Thursday, December 25, 2008
Crimefile’s Official Review of Valkyrie
Westwood Village, Los Angeles, CA—Being a history buff and having a special bond with Germany and its people seeing this film was mandatory for me. After serving as an Army medical corpsman(1968-1970)in Germany, I nearly stayed there to live. I should at least obtained employment with a government or company that would have given me equal time on both sides of the Atlantic.
I also have a special bond of sorts with actor and Valkyrie star, Tom Cruise. His “mother”, Janet Caroll, from the Film, Risky Business is my friend. Janet’s father was a Chicago Police officer and district secretary. She also has several police bosses in her immediate family. Janet was successfully acting and singing in both Los Angeles and New York. Janet has recently returned to Los Angeles where she has made a second life for herself as an ordained minister helping others.
Operation Walküre was a German government plan for martial law in event of a breakdown of law and order or revolt during World War Two. It was even approved by Adolph Hitler but I don’t think he had it in mind being used as a tool during a Coup d’état against his dictatorship.
The name, Die Walküre comes from that great Richard Wagner opera. The last time I remember that music being used in a movie was in Francis Ford Coppola’s Viet Nam War epic, Apocalypse Now for Colonel Kilgore’s (Robert Duval) Second Air Calvary helicopter assaults on the Viet Cong. Kilgore played Die Walküre over loud speakers as he and his troops chased VC gooks to frighten them while controlling their population.
The original word use was Norse. The Vikings called maidens who served their God, Odin as choosers of slain warriors, Valkyries, who were taken to reside in Valhalla
MGM publicists billed Valkyrie as a thriller. I’m not sure why since everyone who was not raised in a shoe knows the story. This was a drama and a very good one at that. The heart pounding moments were expertly detailed throughout this film.
This film was based on the most famous of the 15 plots to kill Adolf Hitler during his reign of power. It was bungled when, 37 year-old, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg who lost a a hand and two fingers from his remaining hand in combat could not assemble more than 50 percent of the explosives he brought to do the job. Hitler, while wounded continued in power for nearly a year before he was defeated and committed suicide.
Film critics, especially those working today hate war films. I did not expect they’d have much good to say about this MGM masterpiece. They are all too young and way too Gay to appreciate a good war story.
The costumes and props were incredibly accurate for the period. As for the acting I saw no weak players in this ensemble cast or anything to detract from the story. If there is a downside of this film is that there are no surprises since this attempted assassination and Coup d’état after all was and is well-documented history.
Tom Cruise has come a long way since, Risky Business. I will see this film moer than once and so should you.
Visit the official site
More about Janet Caroll.
The Guns of Valkyrie:
There are a lot of my readers with questions about the guns used in this film. As for the small arms represented was the Walther PPK pistol War issue in the popular (at the time) .32 caliber cartridge. That gun was issued to party bosses and Generals. They’d have all been better off with Walther P-38s or the Luger in 9-MM.
The standard Mauser duty rifles of the Bundeswehr are everywhere in the film. There were a few MP-40 9MM machine pistols in the film too.