mainly by a decision of the communication office. It is a kind of little civil war in the war, a page of history that should be re-discovered, terrible hours of uncertainty hanging in a tensioned balance just for a short time. The Nazi government will be successful in regaining the power, but now we know, that just after nine months Hitler will commit suicide in the same Berlin.
Although Stauffenberg was a Roman Catholic, it's clear that in "Valkyrie" he represents a part of the German Resistance, without big religious scenery. Not all Germans supported Hitler, there were resistors, in the military too. Director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men, Superman Returns) re-teamed with Academy Award®-winning The Usual Suspects screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie because of this story, brought to his attention right by Christopher McQuarrie, who was very interested and intrigued by the assassination plot and by the key role played in it by von Stauffenberg. “A theme I am always attracted to is that of someone who is forced to step outside their reality and, by doing so, becoming a far bigger person,” McQuarrie says. “Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators were all men who had wives and children and established reputations. They knew going in they had little chance of success, and they understood if they failed it would mean certain destruction. That’s what we wanted to honor with this story.”
the plan wouldn' t have so quickly collapsed, could Operation Valkyrie
have succeeded? “I
think we can only speculate as to whether it might have worked,”
says McQuarrie. “No
one can say what exactly would have happened because there were so many
different factors at work. But
there is evidence to suggest that it could have succeeded.
And in the end, I think the conspirators achieved what they had
hoped for most: they had
shown the world there were Germans willing to make a stand.”
This movie arises dark memories and a kind of
dark fascination for a dramatic era that changed the world. An era whose
existence we should never forget.
from 700 years of German nobility, Stauffenberg grew up in Bavaria as
part of an elite family. Artistically
inclined, he loved architecture, music, and poetry, but in the 1920s
became a military officer who would soon be noted both for his irascible
streak of individualism and his unquestionable heroics.
He was said to have been singled out by his superiors for
possessing a genius for military organization and logistics, and he
rapidly rose in the ranks.
At the beginning of 1943, while fighting in Africa with the Tenth Panzer Division, Stauffenberg sustained severe injuries, losing an eye, his right hand, and several fingers on his left hand. Despite these terrible wounds, he was named Chief of Staff in the General Army Office in the fall of 1943. By then, he had already joined the resistance. On July 1, 1944, Stauffenberg became Chief of the General Staff of the Reserve Army – a job that would take him into direct personal meetings with Hitler. He suddenly found himself in the perfect position to make an assassination attempt on the Führer...
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