The two-disc Special Edition Valkyrie DVD set contains nearly an hour of video bonus materials. The best is "The Valkyrie Legacy," a 42-minute History Channel documentary. Here historians and spokesmen for the German Resistance Memorial Center talk about the events dramatized in the feature film. You can see archival photos of the real-life people depicted in the movie, and you can hear from two of Stauffenberg's children, one of whom was born in a concentration camp. The documentary shows that Berlin streets have been named for at least three of the 1944 conspirators, including Stauffenbergstrasse, named for the character portrayed by Tom Cruise.
There's also the so-so "The Journey to Valkyrie," a 16-minute making-of featurette in which cast and crew talk about the movie. Perhaps the most interesting thing concerns the Bendlerblock, the building in Berlin that during World War II was Supreme Headquarters of the Army. Because certain historical events took place at the Bendlerblock, it now has special significance, and German officials are fussy about permitting filming at this site. There were difficulties and delays in obtaining permission to shoot a key Valkyrie scene in the Bendlerblock courtyard, and before filming there, cast and crew paused for a moment of silence to indicate respect for the German Resistance.
The DVD set provides two separate feature-length audio commentaries, both containing a wealth of detail, much of which is probably only of interest to the hardcore. If you decide to tackle these, the one with Tom Cruise, director Bryan Singer and producer/screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie is of greater general interest. They state they were going for a broad audience and that they didn't want to punish the audience. They wanted to make a film in the tradition of The Great Escape (1963), The Devil's Brigade (1968) and Patton (1970), and Valkyrie is in many ways old-fashioned. For purposes of authenticity, the movie required lots of research, including plowing through Gestapo records. Nearly all the shooting was done in and around Berlin, much of it at legendary Babelsberg Studios, where famous films like Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) and Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel (1930) were made. However, the North African scenes were shot in the California desert near Victorville.
In the second audio commentary, McQuarrie returns, this time paired with the other screenwriter, Nathan Alexander. McQuarrie claims the genesis of the idea for the screenplay came when he was touring Berlin in 2002 and saw a memorial plaque naming four soldiers, one of which was Stauffenberg. He learned that these were the only World War II military personnel honored by Germany, and he decided to write a screenplay to tell their story, although he never expected anyone would be willing to actually film it. His advice to aspiring screenwriters: "Write the movie that you want to see."
why couldn't they have included the scenes that were deleted from the film? In the commentaries, Mr. Cruise, Mr. McQuarrie, Mr. Alexander & Mr. Singer make references to scenes and lines which were cut from the film, a few of those scenes & lines appearing in the trailers for the movie.
Yes, I've just finished reading multiple books about WW 2, the Nazis, the Pope, etc. Compelling reading. I had waited to purchase the Valkyrie DVD because it didn't have a running director's commentary, so I hope I can get the two-disc DVD on Amazon; your note here, Johnny, seems to indicate that's the version containing what I seek.