Valkyrie (2008)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 1 min

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In Nazi Germany during World War II, as the tide turned in favor of The Allies, a cadre of senior German officers and politicians desperately plot to topple the Nazi regime before the nation is crushed in a near-inevitable defeat. To this end, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, an Army officer convinced he must save Germany from Hitler, is recruited to mastermind a real plan. To do so, he arranges for the internal emergency measure, Operation: Valkyrie, to be changed to enable his fellows to seize control of Berlin after the assassination of the Fuhrer. However, even as the plan is put into action, a combination of bad luck and human failings conspire on their own to create a tragedy that would prolong the greater one gripping Europe.
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Bill Nighy, Carice Van Houten, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Cruise, Tom Wilkinson

Crew: Bryan Singer (Director), Newton Thomas Sigel (Director of Photography), John Ottman (Music Director)

Genres: Drama, Thriller, War

Release Dates: 25 Dec 2008 (India)

Tagline: Many saw evil. They dared to stop it.

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Did you know? Initially, Germany's Ministry of Defense would not allow filming on Bendler Block. They relented after appeals from Tom Cruise and screenwriter/producer Christopher McQuarrie. The entire crew started every night of filming with a moment of silence in memory of Stauffenberg. Read More
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Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Color
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital, DTS, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Taglines:
Many saw evil. They dared to stop it.
Goofs:
Factual Mistake
(at around 1h 8 mins) The table leg where Colonel Claus Schenk Graf Von Stauffenberg places the bomb was a "stout" (block) leg not a peg leg as shown in the scene. This was the critical difference in saving Hitler's life, because Colonel Brandt, trying to get a better view of the map, moved the briefcase to the other side of the stout block, away from Hitler. The blast thus blew away from Hitler, and ironically toward Brandt, who died from it.

Factual Mistake
Ludwig Beck was not wearing civilian clothes on July 20th. He had put on his military uniform for the first time in 6 years when the plot went into operation.

Factual Mistake
The pencil detonators are improperly armed throughout the movie. While the arming procedure does call for crushing the cap to release the acid, the detonator is equipped with a safety device that must be removed after the device is armed for it to function. The safety device is not shown at any time. It can be argued that the conspirators opted to remove this device beforehand, however this is unlikely, given the risk. The pencil detonators, while state of the art at the time, were commonly known to release the striker immediately after arming, which would instantly detonate the explosive if the safety device was not present. The conspirators would have known this.

Factual Mistake
In the film Otto Remer arrives to arrest Goebbels unannounced. Goebbels places a cyanide capsule in his mouth and hands Remer the phone hoping he will speak to Hitler to confirm Hitler is still alive. One assumes that Goebbels intends to bite the capsule should Remer decide to arrest Goebbels. This is not what occurred. Remer issued the orders to secure Berlin as per the implemention of Operation Valkyrie but realised that something was wrong. Remer immediately telephoned Goebbels and discussed the matter with him. He was then invited to visit Goebbels whereupon Goebbels arranged telephone contact with the Wolfs Lair and Remer was allowed to confirm that Hitler was still alive.

Factual Mistake
On the day of the attempt at Rastenburg, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg managed to get through Security Zone II with his briefcase containing the explosives without problems. He knew however that on entering the inner Security Zone I, all personnel except Adolf Hitler's inner circle were thoroughly searched, as a precaution against assassination attempts. In order to avoid it von Stauffenberg arranged so that he entered the Zone with Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel - an officer in Keitel's company would not be searched.

Factual Mistake
Hitler did not wear civilian clothes during the war, and it is unthinkable that he would have received an officer and approved a military plan while not in uniform.

Factual Mistake
(at around 17 mins) When Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg is recruited in the church, the camera pans up to show the bombed-out ceiling. Nuns and priests removed the stained glass windows from churches and buried them outside cities before the Allied forces began bombing Germany. If the ceiling was bombed out, the stained glass windows shouldn't be there.

Factual Mistake
Friedrich Olbricht is one star short. While he is correctly addressed as "General", and his official correspondence also names him as a General of The Infantry (General der Infanterie), Bill Nighy's uniform is that of a Lieutenant General (Generalleutnant), sporting the shoulder cords for General Officers with only one star.

Revealing Mistakes
During the executions no bullet impacts are seen in the sand bank behind the victims having passed easily through the bodies at such short range.

Revealing Mistakes
In a long shot of Tom Cruise and Kenneth Branagh it is clear Cruise is wearing a pair of big shoes to boost his height.

Revealing Mistakes
(at around 40 mins) As Adolf Hitler crosses the room to receive the new Valkyrie plan from Stauffenberg the upper part of his shadow advances faster than he does. This must be caused by an artificial light source outside the window, rather than what otherwise appears to be sunlight.

