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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

January 21, 2009

Will Tom cruise in German theaters?

[with comments]     Filed under Life in Europe

Tomorrow is the opening day for Tom Cruise’s movie "Valkyrie” in German theaters. It will be interesting to see how well the movie fares here.

There has been a lot of talk about "Operation Walküre", as the movie is titled in German, ever since Operation Walküre shooting began in the summer of 2007. Cruise’s selection to play Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg did not sit well with some people. Having a well-known Scientology member play the role of Graf von Stauffenberg was a source of controversy. The only co-conspirator still living when shooting on location in Germany took place in July 2007, Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager, told the magazine "Vanity Fair" that he is not against having Cruise portray Stauffenberg as long as Cruise "can make a distinction between the sect he represents and the movie. But if those two were to be mixed in some subtle way and used to benefit Scientology, then I would be opposed [to Cruise's involvement] 100 percent." Boeselager was the one who got the explosives for Stauffenberg’s bomb in 1944. In remarks made to the "Süddeutsche Zeitung", Stauffenberg’s oldest son Berthold voiced his disapproval over Cruise playing the role of his dad by saying, "I don’t like the idea of an avowed Scientologist playing the role of my father." On the other hand, Graf Stauffenberg’s youngest daughter has praised the movie. In an interview with German television last night, she said: "I went into this film ready to criticize it but I have to say I was very positively surprised by it." The controversy over Cruise’s connection with Scientology continues, with Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Bundestag representative Michael Brand calling for a boycott of the film only yesterday. "I’m quite sure that Stauffenberg himself would offer resistance" to the film based on Cruise’s involvement and the reputation of Scientology in Germany, which is viewed as a totalitarian, antidemocratic organization.

Other concerns were that the film is not totally accurate historically, but here historians are not agreed among themselves on this point, although there is general agreement that movie is largely accurate in its depiction of the events. In advance of its release tomorrow "Operation Walküre" has been praised for having grossed US$ 71 million in the four weeks since its release in the United States, exposing many people to the Stauffenberg story, which most people don’t know anything about. The move is thus seen as presenting a different picture of the German people during World War II.

Comment from Rachel Fite:

I loved this movie. Go see it!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.

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