The Last Valley (28-Jan-1971)|
Director: James Clavell
Writer: James Clavell
From novel by: J. B. Pick
Review by Dave (posted on 21-Mar-2005)
Interesting concept with beautiful cinematography and ultimately poor directing. Set during the 30 Years War in Germany, a wandering professor (Omar Sharif) attempting to escape marauding armies, the plague and starvation stumbles into an idyllic valley untouched by the war. When a mercenary troop lead by Michael Caine invades he manages to convince them to spare the valley in exchange for wintering among the peasants with food warmth and women.
Essentially a study of conflicts between the soldiers and the peasants. Between the pragmatists and the religious zealots. Between Catholics and Protestants, and finally between the mercenary captain and the burgermeister. Through it all the professor attempts to keep the peace.
Beautiful locations, and exquisite costuming for students of military history. Each of the mercenaries is of a different nationality and the mixture of Spanish, Polish, German, Italian weaponry is fascinating.
Unfortunately the acting is stilted, epecially the opening scenes -- although it does improve through the body of the show. The dialogue has a tendency to belabor the points and the scenic flow is inconsistent.
When I first watched this as a youth in 1971 I was astonished by the casual violence, which appears fairly mild in retrospect.
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