Revealing Mistakes
(at around 52 mins) Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg travels to and from secret meetings with Adolf Hitler in a Mercedes-Benz convertible. If you look closely at the front chrome grill, you can clearly see shiny outlines of various emblems that were removed prior to filming. The emblems are placed on Mercedes-Benz cars by their owners to indicate milestones in mileage, etc. They would never have been on a Nazi car.

Revealing Mistakes
(at around 4 mins) The P-40s that attack the Germans in the beginning of the movie do not have any rockets or bombs and neither do any of them fire their machine guns that caused the first explosion that killed the general and blew Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg off his feet. There just seemed to be an explosion when the fighters came up behind the Germans and nothing caused it.

Errors in Geography
(at around 37 mins) Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and his adjunct are shown being driven on their way to have the new version of Walküre signed by Adolf Hitler. There is a panoramic view of the exterior of the Berghof (Hitler's private residence). It is shown situated on the extreme top of a hill with large mountains (the Alps) a kilometer away in the distance, but nothing directly behind it. In reality, the Berghof was built onto the side of a hill and not on the top. In any period photograph of the Berghof you will clearly see the hill continues to ascend behind the building and there was a thick forest of trees behind it as well (covering the hill well above the height of the Berghof's roof). In the film no trees are shown behind the main building and it is shown to basically stand on its own, on the top of a hill.

Errors in Geography
(at around 6 mins) As Adolf Hitler and party arrive by air to Smolensk in Russia, in March 1943, the camera pans upon a vast green forest with not a trace of snow. March in this part of Russia is a quagmire of melting snow, ice and mud.

Errors in Geography
(at around 1h 28 mins) The building the German army barricades in Berlin is identified as the Ministry of Interior. It was actually the Reich Air Ministry. Today, it is the German Finance Ministry.

Continuity
(at around 15 mins) When Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg is in hospital after being wounded in Africa we see him giving wounded soldiers medals. On one soldier we see the indentation from the medal (in previous takes) before it has been placed on the lapel.

Continuity
When Adolf Hitler is flying into Smolensk, his plane has D-2600 and a black stripe painted on the wing. However, in the shot of the final approach to the runway (view from behind), the plane is devoid of these markings. They return once the plane is on the ground.

Continuity
When Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg changes in the room before setting the bomb, the cut on his neck disappears when he exits.

Continuity
After Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg shaves on the morning of the final assassination attempt and cuts himself, some blood drips on his shirt. As he gets into a car in the next scene, the blood is not there, but reappears when he arrives at the Wolf's lair.

Continuity
(at around 40 mins) When Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg hands Adolf Hitler the revised version of Operation Valkyrie, Hitler grabs the folder with his right hand and in the next shot he is holding it in his left hand.

Continuity
(at around 21 mins) When Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg meets his family for the first time after the accident, when he kisses his wife Countess Nina Von Stauffenberg you can see his nose, but in the next shot he is on the other side.

Continuity
When Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg flies back to Berlin the tailsign of the Ju52 is BT-A? when he enters it. During the flight it is DI-AY and after touchdown in Berlin it is BT-A? again.

Continuity
Prior to meeting Adolf Hitler, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg is shown with brown eyes, yet the glass eye shown is blue.

Continuity
(at around 52 mins) When Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and Haeften arrive at the Wolf's Lair on July 15th, Haeften can be seen descending from the car twice.

Character Error
(at around 35 mins) When Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg is speaking with his fellows, he looks at the portrait of Adolf Hitler hanging on the wall and says "At the end of this the portrait will be unhung, and a man will be hung." The grammatically correct past tense of "hang" (as a method of execution) is "hanged".

Character Error
(at around 20 mins) Early in the movie, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg speaks of Joseph Goebbels and mispronounces his name as "GO-bulls." The correct pronunciation is "GER-bulls."

Character Error
Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg is shown shaving on the morning of the final assassination attempt. However, the close-up shots reveal that he is already clean-shaven.

Character Error
When the actor playing Adolf Hitler signs the amended Valkyrie procedure, the signature does not even remotely resemble Hitler's, although it would have been easy enough for the producers to source a sample and have the actor study and practice it.
Trivia:
The "central communications center" (teleprinter room), which appears several times in the film, is a highly accurate depiction. Nearly 30 historically correct original teleprinter machines, of various types, were used - some provided by collector / technical consultant Henning Treumann, and some borrowed from other sources. All the machines were fully operational, and, in the film, are all printing authentic archival messages from the Nazi era, fed from off-screen teletype machines and notebook computers.

Germany has strict laws against displaying the swastika, though artistic displays are specifically exempt. Filmmakers usually use incorrect swastikas to avoid causing public outrage. The producer wanted swastikas for authenticity, so the crew posted warnings around the filming locations. Still, a local resident filed an official complaint with the city, who pressed charges against the owners of some filming sites.

