Valkyrie is one of a host of female figures who decide who will die in battle In Norse mythology. It also stands for an emergency continuity of government operations plan developed in Nazi Germany, which was intentionally used by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg in an attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944. Hereby we are talking about a film shot in 2008 based on this historic event, starring Tom Cruise.
Besides Colonel Stauffenberg, several military officers were involved in this assassination, including Marshal Erwin von Witzleben, Colonel General Ludwig Beck, General Friedrich Olbricht, General Erich Fellgiebel, Major General Henning von Tresckow, and Colonel Albrecht Ritter Mertz von Quirnheim, etc. We can see all these key figures in this film, together with Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Göring. Between the two parties we have General Friedrich Fromm, who remained quiet in spite of his awareness of the assassination until the action failed, when he immediately had the conspirators executed against Hitler’s orders to take the conspirators alive. This is kind of festival ceremony to history buffs like me, although it is a pity that all German officers are speaking English here.
As a Hollywood production, we can find Hollywood-style elements everywhere. The film focuses on the assassination event itself, with typical Hollywood’s tension plot. We can even find a beautiful, Hollywood like Ms. Stauffenberg here. It is a pity of the ignorance of deeper exploration in Colonel Stauffenberg’s mind and motivation. Instead we have a perfect minded anti-Nazi warrior at the very beginning.
It is a surprise to find Bill Nighy as General Olbricht here, whose hesitation indirectly causes the failure of the action. If you ever watched British movie “Love Actually”, you probably got impressed by the outdated rock singer. That is Bill Nighy. It is fairly interesting to meet him as a Nazi officer, an indecisive one. He and General Fromm star the most vivid figures in this film following Stauffenberg.
Besides Tom and Bill, all the other roles are played by German actors with typical German faces, including real Colonel Stauffenberg’s grandson. Enjoy these shining young figures in German uniforms, which could be considered as a major attractive point to female audience.
The film ends up with Marshal Witzleben’s speech in Nazi court: “You may hand us over to the executioner, but in three months time the disgusted and harried people will bring you to book and drag you alive through the dirt in the streets.”
I personally visited Berlin last year, including Bendlerblock, where the conspirators were executed in real life. It is a commemorative museum now. Even the street where it locates is named ‘Straße von Stauffenberg’ . Here are some pictures I took there, just contrast them with the scenes in the film.
Here are screen shots from the film.
And here comes Colonel Stauffenberg and Tom Cruise.