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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a stunning visual movie
I saw this film at the cinema when it first came out, many years ago. The first thing that struck me was that Michael Caine could actually act - let's face it in "Alfie" he played Michael Caine and good though he is, in this he really shows his acting ability. The second thing that struck me was the simply wonderful music score, written if my memory serves me correctly,...
Published on 31 Mar 2005 by poorlittleknors

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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good film - but not widescreen
I've always enjoyed this film since it first came out - it is as much a philosophical discussion as it is a war film, which gives it a bit more depth. As others have said, it looks good as well. And with that in mind I have been searching for a decent version of it on DVD. But this version is NOT a widescreen presentation - the credit sequence is, but the movie itself is...
Published on 23 Jan 2010 by Thommo


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good film - but not widescreen, 23 Jan 2010
By 
This review is from: The Last Valley [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
I've always enjoyed this film since it first came out - it is as much a philosophical discussion as it is a war film, which gives it a bit more depth. As others have said, it looks good as well. And with that in mind I have been searching for a decent version of it on DVD. But this version is NOT a widescreen presentation - the credit sequence is, but the movie itself is 4x3, mainly because it is a TV version. Still worth watching, but also still worth seeking out a true version.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a stunning visual movie, 31 Mar 2005
This review is from: The Last Valley [DVD] [1970] (DVD)
I saw this film at the cinema when it first came out, many years ago. The first thing that struck me was that Michael Caine could actually act - let's face it in "Alfie" he played Michael Caine and good though he is, in this he really shows his acting ability. The second thing that struck me was the simply wonderful music score, written if my memory serves me correctly, by John Barry who at that time was know for the James Bond theme and not much more. We all know differently now. Both Caine and Barry are now household names in their particular fields.
The film is set during the Thirty Years War when religous strife ruled everyone's lives, people believed in witches and innocents, both men and women, were burnt at the stake. Life was cruel, hard and short; if you were a soldier it most likely ended in a violent and bloody death, somehow the pure beauty of the cinematograply and music of this film makes the subject matter all the more poignant. A stunning, hidden valley is discovered, totally untouched by the war and bigotry that the rest of the countryside is suffering from - until the soldiers find it.
Watch this film - rent it if you don't want to buy it - but watch this film. It is absolutely superb.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film, 10 Dec 2010
By 
This review is from: The Last Valley [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
I first saw this film many years ago and was delighted to be able to get my hands on a DVD to watch it again. The Thirty Years War was a pointless and bloody affair, which ruined the livelihoods of those who were not killed or tortured. Greedy warlords and princes fought each other and changed sides when convenient, the only army in it for higher ambitions being that of King Gustav Adolf of Sweden. To say that ordinary people suffered terribly would be an understatement and the film portrays this well, with the contrast of the one valley in the German speaking world to have escaped the carnage well described. The acting is first class, in my opinion, one of Michael Caine's best roles. Scenery beautiful and the futility of the war extremely well brought to life.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most incredible film i've seen in a long time, 8 Dec 2001
This review is from: The Last Valley [DVD] [1970] (DVD)
I saw this film and had to buy it, from the sweeping panoramic shots of the valley to plague filled villages, this has it all. The story is strong throughout and the conflicts between the soldiers and the priest are very representative of the time in which it's set. Michael Caine and Omar Sherif are both superb and the quality of transfer from the original film to DVD is very clear with the exception of 1 scene. I would recommend this film to everyone and anyone, and particularily to lovers of History or Michael Caine, it's a corker!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Attention - No subtitles at all in that edition, 25 Nov 2008
This review is from: The Last Valley [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
Considering the variety of European languages, and also the increasing number of people who cherish subtitles even in their own languages, it must be noted that there are no subtitles at all in this edition.

