"The Last Valley", Austrian 70mm Premiere
The film will be screened in Innsbruck on 24th and 27th September 2009 for its 40th anniversary of shooting – first time in Austria in it’s original 70mm-version.
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|Written by: Press Release by Dietmar Zingl, Leo Kino||Date: 18.09.2009|
|Image by Dietmar Zingl|
In Austria as in Germany "The Last Valley" got only a handful of reviews, nearly all of them raving about the film. The worst review came from the "Film Dienst", a publication of the Catholic church. Of course, it was a disaster.
James Clavell was a very well known and celebrated screenwriter and Producer/Director with films like "King Rat", "The Great Escape", "The Fly" and the successful "To Sir With Love", his first film as a director, to his credit. Today it may look an odd choice: a subject like the 30-Years'-War in Germany, not necessarily interesting to the rest of the world. But he found some parallels between this war and the war in Vietnam as well as to a rebelling youth in 1968. And he was right in a way. The film was a commercial failure at the box office, did fairly well in England and in some other countries, but was a disaster in Germany and Austria. IT ended the era of Todd-AO Roadshow movies, so it is fairly well hated among fans of that format (They should rather blame "Custer of the West" and "Krakatoa, East of Java"). That is deeply unfair. The film may have ITS faults, but there is much more to see and hear. And if you compare it with today's films from Hollywood it is an artistic highlight in its own way.
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|There is magnificent camerawork by Cinematographers Norman Warwick and John Wilcox. They made intelligent use of the Todd-AO format: There is a stunning contrast between the interiors, the small church and houses and the wide open spaces of the beautiful Gschnitztal-Valley in Tyrol. Individuals, now very important in their tiny village, get lost in it. There are the misty mornings with fog in the woods, the amazing winterscenes with real snow.|
Of course there are no Todd-AO-Effects, Clavell uses the format for the clarity of the picture, not for the sake of the format.
The music by John Barry is one of his best scores. lt seems to be inspired by the valley, yet it was written on the island of Mallorca. Barry was an Oscar-Winner for "The Lion in Winter". That proved his ability to write big symphonic scores, not only pop-scores or James Bond. The thematic material is rich, he composed "War-Themes" and "PeaceThemes" but no themes for the protagonists. He made rich use of a choir, singing contemporary lyric material in German.
Michael Caine is especially fond of TLV. It's one of his own favorite movies. He uses a slight German accent for his role as Captain Hauptmann, the cool warrior with a wounded soul.
Omar Sharif is the romantic intellectual, some kind of Zhivago lost in Germany. Per Oscarsson is a religious fanatic priest, wonderfully over the top, as most of the religious fanatics, even today. Florinda Bolkan is the independent woman in a male dominated society and pays a high price for her independence.
|Image by Dietmar Zingl|
More wonderful actors are Nigel Davenport, Arthur O‘Connell and the wild and angry Michael Gothard as Hansen. His performance resembles that of Klaus Kinski in "Aguirre, The Wrath of God" although that came two years later.
The village was built near Innsbruck in the beautiful Gschnitztal in the small villages of Trins and Gschnitz. The World Premiere was in Innsbruck with all the local extras attending the performance. Some of them found the movie “grauslich“... Bad weather was to blame for some alcoholic excesses and a delay, which forced Michael Caine to return over and over again by helicopter. (Udo Heimansberg, Karlsruhe 2008)
The film will be screened in Innsbruck on 24th and 27th September for its 40th anniversary of shooting – first time in Austria in it’s original 70mm-version.
We thank to National Media Museum, Bradford (Duncan McGregor and Tony Earnshaw), Cine Tirol (Johannes K÷ck)
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