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I Haff a Cunning Plan
garrisons gorillas
lil_shepherd
Just to start with, this

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pope-readmits-holocaustdenying-priest-to-the-church-1515339.html

is one of the reasons I won't shut up about organised religion - in this case, the leaders of the Catholic church. This, of course, is the Pope who is well on the way to making Pius XII, who was on good terms with Hitler (who never renounced his own Catholicism), into a Saint.

This leads nicely into what I wanted to talk about, which is the movie Valkyrie.

There are real problems with adapting the July '44 plot to kill Hitler and take over the Reich. For a start, most people who go to see it will already know that this does not end well. It's hard, even for Bryan Singer, to drum up excitement when the audience is just waiting to learn what went wrong. It's a sure way to lose tension, particularly when your script details so many complications it begins to look like Mission Impossible IV. (I'm tempted to say only Craig Garrison could have pulled it off, but that's my mediafan background talking.) If you know nothing about the historical background - not to mention the organisation of the Third Reich - you lose track and start noticing things like the concrete block paving that is incredibly out of period. It also soon becomes clear that if one German officer has any brains, the whole thing is going to fall apart anyway - so you sit around waiting for it to happen and it eventually does. The one person who seemed to have a contingency plan was Goebbels... a rather triffic cameo by Harvey Friedman.

That said, Tom Cruise does his best with Von Stauffenberg (while the script glides rather gently over the fact that he was an authoritarian aristocrat, like most of the others who plotted to kill Hitler - and a committed Catholic so probably a better, if not very good, candidate for sainthood than Pius) and he is surrounded by great British character actors acting their socks off - but characters we know nothing at all about.

It's a decent movie, but you see it for the acting, and the handsome, accurate settings. It's too simplistic and too glossy, but Von Stauffenberg and his group were genuine heroes. If it has something to teach is that complicated plots don't work in real life...

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I'm not sure what to make of lifting the excommunication -- or more precisely, whether to care. Does it really make sense to say, "You're saying things that defy plain fact, so we won't turn wine and bread into Christ for you"?

Ah, but the usual reason for excommunication is disobedience to the Pope, which is what happened in this case. Of course, nothing else much matters to the Vatican except that the four Clerics involved refused to obey. The Vatican has given in over some of the doctrine points involved, and this has allowed compromise, and the re-instating of the four bishops.

This just points up how ludicrous the whole thing is. (And I have Catholic friends and relatives who would doubtless agree.)

is one of the reasons I won't shut up about organised religion - in this case, the leaders of the Catholic church. This, of course, is the Pope who is well on the way to making Pius XII, who was on good terms with Hitler (who never renounced his own Catholicism), into a Saint.

Not the smartest thing they could be doing at this time, I fear :-) I'm sure there are far better candidates for sainthood out there.

This leads nicely into what I wanted to talk about, which is the movie Valkyrie.

Haven't seen it, and am not likely to, as I don't get to the pictures, but it was never going to be an easy subject for a film - it would probably make a better TV drama.

It's a decent movie, but you see it for the acting, and the handsome, accurate settings. It's too simplistic and too glossy, but Von Stauffenberg and his group were genuine heroes. If it has something to teach is that complicated plots don't work in real life...

Far too many people involved. Von Stauffenberg had the courage ot have assassinated Hitler face to face, which at least would have got rid of him, but wasn't able to shoot him because of his disabilities (how did they show those in the film, or did they gloss over that too?) and the bomb could have worked but for bad luck they could never have foreseen.

Real Life heroes are messy complicated individuals, as Von Stauffenberg was. Hard to portray in an action movie.

Far from glossing over the disabilities, they made a big thing with the eyepatch and the glass eye - the glass eye (i.e. Cruise as normal) only being used when he was being introduced to Hitler etc. They used the usual long-sleeve gambit for the missing hand, and either cgi or fingers bent back on the left hand. Likewise real problems arming the device...

Well, that's something. Granted, it is quite hard even nowadays to show a missing limb when the actor is naturally whole, but in this case it's pretty integral to the plot - had he not been maimed he wouldn't have been in the position to do what he did.

To quote Sarah Silverman (a nice Jewish lady),

'My niece rang me up one day to say it was terrible that Hitler killed 60 million Jews in the holocaust.'

Six million, I told her, not sixty.

'Six, sixty, what does it matter anyway?' she replied.

Well, sixty million would have been unforgivable....

*snerk*

I (rather unfortunately) heard this in my head in a cod Jewish-momma accent.

Six (just 6) would have been too many. And, as the human mind can't understand really understand a million, except in an abstract, mathematical way, the difference between six and sixty million is something none of us can really take in - so perhaps she was right.

Edited at 2009-01-26 05:49 am (UTC)

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