Toward the waning days of World War II, it was becoming obvious even to the Germans that they'd lost the war or were getting very close to doing so. Valkyrie follows the true story of Colonel Schenk Von Stauffenberg as he and a band of German officers and collaborators attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Since this is based on the historical accounts of the actual events, the usual no-spoilers rule will not apply here. Stop reading if you're not familiar with these events and want to see the movie without knowing about it first.

The movie begins with Stauffenberg and a panzer division stationed in northern Africa in 1944. He and one of the generals are discussing the state of the war and what is to be done about bringing it to an end before Germany is utterly crushed by the Allies. As Stauffenberg wins the aid of the general, an allied bombing raid destroys their division, leaving Stauffenberg as the only officer alive. He returns to Germany wounded and ever more determined to bring down Hitler. In the course of meeting with fellow resistance members, Stauffenberg devises a plan to put what's known as Operation Valkyrie into effect.

Operation Valkyrie was a plan Adolf Hitler came up with as a contingency plan for securing control of the government in the event of rebellion or other hostile action by subversives. The plan called for deployment of the German reserve army to repel the hostile force. Stauffenberg came up with a rather brilliant plan to rewrite the execution of this operation from its normal 6 hour deployment timetable to a 3 hour timetable. The rewritten plan the resistance was to put into action was an internal coup by the SS, German state security. As the scenario was laid out, the SS stages a coup, Operation Valkyrie is put into effect to put it down. When in reality, the reserves are being tricked into becoming the instruments of the very coup Hitler wished to avoid. In order to have maximum effect, Hitler was to be assassinated and his death blamed on the SS as the opening shot. Communications from Hitler's bunker would be severed to add to the confusion. The resistance would then round up high ranking members of the government such as Himler and Goebels and have them arrested. Once all this was over, the new government was to sue for peace with the Allies in order to bring a more dignified end to the war than what they knew was coming.

It was all so perfect, and yet so much ended up going wrong. First, the bombs they planned to use in Hitler's bunker at the Wolf's Lair couldn't be placed. The conference they were targeting got moved to a flimsy wooden hut instead of the concrete bunker. It was too hot. Also, Himler was not at the site and there was considerable delay in decidng to go forward with the plan. Such is July in Germany I guess. Instead of having two bombs, they only got to us one because Stauffenberg and his partner got interrupted while trying to arm the devices. So when the bomb went off, it was insufficient. They did however manage to sever communications. The man in charge of mobilizing the reserve army failed to act upon being told the bomb had gone off. He chickened out and wanted confirmation Hitler was dead first. Stauffenberg returned to Berlin to find the reserve alert had only just been issued - a very costly mistake that cost them almost 4 hours. It turned out this delay was enough to throw the whole plan to hell. Hitler had been uninjured by the attack and communications were restored at Wolf's Lair. Eventually they cut off Stauffenberg's central communications and the reserve army figured out they'd been duped. By the end of the day, everyone had been arrested. By the middle of 1945 everyone who participated was executed for treason. Sadly only a few months before the end of the war.

I was aware of several attempts having been made on Hitler's life. I was not however aware of just how close Valkyrie had come to working. In total, there had been 15 separate attempts on Hitler's life by various elements within Germany. Near the end he had developed quite an immortality complex.

Think what you will about Tom Cruise, but I think he did an excellent job with the part. I also think the movie in general does a very good job of telling the story of what happened on that fateful day that came so close, yet so far. If you're at all into historical movies, you should definitely go see it. I doubt very much I'm giving it justice here.

Prospects for future movies are not good until around May sometime when a whole series of really good stuff is planned. I mentioned them all in the last movie post, so I'll spare repeating them here.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Jan 1, 2009 10:43 pm by Samson in: | 3 comment(s) [Closed]
I may rent this one when it comes out because I am somewhat of a history fan, but I'm not a fan of holocaust films nor Tom Cruise (especially since he became a poster boy for Scientology) so I definitely won't be even considering seeing this one in the theatre.

Well, oddly enough, despite being about WWII and obviously happening at the time of the holocaust, that was never really mentioned that I can remember. But I can certainly understand not wanting to see it because Cruise is a wacked out weirdo ( yes, that's safe to say here :P ).

Well, yeah, Cruise is pretty whacked out and about as strange as they come, but it really is specifically the Scientology connection that bugs me. I lost a sister to Scientology years ago and when we thought there finally might be hope of recovering her, she died from medical issues. Suffice it to say, I'm no fan of anything I know benefits Scientology and Cruise has become its poster boy of late so anything he does can only benefit them in a myriad of ways. :(

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