Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

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LI995
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Re: Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

Post by LI995 » 18 Mar 2009 22:19

For all the Carmine Red enthusiasts: Has anyone seen Jo Baier's film "Stauffenberg"? You can geet it a Amazon.de. Ursula Welter did the costuming in the film, which I find to very exacting. In particular, the filming in Africa shows Stauffenberg meeting a young Oberleutnant from hear his hometown--who dies in a fighter-strafing raid during the German retreat. Both he and Stauffenberg were wearing shirts with shoulderboards--which is probably more correct (all of those films with actors wearing tunics in the desert--really?)....If you don't care to watch the whole film (you will need a code-free DVD player) you'll see on the cover his working uniform, which has the General Staff litzen on bottle green backing--in shiny silver, so that the parallel bars are all you see. His Colonel shoulderboards are backed in Carmine Red--as with the uniform shown previously on this thread. That DVD was released in 2004. There are other interesting similarities in the film--the United Artists folks must also have seen Jo Baier's book and script.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said of this film: Dies ist der genaueste Film über das Attentat des Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, der bislang gedreht wurde (This is the most exacting film about the assasination attempt by Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg than has been made up to this time).

I would welcome comments especially from anyone who has examined both films closely and who knows of the costuming work done on each film.

It is certainly not difficult to reproduce an umlaut. The use of "ue" and alternative forms is proably helpful to non-Germans, although I would expect most subscribers to this forum to dislike it as do I and most Germans I know. The same is true for ß (ss). I do believe historical accuracy is important in films such as this. American "directories" of German uniforms produced for the military during the War often miss these subtleties which even an average German would have noticed immediately.

LI995

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Beppo Schmidt
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Re: Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

Post by Beppo Schmidt » 19 Mar 2009 15:08

The entire Jo Baier Stauffenberg film is also on youtube, with English subtitles.

Michael Dorosh
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Re: Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

Post by Michael Dorosh » 20 Mar 2009 17:36

It is certainly not difficult to reproduce an umlaut. The use of "ue" and alternative forms is proably helpful to non-Germans, although I would expect most subscribers to this forum to dislike it as do I and most Germans I know. The same is true for ß (ss). I do believe historical accuracy is important in films such as this. American "directories" of German uniforms produced for the military during the War often miss these subtleties which even an average German would have noticed immediately.
I'm almost positive I wasn't debating whether or not it is difficult or easy to reproduce an umlaut. Nor was I discussing how intelligent American movie goers are.

The question I raised was whether or not German teletype machines produced script with or without umlauts. Until such time as someone can provide some sort of informed answer, hollering that it is an "error" is simply uninformed ranting at worst, and minor nitpicking at best, is it not?

If that is the worst error one can find with the film, then one could reasonably conclude they have done an admirable job.

For a movie about a German aristrocrat who declared the Poles to be fit to be a race of slaves, who set into motion the largest act of treason in German history (or was it?), which may (or may not have) ended the most criminal undertaking in German history, one finds it odd that the conversation about the film is so stultifying as to focus on whether or not people "really" wore canvas jackets in the desert. :)

LI995
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Re: Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

Post by LI995 » 21 Mar 2009 04:06

From the discussion about the United Artists film, I think we can agree that the "umlaut" on the teletype or the typewriter is not the only error, and I disagree in principle that what the DAK typically wore in the desert (or in retreat) is ex cathedra irrelevant. Is the SA wearing brown shirts meaningless? In the film Der Untergang, the opening scene in the Führer's headquarters in East Prussia shows Traudl Humps typing on a German-layout typewriter that was probably not made in Germany. Someone made the decision to release this film in the U.S. in German, with English subtitles. This decision reflects the wish of the producer and director to maintain the subtle vocal inflections produced by the original actors and actresses in German--although most of the outdoor scenes were filmed in St. Petersburg, which resembled prewar German architecturally. All of these kinds of decisions or oversights may or may not have significance for a particular audience. Subscribers to this Forum are not typical, and therefore, will notice and disagree about subtleties that do not concern the general public. Isn't that the point?

The Gestapo made extensive use of the Hollerith card sorter (a precursor to the IBM card sorter) to gather demographic data about German citizens--yet has this ever been shown in a major motion picture? This made rounding up citizens of one type or another throughout Germany fairly simple. One of these machines stands at the opening of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and IBM profited after the war from the Dehomag A.G. subsidiary that rented these machines to the Gestapo and S.S. (and serviced them for a fee).

Recall the American TV drama "North and South"? In that film, all Yankee soldiers wear a post-1865 tunic (more typical of the 9th and 10th Cavalry in the Southwest) that has pointed collars. In subsequent, more historically accurate films like "Gettysburg", "Gods & Generals". and "Glory" we see more historically correct uniforms. Cooper Huckabee, who starred in "North & South" gets a nod with a civilian spying role for Longstreet in the film "Gettysburg" during which he has the opportunity to wear an historically accurate get-up. Is this all irrelevant? Would the use of cartridge firearms (rapid repeaters) such as the Henry rifle by all soldiers in these films reflect the vicissitudes of the conflict, in which the best soldiers could only get off 3 aimed shots per minute with a well--functioning musket? No, I think these are all important details, just as with Crockett's missed shot at Santa Anna in "The Alamo", or a film about World War II in which Soviet soldiers are using AK-47s (invented after the war).

If these matters were insignificant, we would not have awards given for costuming, set-dressing, and the like, or all actors and actresses would walk around in burlap reciting Shakespeare. All of these subtleties are of the type that make a website like this "run". I recall in Graduate School watching old SciFi films with one of my future colleagues, in which I developed a reputation for finding flaws at two o'clock in the morning. Sometimes it is just "Zeitgenossen" (passing time)--and at other times, whether a 20-second fuze works in 20 seconds is important (the fuzes that Lee had at Gettysburg were off because they were manufactured at a new plant, not the one in Richmond to which the Army of Northern Virginia was accustomed). A new type of fuze was one of three or four technological developments that the Allies (US and UK) had that the Axis powers did not have--and has never to this point been portrayed in a single historical film (I'm not referring to documentaries). We'll have to forgive filmmakers prior to about 1980, because this was not declassified in detail until 1976, but it was described in enough detail to be incorporated in SOME film as early as 1945 (it was described in LIFE magazine as well as many books after the war).

l suppose someone will lambaste me for supporting detail snooping, but this will undoubtedly have its effect on future films about the German resistance.

"Stauffenberg" is not only available on YouTube, but also in full DVD format from Amazon, shortly as "Operation Valkyrie".
If we were really true to history, Walküre would never be spelled Valkyrie, and Cyrillic would never be Anglicized.

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Re: Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

Post by stvictoria » 21 Mar 2009 18:33

Cigarboy wrote:Von Stauffenberg was awarded the German Cross in Gold. Why did they omit this? Because the medal's appearance was "too Nazi"?
Yeah!! I also got confused on this point....
I don't think the reason is that the appearance is "too Nazi", because I've noticed that Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim in the movie has the German Cross hanging on his chest......

So, what for...?= =

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Re: Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

Post by valkyrie » 21 Mar 2009 19:09

Peter Hoffmann acted as primary historical advisor. In his Stauffenberg bio, Hoffmann omits this award in his appendix that lists all of Stauffenberg's promotions and awards. That could have something to do with the omission as I believe they also used this book as a major background source.

Colin

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Re: Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

Post by LI995 » 22 Mar 2009 01:20

Colin (Valkyrie), yes, those are the correct General Staff Kragenspiegel, although I believe you posted them upside down. The braiding in the of each bar, which is the same polished aluminum in new collar tabs, would be mounted so that it would point upwards, and the sides of each bar would "flower" up, out, and down. I believe this type of braiding was actually called Russian braiding, but the principle of mounting (like arrows pointing upward) is the same as for Officer's collar tabs with the type of unit color for career track--Laufbahn--(white for Heer, cornflower blue for Medical) is the same. In the German 2004 film, Stauffenberg wears bottle green backed tabs for everyday wear, so that, for example, in the cover photo for the German version, the bars appear almost to be gleaming white or platinum, with the green showing between the bars. On dress occasions, the Waffenrock (four pocket gabardine Feldbluse) would have the Carmine Red backing that would always back the Colonel shoulder boards.

As the end of the war was indeed nearing, and availability of materials was particularly strained after the Normandy invasion, there would have been variations in tunics and breeches worn both by enlisted men, conscripts, and officers. As one of my German friends (a militaria collector and seller) commented when I uncovered some mint condition Kriegsmarine tropical khaki tunics (4-pocket), "the war was not fought for later collectors." Thus, in "accurate" films portraying Confederate officers and enlisted men toward the end of the war, all manner of homespun, variations of coloring and materials, as well as Federal battlefield pick-ups in clothing and weapons became almost the norm rather than the exception. In the film Das Boot, there is a mixture of actual WWII uniforms and set-dressing with reproductions; at that time in Munich much more original materials were available. There was probably more uniformity (no pun intended) in Allied uniforms than German uniforms by mid-1944. Also, the higher the rank, the more likely individuals were permitted (unofficially) to create some unique variations in their own everyday dress. Göring is perhaps the most easily recognized example of the custom uniform attitude of say, a Brevet General Custer.

By the time the Proximity Fuze was used in anti-personnel applications (Hürtgen Forest and Ardennesoffensiv or Battle of the Bulge) the Stahlhelm was of little use in the open. Patton wrote a very complimentary letter back to the creators of the Proximity Fuze after his units killed 702 Germans attempting to cross the Sauer River at night; all were killed by shrapnel raining down from shells that exploded about 75 feet above them, detonated when the Fuze received a signal back from the ground or water. These shells could be fired from many different distances yet explode at the same distance above the ground, pointing the shrapnel explosing back in the same direction from the received radio signal. This is not shown in dramatic films although it was crucial in pushing the Germans back. Reports from German and Waffen-SS P.O.W.s of the time demonstrate this (if anyone is interested in references I can provide them).

So, such films will have their flaws, as demonstrated by this particular thread on the Forum--noticed by some--but that isn't the point of either film. The point was to expose a rather large contingent of soldiers (in the case of Stauffenberg's associates) and civilians (for example, the White Rose or Weiße Rose group of students, and young soldiers returning from the Russian front) at the University of Munich who saw in the person of the Führer and in National Socialism the defeat of Germany and loss of its hard-won idealism, intellectualism, and military traditions of the 18th and 19th centuries. In the years prior to the war, there were extensive propaganda efforts to bring some 40 million Ausländer (Germans living outside of the Reich) to see themselves as Germans first, and to not strongly affiliate themselves with whatever nation happened to issue their passports.
Last edited by LI995 on 25 Mar 2009 02:09, edited 1 time in total.

Michael Dorosh
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Re: Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

Post by Michael Dorosh » 22 Mar 2009 14:09

LI995 wrote:From the discussion about the United Artists film, I think we can agree that the "umlaut" on the teletype or the typewriter is not the only error, and I disagree in principle that what the DAK typically wore in the desert (or in retreat) is ex cathedra irrelevant.
I think your introduction of latin to buttress your failed logic can only fail you further.
Subscribers to this Forum are not typical, and therefore, will notice and disagree about subtleties that do not concern the general public. Isn't that the point?
I think cheap attempts to flatter other forum members in an attempt to sway opinion to your side will also fail you. :wink:
The Gestapo made extensive use of the Hollerith card sorter (a precursor to the IBM card sorter) to gather demographic data about German citizens--yet has this ever been shown in a major motion picture? This made rounding up citizens of one type or another throughout Germany fairly simple. One of these machines stands at the opening of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and IBM profited after the war from the Dehomag A.G. subsidiary that rented these machines to the Gestapo and S.S. (and serviced them for a fee).
As will your introduction of trivia into the discussion.
Recall the American TV drama "North and South"? In that film, all Yankee soldiers wear a post-1865 tunic (more typical of the 9th and 10th Cavalry in the Southwest) that has pointed collars. In subsequent, more historically accurate films like "Gettysburg", "Gods & Generals". and "Glory" we see more historically correct uniforms. Cooper Huckabee, who starred in "North & South" gets a nod with a civilian spying role for Longstreet in the film "Gettysburg" during which he has the opportunity to wear an historically accurate get-up. Is this all irrelevant? Would the use of cartridge firearms (rapid repeaters) such as the Henry rifle by all soldiers in these films reflect the vicissitudes of the conflict, in which the best soldiers could only get off 3 aimed shots per minute with a well--functioning musket? No, I think these are all important details, just as with Crockett's missed shot at Santa Anna in "The Alamo", or a film about World War II in which Soviet soldiers are using AK-47s (invented after the war).

If these matters were insignificant, we would not have awards given for costuming, set-dressing, and the like,
You've missed the point entirely of what those set-dressers and costumers do. They are not historians. They create a look and feel for the film. They are not awarded prizes for their accuracy, but for their technical merits. If you don't know the difference, I urge you to run the special features on some DVDs sometime, or perhaps attend an art school. I can guarantee you that the Academy members who vote for the costumers are not judging them on whether or not the awards on the jackets are "correct" but are certainly taking into account things like colour, mood and tone as well as overall accuracy as opposed to rivet-counting.

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Virgil Hiltz
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Re: Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

Post by Virgil Hiltz » 22 Mar 2009 15:01

One point that is overlooked is the cost for such high standards of accuracy. Producers are on a schedule and budget to get a picture done. Sometimes the costs and the ability to get historically accuracy on the same pageare just not possible.

Someone earlier spoke of CVS flying in a HE111 instead of JU 52. The costs and the availibility are most likely the reasons that there was a switch. How many HE111s/ Spanish CASA2.111s, are still flying and available for the specific time frame needed for filming? They may have been able to get one , but the demands of the actors may have conflicted. The costs of insurance and ability to transport one to the location is another factor.

All the actors are not on call 24/7 during a filming. The block out time and have contractual obligations that supercede the accuracy need. Thus the ability to syncronize them with the machinery or other props is a constant.

The costs for a specific uniform or detail in comparison with the time it will be on screen is a problem also. Substituion and compromise are always present in the interests of keeping costs down. The difficultiues of obtaining completely accurate uniforms is always measured in how long they will be ON SCREEN! In other words, what can we get away with, that the public will not notice.

CGI has become a wonderful replacement for so many no longer existing weapons and enlargement of crowds. There is a scene in the mini series Band of Brother s that shows the Autobahn with both sides of the highway crammed with tanks, trucks and marching soldiers trucks. The whole scene was a duplication of a half a dozen historical vehicles and a copany sized group of marchers, reproduced through GCI work. Hard to tell the difference.

The ability to be 100 percent accurate is always going to be compromised by cost, availibilty, production, insurance, distance and the general difficulty in coordination of the details.

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Re: Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

Post by valkyrie » 22 Mar 2009 15:29

L1985 - thanks for the useful clarifications.

Regards

Colin

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Re: Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

Post by LI995 » 25 Mar 2009 02:32

As no one replied to the comments from Cigarboy and stvictoria about the German Cross in Gold--I have wondered about this also. Stauffenberg likely did not identify strongly with what the wearing of that award would represent. He also did not wear ribbons for service on the Eastern Front or in North Africa to which he was entitled, whereas many other high officers wore every one they could associate themselves with.

I recall also that General Beck wanted to appear in public in civilian dress after the assasination to distance himself from the ideals of the current regime. I believe that Graf von Stauffenberg would have worn what was necessary for his daily work and to get into and out of the HQ on the dry run and the day of the Attentat attempt. Also, later in the war, this award was sometimes issued as a patch (which I have seen for sale by reputable dealers and in collector's books such as R. James Bender's extensive publications) because of the lack of availability of materials. Does anyone know whether the medal was amongst the items in his belongings after Stauffenberg was killed for high treason?

Sometimes accuracy is not expensive--the producers and directors simply have to find the right "experts." When biographers are well-known, as in the case of Joachim Fest or Douglas Southall Freeman, this is less difficult. Of course the experience, skill and training of actors is more important to creating the mood and climate of the final cuts than probably any other factor--which is why Tom Cruise may have surprised so many people with his portrayal of Stauffenberg. I think this kind of knowledge has been one of the keys to Wolfgang Peterson's success, especially in making transitions from German television to German film to Hollywood--or, in the case of writers, take John Milius as an example. Or you can take an easy to find example, such as Sebastian Koch's ability to portray Stauffenberg, and then turn around and do an excellent portrayal of Albert Speer in "Speer und Er." It is not all about teletypes, collar points, or the number of flags on a plaza. However, the latter details are nonetheless of interest.

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Re: Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

Post by LI995 » 05 Apr 2009 05:00

TELEX/TELETYPE and COLLAR TABS: This post deals with two subjects in this thread: 1) color of the collar tabs for General Staff Officers; 2) setup of Teletype/Telex printouts. First, the backing on the GSO collar tabs would be bottle or dark green on a dark green collar for the Feldbluse or everyday four-pocket tunic, and Carmine Red for the dress or parade tunic. The bars could either be in a matte silver/aluminum wire or glossy (glänzend).

Second, I've done some research on Teletype and Telex. I've corresponded with two experts on the subject, one of whom actually worked for the Siemens Company, which made German Telex tape and print output machines, as well as the director of a museum in Germany devoted to Telex and Teletype machines -- Henning Treumann, who runs www.teleprinter.net (which can be viewed in German or English). To quote Mr. Treumann: No German teleprinter (teletypriter) ever used "Umlaute" or ß (sz) characters. Before 1931 (before standardization of an international 5-bit alphabet) the "alphabet 29" was common for the few machines that were arounds at all, but after 1931, only "ITA-2_ international telegraph alphabet no. 2 was in use until these days (present).

Mr. Miller, who worked for Siemens, gave me a clear but rather complicated (for a response here) explanation of the 5-bit alphabet, which also explains how it could be used for Cyrillic (Russian) characters. The basic alphabet would use 32 characters, which would include the 26 letter alphabet as well as special characters, but would not leave room for umlautted vowels (3) and the ß. I think this would pretty-much nail the use of "Walkuere" as the correct paper tape output in the United Artists film. The print output in the film "Der Untergang" also shows the use of ITA-2, for example, in the spelling of Hermann Goering's name without the umlautted "o" as it is sometimes seen.

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valkyrie
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Re: Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

Post by valkyrie » 05 Apr 2009 16:27

L1995 - not much to argue with there. Thanks for taking the trouble to sort this all out but I for one am very thankful for your research and documentation. Especially for the uniform clarifications as I sculpt and paint scale model portraits of historical characters, including the resisters, and like to get things just right.

Cheers

Colin

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Re: Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

Post by LI995 » 05 Apr 2009 19:23

Thanks for your interest and response, Colin. I was once a model maker and furniture builder, and the end product does lie in the details--I think most movie directors and film makers would agree, whether it is a contemporary film genre (as in the British reality films of working-class Britain exemplified in flims like Richard Harris in "The Sportinig Life" (1963), or Walter Harris' many films of the 1980s and 1990s such as "Wild Bill" (about Wild Bill Hickok).

I'm an academic and I too find small details of historical interest to be considerably interesting, and even enjoy the chase after the "facts"---which in the case of the Teletype took some time to uncover. The average movie-goer (if there is such a thing) may not be especially concerned with them. However, they would have been of concern to people living at the time in many cases, and therefore help our understanding of history--which as George Santyana said, must be understood if were don't wish to repeat it. We all know that in many cases history does repeat itself, anyway.

If you have a code-free or international DVD player, the early German films about Stauffenberg from the 1950s are also very interesting, although they are in black and white and therefore make resolving issues about uniform colors, etc. more difficult. However, they were the first attempts to document and bring to public awareness the existence of resistance movements during the Third Reich. I happened to attend an exhibit at the Deutsches Historisches Musem in 2004 that focused on each European nation's post-war interpretation of the NS-Zeit (National Socialist Time in German). There were companion volumes for the exhibit that are also extremely interesting. The exhibit included clips from films from various nations (such as "Ich war Neunzehn"--I was 19, about a young Russian left in charge of a town after the Soviet Army passed through). Many of these films have a gritty reality you cannot find today, such as ones filmed with the rubble of Berlin as the "set". Best wishes to all on the forum--

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Re: Valkyrie movie flubs/mistakes.

Post by valkyrie » 05 Apr 2009 22:01

L1995:

Thanks for the ideas re. the 1950s films. I have the Pabst version dubbed in English and for the time its pretty good. I couldn't bear to watch Harnack's film as they got Stauffenberg's eyepatch on the wrong side for God's sake!

Colin

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