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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and United Artists present


A Bad Hat Harry production

An Achte Babelsberg Film GmbH co-production

A Bryan Singer Film

Directed by BRIAN SINGER
Screenplay by
Christopher McQuarrie & Nathan Alexander
Produced by
Bryan Singer Christopher MCQuarrie



 Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg - Tom Cruise
Major-General Henning von Tresckow - Kenneth Branagh
General Friedrich Olbricht -  Bill Nighy
General Friedrich Fromm - Tom Wilkinson
Nina von Stauffenberg - Carice van Houten
Major Otto Ernst Remer - Thomas Kretschmann 
Ludwig Beck -  Terence Stamp
General Erich Fellgiebel - Eddie Izzard
Dr. Carl Goerdeler Kevin R. McNally 

Lieutenant Werner von Haeften - Jamie Parker
Adolf Hitler - David Bamber
Colonel Heinz Brandt - Tom Hollander
Erwin von Witzleben - David Schofield
Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel - Kenneth Cranham



(VALKYRIE)    Running Time: 120 Minutes

Germany/ German CH    in theaters on 20.01.09

French CH 28.01.2009 
Italian CH  30.01.2009






preview  by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo ___        

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. 




"There is widespread disgust in the officer corps toward the crimes committed 
by the Nazis – the murder of civilians, the torture and starvation of 
prisoners, the mass execution of Jews. My duty as an officer is no longer 
to save my country, but to save human lives.

I cannot find one general in a position to confront Hitler with the courage 
to do it. I’ve found myself surrounded by men unwilling – or unable – to 
face the truth: Hitler is not only the archenemy of the entire world, but 
the archenemy of Germany.

A change must be made…”

- Tom Cruise as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg in Valkyrie



...Operation Valkyrie was  the emergency plan Hitler himself had established to protect his government from civil unrest if he was cut off or killed...

This a very good movie, a true suspense film. The thriller mood crawls over the audience at a certain point  of the story, exactly when the plot against Hitler takes shape. And this thriller- feeling will never go away. 

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. Tom 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.  The tension in the story is anchored on the affection we develop for these characters,” says McQuarrie.  The suspense lies in witnessing what each and every one of these men goes through in choosing to join the plot, and the decisions they each make in the course of its fateful execution.”  This is 100% true.   

The 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 anxiety.” 

Yes, it is a controversial film, but because the story of any conspiracy is controversial by nature. Although mainly filmed (and very well filmed) in interns, the  externs are perfect as well. Related to this, many scenes of the movie are recorded in original places.   The film indeed is shot in Germany at various locations where many of these events occurred, including Tempelhof airport and Bendlerblock – the military headquarters where Operation Valkyrie was born. Buildings recreated, instead, are Hitler’s home and headquarters in the Bavarian Alps, known as “The Berghof", the interior of the War Ministry (offices of Stauffenberg, Olbricht, and Fromm) and the Wolf's Lair (Wolfschanze camp), Hilter’s famous massive hideout in East Prussia (Northern Poland), where Stauffenberg sets off the bomb on July 20, 1944. Wolf's Lair was located in the Goerlitz forest in the Masurian Lake district. So the movie recreates the camouflage and that feeling of being in a "hidden" part of Europe, away from the very stage of the war, yet anyway in the dark centre of it. The camp has bunker and barracks, the film  faithfully describes why  a first attempt in the bunker aborted (Himmler was not present at the briefing), and that, on July 20th, the assassination attempt must be done in a barrack.

Many 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 Parker)  decides 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.”   

If 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.

rating: 9,5/10

from production notes:

...Descended 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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