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Valkyrie

ValkyrieNot all Germans supported the Führer
  and the Second World War, but a
  group of men loyal only to the Fatherland
  was brave enough to do something
  about it — risking everything, including
  the lives of their families, in a plot to
  assassinate Adolf Hitler and put into
  place Operation Valkyrie
...”

BASED ON A TRUE STORY ABOUT a daring coup and an assassination attempt on the Führer of the German Reich by the German Resistance during the Second World War, Valkyrie follows the plot that was masterminded by loyal nationalist Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Academy Award-nominee Tom Cruise: Mission Impossible, Minority Report).

Making its debut on Blu-ray and Special Edition DVD, the film is set in Nazi Germany and is exciting and watchable, but the most astonishing thing about the film Valkyrie is the truth that inspired the storyline.

Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg was totally committed to his country and his family. He served in Tunisia, North Africa, in the German 10th Panzer Division, and was badly wounded during an air attack, losing an eye, his right hand and two fingers on his left hand. A brave soldier, he became increasingly disillusioned by Hitler's empty promises of peace and prosperity and vows that the Nazi leader should die for the good of Germany.

Stauffenberg believes the outrages committed by the SS dishonour the German Army. He and his fellow officers are appalled by the dreadful crimes committed by the Nazis, including the mass execution of Jews and torture and starvation of prisoners. He considers his duty as an officer is about saving human lives and he sees Hitler as not only the enemy of the world but also of his beloved Germany. Convinced that the Nazi leader must die for the good of Germany, he also wishes to end the war.

Meeting in secret with other like-minded officers and civilians with a common purpose, Stauffenberg is resolute in his beliefs, knowing that he could face torture and death and that his family are also at risk. Hitler had Operation Valkyrie (Walküre) designed to completely secure his government in six hours and Stauffenberg rewrites the orders so that the group can seize control in three.

But Stauffenberg has somehow to get Hitler to sign the new orders and against incredible odds the plan is moved a step further when the colonel is reluctantly promoted to Chief of Staff for the Reserve Army, giving him access to Hitler at his private residence, The Berghof, and at The Wolf's Lair, where Hitler has his bunker.

The audacious and ingenious July 20 Plot to eliminate the evil tyrant is fraught with problems — including a change of location and the absence of Himmler, who must also be killed. And a final, unforeseen hitch spells trouble for the coup and for Stauffenberg, with far-reaching and tragic consequences.

Valkyrie is a well-paced dramatisation of the last of fifteen attempts by Germans to assassinate Adolf Hitler, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Führer of the German Reich. Nine months after these events took place, and with Berlin surrounded, Hitler committed suicide. Nina von Staffenberg and her children survived the war. She died on 2 April, 2006.

The film is a tribute to the brave men who risked everything for the greater good and tells an enthralling story with poignancy and attention to detail. Although tense by virtue of the terrible consequences of such action, the film did not exploit this tension to its full effect. However, Tom Cruise is excellent as the colonel with a cause and Valkyrie is likeable, fascinating and well-scripted with believable characters and superb acting.

Directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men, The Usual Suspects), Valkyrie benefits from a talented, international cast, including Academy Award nominees Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet, Henry V) as Major General Henning von Tresckow; Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton, In The Bedroom) as General Friedrich Fromm; and Terence Stamp (Get Smart, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) as Ludwig Beck.

The film also features: Bill Nighy (The Constant Gardener, Love Actually) as General Friedrich Olbricht; Eddie Izzard (Ocean's Thirteen, The Riches) as General Erich Fellgiebel; Carice van Houten as Nina von Stauffenberg; Thomas Kretschmann as Major Otto Ernst Remer; Kevin R McNally as Dr Carl Goerdeler; Jamie Parker as Lieutenant Werner von Haeften; Christian Berkel as Colonel Mertz von Quirnheim; David Bamber as Adolf Hitler; Tom Hollander as Colonel Heinz Brandt; David Schofield as Erwin von Witzleben; Kenneth Cranham as Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel; Halina Reijn as Magarethe von Oyen; Werner Daehn as Major Ernst John von Freyeno; Katharine Mehrling as the Female Singer; Mathias Freihof as Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler; Gerhard Haase-Hindenberg as Reich Marshal Hermann Goring; and Anton Algrang as Albert Speer.

Valkyrie is Written by Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander; Produced by Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie; Director of Photography is Newton Thomas Sigel, asc; the film is Edited by John Ottman; and Music is by John Ottman.

Bryan Singer's suspenseful WWII thriller Valkyrie is released on Blu-ray disc and Special Edition DVD on 8 June (2009) from MGM and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Blu-ray Disk

With over three hours of special features, the Valkyrie Blu-ray disc includes a Digital Copy of the film plus commentary by director Bryan Singer and Tom Cruise, behind the scenes Featurettes, and more.

Blu-ray (bonus features)

Disc One — Commentary by Tom Cruise, Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie | Commentary by Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander | Featurettes: The Journey To Valkyrie | The Road To Resistance: A Visual Guide; The African Front Sequence | Taking to the Air | Recreating Berlin | 92nd Street Y: Reel Pieces with Tom Cruise and Bryan Singer | The Valkyrie Legacy.

Disc Two — Digital Copy on DVD (allows you to transfer the entire movie onto a portable device such as your iPod or laptop).

DVD (bonus features)

Disc One — Commentary by Tom Cruise, Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie | Commentary by Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander | Featurettes: The Journey to Valkyrie | The Valkyrie Legacy.

"You did not bear the shame. You Resisted, Sacrificing your Life For Freedom, Justice and Honour" — From the German Resistance Memorial, Berlin

"Fascinating and well-scripted with believable characters… Valkyrie is a well-paced dramatisation of the last of fifteen attempts by Germans to assassinate Adolf Hitler…" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar