We knew Fox News gossip and mortal Tom Cruise enemy Roger Friedman was upset last week when MGM denied him an advance look at Valkyrie. Today, he exacted his mouthbreathing, error-packed and all-around vicious revenge.
Friedman has had it out for Valkyrie for months, culminating in his omission from press-screening invitations issued around the beginning of December. Studio reps said at the time that Friedman had already made up his mind and MGM/UA didn't owe him anything ("Screenings are a privilege, not a right," marketing boss Mike Vollman told Patrick Goldstein); ever the professional, Friedman included Valkyrie among his Worst Films of 2008 despite not having seen it, forced to expense the ticket to Fox and join the unwashed masses on opening day.
Surprise! He hates it. Not that you should care, except for the part where he lies, perhaps libelously so. For your convenient reference, we've responded to some of Friedman's more outrageous claims with a bit of context and/or reality checks:
"I’m more concerned that Valkyrie could represent a new trend in filmmaking: Nazi apologia."
Yes, Valkyrie is a pretty gutsy move toward defending the honor of Nazis — particularly the central plot to deceive and kill Adolf Hitler and eradicate his leadership from Germany's governance. Way to call it, Rog.
"Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg — referred to in this film constantly as “Stauffenberg”— as if to make him sound less German or something."
Exactly. Reference to Cruise's character as "Stauffenberg" decidedly downplays his German heritage. Everyone involved should be ashamed for forcing this linguistic quirk down audience's throats.
On top of that, there is the matter of the uniforms and the set design. Suddenly, we have German officers in World War II who are not wearing arm bands. Their swastikas are now small tokens on chests of medals. They look more like airline pilots than Nazi soldiers. When they meet, it looks like they’re at a lovely retreat in the Adirondacks.
Indeed, the lack of Nazi insignia affirms the historical accuracy that Colonel von Stauffenberg was not a member of the Nazi party. Not all German soldiers were Nazis, nor all Nazis soldiers. As far as their meeting locations, Hitler did have a redoubt or 12 in the woods, of which vast portions of Germany are composed. Clearly from Hitler's depiction in Valkyrie, the setting did not assuage his paranoia, treachery, incompetence or sense of imminent doom.
Director Bryan Singer is so sparing with his Nazi flags, swastikas, etc that you’d think the Nazis hardly existed. What’s everyone so upset about anyway?
Unfamiliar with the act of purchasing a movie ticket, Friedman apparently arrived late to his Valkyrie screening, missing the title sequence's slow unveiling over the billowing red, white and black fabric of a Nazi flag. He may also have left early, skipping the [SPOILER ALERT] Nazi siege of Stauffenberg's coup HQ and their subsequent assassination of the resistance.
Because in Valkyrie Singer opens the door to a dangerous new thought: that the Holocaust and all the other atrocities could be of secondary important [sic] to the cause of German patriotism. Not once in Valkyrie do any of there [sic] “heroes” mention what’s happening around them, that any of them is appalled by or against what they know is happening or has happened: Hitler has systemically killed millions in the most barbaric ways possible to imagine.
We're certainly not here to downplay the Holocaust, but as it pertains to Valkyrie's plot — which is explicitly about terminating history's worst monster — Hitler and all that he stands for are the collective Scourge of German Honor. Would Friedman have preferred no conspiracy to kill Hitler, and thus a couple dozen fewer German politicians and officers wishing to end World War II and, thus, the Holocaust? And yes, not coincidentally, defend Germany from further disgrace. We know you're a fan of revisionist history, Rog, but seriously: From here, please leave the movies to the experts.