Philipp von Schulthess, who plays Tresckow's aide in "Valkyrie", is the grandson of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg. In the movie Countess Nina Von Stauffenberg is pregnant with the mother of Philipp von Schulthess.

Initially, Germany's Ministry of Defense would not allow filming on Bendler Block. They relented after appeals from Tom Cruise and screenwriter/producer Christopher McQuarrie. The entire crew started every night of filming with a moment of silence in memory of Stauffenberg.

Much of the movie takes place in the offices of Bendlerblock which served as the offices for the military operations of the Third Reich's military command. The courtyard of Bendlerblock is where Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and the other conspirators were executed. Some of the filming of the movie took place at the actual building. This building is now the Memorial to the German Resistance (German: Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand). The statement in the final slide of the movie is from a plaque near the site of execution at the Memorial.

The film grossed $200 million worldwide making it the 5th highest-grossing World War II film of all-time.

Tom Cruise had personally chosen Carice van Houten to appear as his wife, after seeing her in another World War II film, Black Book (2006).

David Bamber (Adolf Hitler) is the only non-German cast member who speaks with a German accent. The filmmakers felt that audiences would be distracted by Hitler speaking in Bamber's natural British accent.

Tom Cruise was attracted to the role after seeing a picture of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, and noticing how similar he looked.

Some scenes had to be re-shot when the original film was destroyed after being treated with the wrong chemical during development.

The film's opening prologue is a quotation of a Nazi mandatory loyalty service oath for Soldiers of the German Armed Forces. It states: "I swear by God this sacred oath: That I shall render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler[,] Führer of the German Reich and people, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, And that I shall at all times be ready, as a brave soldier, to give my life for this oath . . . "

(at around 42 mins) When Christian Berkel's character is having the initial conversation with the other conspirators about the application of explosives and says "The trick is not to be around when they go off" is the same line David Niven says to Gregory Peck's character in The Guns of Navarone (1961).

(at around 41 mins) When Adolf Hitler signs the revised Valkyrie, the fountain pen clipped to Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg's bag is a Pelikan M100, produced in Germany during World War II.

Two cast members appeared in Downfall (2004), about the last ten days of Adolf Hitler's life. Christian Berkel played Ernst-Günter Schenck, an SS Doctor. Thomas Kretschmann played SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein, Heinrich Himmler's adjutant and Eva Braun's brother in law.

The high-majority of this movie's main leading cast who played Nazis were English / British actors: Kenneth Branagh as Major-General Henning von Tresckow; Bill Nighy as General Friedrich Olbricht; Tom Wilkinson as General Friedrich Fromm; Terence Stamp as Ludwig Beck and Eddie Izzard as General Erich Fellgiebel.

Eleven extras playing Wehrmacht soldiers were injured on the set when they fell out of a moving lorry (truck). One suffered a serious back injury, the rest had bruises, cuts, and head injuries. An insurance company investigation concluded that an extra closed the side panel improperly, causing it to open while the lorry was in motion.

Waldemar Kobus (Police Chief Von Helldorf) also appeared in the German film Operation Valkyrie (2004), playing Wolf's Lair officer Lieutenant Herber.

The film was originally scheduled for release on August 8, 2008, then moved up to June 27, 2008. The producer couldn't find a suitable location for the battle sequence in which Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg loses his eye and hand, halting production and moving release to October 3, 2008. Filming resumed in June 2008, and release was moved to February 13, 2009. After a successful test screening, release was finally moved to December 25, 2008.

Stephen Fry mentioned on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross (2001) (on a night when Tom Cruise was another guest) that he was offered a role. He was also very complimentary about Tom Cruise's knowledge of World War II.

Carice van Houten, Waldemar Kobus, Christian Berkel and Halina Reijn appeared in Black Book (2006), Paul Verhoeven's movie based on World War II.

Tobias Moretti was slated to play Adolf Hitler, but had to decline due to schedule conflicts.

This film hinges on the common belief that Hitler owed his survival to the last-minute change in venue from an underground bunker to the above-ground conference room. However, Mythbusters tested this myth and confirmed Hitler would've survived in either case.

Carice van Houten, who plays Countess Nina Von Stauffenberg, was the longtime companion of Sebastian Koch, who played Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg in the critically acclaimed German TV movie Operation Valkyrie (2004).

This is the second movie in which Kenneth Branagh, Kevin McNally and Ian McNeice have appeared together. The other was Conspiracy (2001). Both movies are based on true events from World War II and both are stories from the German side. Here they are Adolf Hitler's enemies, while in the other they are following Hitler's regime.
Movie Connection(s):
References: Apocalypse Now (English)