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Author Topic: The Last Valley 2 x 800ft (5 x 400ft) ABC Films
Tom Photiou
Film God

Posts: 3681
From: Plymouth U.K
Registered: Dec 2003


 - posted August 09, 2017 03:20 PM      Profile for Tom Photiou   Email Tom Photiou   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
First of all let me say, i was so utterly peed off when i rang Paul Foster to find out someone beaten me to his full length 16mm IB Tech scope version of this film.

We bought this super 8mm 5 x 400ft ABC release, (now mounted onto 2 x 800ft full spools), from Roger Lily here in Plymouth around 35 years ago, it is one of our all time favourite films. This film was supplied on 5 x 400ft spools and is slightly edited from the full feature, believe it or not, even with this length of cut the editors still manage to balls up one cut which they did mid-score so the music cut makes it so obvious, the score is by the brilliant John Barry and really makes this film, the 8mm editor should have been sacked. Aside this, it is a very good film and is better than nothing until i find it on 16, (fat chance of a second one turning up). There is the early signs of fade here now, however, i will say these images do not do it any justice and once again on auto shoot with 4mp the colours look positively awful, the night scenes during the huge castle fire are actually black, here it looks red, i still have no idea why my little cheapy camera does this, i certainly cant be bothered to set up my Nikon for screen shots. despite some fade all the greens, blues and yellows are in there and still look very good. This movie was shot during the different seasons of the year and it shows with some stunning scenery with summer, autumn and winter colours. That IB Tech print must look superb. The focus is good but not as pin Sharpe as we would like due to the image being blown up from cinemascope to 4:3.

Here is the plot , some info and images, note a young Brian Blessed in the a few of the first images,
"The Captain" (Michael Caine) leads a band of mercenaries who fight for the highest bidder regardless of religion. His soldiers pillage the countryside, and rape and loot when not fighting. Vogel (Omar Sharif) is a former teacher trying to survive the slaughter of civilians occurring throughout south-central Germany. Vogel runs from the Captain's forces, but eventually stumbles upon an idyllic mountain vale, untouched by war and still living in the age before the war.
The Captain and his small band are not far behind. Trapped in the valley, Vogel convinces the Captain to preserve it and the village it shelters for their own benefit, as the outside world faces famine and devastation. "Live", Vogel tells the Captain, "while the army dies." The Captain decides that his men will indeed rest here for the winter. He forces the locals to submit, especially their Headman, Gruber (Nigel Davenport). The local Catholic priest (Per Oscarsson) is livid that the mercenaries include a number of Protestants (and nihilistic atheists for that matter), but there is little he can do to sway the Captain. The mercenaries are of one mind after the Captain kills a dissenting member of his band, and religious and ethnic divisions are set aside.
At first, the locals accept their fate. Vogel is appointed judge by Gruber, to settle disputes between villagers and soldiers. As long as food, shelter, and a small number of women are provided, the mercenaries leave the locals alone. Hansen (Michael Gothard) attempts to rape a girl and, exiled from the group, manages to lead a rival mercenary band to the valley, before the winter sets in and closes the valley to all outsiders. He and his band are destroyed and the valley goes into hibernation. But as winter fades, it becomes obvious that the soldiers will have to leave. The Captain learns of a major military campaign in the Upper Rhineland and decides to leave the valley in order to participate. Vogel wants to accompany him, fearing Gruber will have him killed once The Captain leaves. However, the Captain orders Vogel to stay as the condition of not sacking the village, leaving a few men as guards.
After the Captain departs, his woman from the village, Erika (Florinda Bolkan), is caught in devil-worshipping witchcraft. The priest orders her tortured and burned at the stake. Enraged and realising the evil that has destroyed so much in this war (religious fanaticism) and the role he played in it, one of the Captain's men sacrifices his life to kill the fanatic priest by pushing him into the fire. Meanwhile, the Captain and his men engage in a major siege operation. Most of his men are killed. The Captain survives long enough to return to the valley, only to find himself faced by the villagers. Vogel intervenes so that no fight happens. The Captain reports the event and dies of his battle wounds, declaring to Vogel, "You were right. I was wrong." A young woman from the village wants to leave with Vogel, but he tells her to stay, and runs off alone in the mist, satisfied at having saved the valley.
Info

Actor Martin Miller collapsed and died on the set before shooting of the first scene commenced

The film was an expensive failure. It earned rentals of $380,000 in North America and $900,000 in other countries, recording an overall loss of $7,185,000.[1] With its setting in the Thirty Years' War, it covered a period never previously depicted on film (apart from 1933's Queen Christina). In this light, George MacDonald Fraser wrote in 1988, "The plot left me bewildered - in fact the whole bloody business is probably an excellent microcosm of the Thirty Years' War, with no clear picture of what is happening and half the cast ending up dead to no purpose. To that extent, it must be rated a successful film. ... As a drama, The Last Valley is not remarkable; as a reminder of what happened in Central Europe, 1618-48, and shaped the future of Germany, it reads an interesting lesson." Fraser says of the stars, "Michael Caine ... gives one of his best performances as the hard-bitten mercenary captain, nicely complemented by Omar Sharif as the personification of reason.

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 9007
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted August 10, 2017 11:44 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This was one that I had years ago, and I so wished that I could have found it with pristine color, as this is a very good, underrated (in my opinion) film with very good acting by both Omar Sharif (who didn't have too many good roles after the 60's) and of course the ever reliable Micheal Caine, and with very good photography.

Thanks for the review Tom, good job!

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Tom Photiou
Film God

Posts: 3681
From: Plymouth U.K
Registered: Dec 2003


 - posted August 10, 2017 12:24 PM      Profile for Tom Photiou   Email Tom Photiou   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Cheers Osi, it is a very underrated film, the critics were cruel when it came out but i always think most film critics are total losers. They only give there own opinion, people need to see films themselves and make there own opinion instead of following like sheep. Michael Caine in an interview did actually say that this was one of his favourite films. I think i'd rather take his word than that of a critic. [Wink]

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 9007
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted August 10, 2017 12:26 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What woudl have REALLY sold this even further is if ABC had released this as a scope release! I do remember that the titles were in scope, just not the rest of it. I have always hoped to find an optical super 8 feature of this, but no such luck to this day. [Frown]

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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