Sunday, January 11, 2009

Valkryie ***

MGM/United Artists
Running time: 2:02

I read in the Chicago Tribune that the director miscast Tom Cruise as head conspirator Col. Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg in the plot to assassinate the German leader on 07-20-44. I think Cruise did a fine job. I liked the film. I'm curious if this is accurate: the movie strongly suggested (SPOILER! but history) that if the Wolf's Lair meeting had been in the fortified bunker, as scheduled, the air pressure would have killed everyone in the room once the bomb went off. Instead, due to the heat of the day, planners moved the meeting to a nearby room with open windows. Unfortunately, the German leader survived the briefcase bomb and was not seriously hurt.

I'm unaware if the conspirators committed war crimes related to the German war machine before the assassination plot that failed and for which they paid with their lives. For that attempt, they deserve to be remembered as heroes. At the film's conclusion, an inscription on the German Resistance Memorial appeared on the screen:

German Resistance Memorial Plaque 07-20-53

You did not bear the shame.
You fought back.
You gave the great,
Forever tireless
Sign of change,
Sacrificing your glowing life
For freedom,
Justice, and honor.

Incidentally, Michael Sheen, who played David Frost in Frost/Nixon, appeared as a conspirator in Valkryie.

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