The film itself is quite interesting, though it was badly (and undeservedly) welcomed by the public and the critics at its launch.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten epic well worth remembering, 8 Nov 2007
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Filmed under the incredibly unwieldy and oh-so-Sixties title Somewhere in the Mountains There is a Last Valley and hindered by financing problems, The Last Valley marked the end of screenwriter James Clavell's directorial career and the beginning of the end of the thinking man's epic genre. Which is a great pity, because this almost completely forgotten Shangri-La tale set during the Thirty Years War, the last of the great European religious wars, deserves to be much better known despite the potentially disastrous miscasting of the two leads. Omar Sharif is no more anyone's ideal casting as a 17th Century German schoolteacher trying to talk his way out of a premature death than Michael Caine is anyone's idea of a German mercenary captain, yet despite a few moments unease at Caine's aksent (a dry run for the one he used in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), within moments you realise that against all odds both actors are delivering surprisingly sincere and well-judged performances.

From the main title animation that sees a cross split into two sword-wielding rival soldiers, it's not always a pretty picture, making few bones about the dirt, ugliness and squalor of the times, with Sharif's schoolteacher wandering from village massacre to plague pits before literally stumbling upon an unspoilt and unlooted valley. Unfortunately he stumbles across it at the same time as Caine's [...]-ugly ragtag band of mercenaries, cutthroats, murderers, rapists, Papists, Protestants and atheists pillaging the countryside for supplies. Convincing them to spend the Winter there in comfort rather than see the valley's food gone in days if they share it among their army, he finds himself cast as an uneasy go-between trying to improvise and keep the fragile peace between the mercenaries and the villagers. But for all its beauty, the valley is no idyllic haven but just as riven with suspicion, prejudice and duplicity as the outside world as the two sides engage in a constant subtle power struggle: ultimately it is not the valley that is destroyed by the soldiers but the soldiers who are destroyed by the valley as they are reminded of the people they almost were. Even Sharif's intermediary has more to fear from the villagers than the soldiers.

A huge box-office flop in 1970 (in the States it quickly ended up as a second feature), it's far from a conventional epic. There are only a couple of action scenes, and only one of them qualifies as spectacular, while its characters are not major figures but human driftwood caught up in the wake of greater events and gradually rejecting the accepted religious and moral beliefs of their time. Instead of a triumphant tone, it's a melancholy picture about people trying to survive in the worst of all possible worlds, where moments of beauty are merely reminders of how much has been lost in the past rather than what could be in the future. John Barry's superb score, possibly his best ever, reflects this beautifully, alternating the savagery he displayed in his earlier The Lion in Winter with an incredibly beautiful theme for the valley. It's not a film for all tastes, but there's a melancholy magic there willing to look for it.

It's a shame that none of the extras-free DVD versions available do justice to the 65mm photography (though the sadly extras-free Region 1 MGM and Anchor Bay releases are at least widescreen, unlike the clumsily cropped UK PAL release), but it's still a film that deserves to be sought out in its original widescreen ratio.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great movie - garbled by format trimming..., 4 Jan 2013
By 
U. Breimaier - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Last Valley [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
I don't want to be mistaken: The movie itself is surely worth 5 stars (IMDB.com rating: 7.2 out of 10) and a great epic about the horrors of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) in middle Europe. Sadly, this DVD edition does NOT show the original 2.35:1 ratio but a 4:3 television adaptation where, additionally, the colours appear a little pale. I have bought this one because I had not watched the movie in years - it has not been shown on German television for a looong time... Now, I would strongly suggest the more expensive "widescreen" edition!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten epic well worth remembering on a forgettably bad cropped UK DVD, 11 Mar 2012
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Last Valley [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
Filmed under the incredibly unwieldy and oh-so-Sixties title Somewhere in the Mountains There is a Last Valley and hindered by financing problems, The Last Valley marked the end of screenwriter James Clavell's directorial career and the beginning of the end of the thinking man's epic genre. Which is a great pity, because this almost completely forgotten Shangri-La tale set during the Thirty Years War, the last of the great European religious wars, deserves to be much better known despite the potentially disastrous miscasting of the two leads. Omar Sharif is no more anyone's ideal casting as a 17th Century German schoolteacher trying to talk his way out of a premature death than Michael Caine is anyone's idea of a German mercenary captain, yet despite a few moments unease at Caine's aksent (a dry run for the one he used in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), within moments you realise that against all odds both actors are delivering surprisingly sincere and well-judged performances.

From the main title animation that sees a cross split into two sword-wielding rival soldiers, it's not always a pretty picture, making few bones about the dirt, ugliness and squalor of the times, with Sharif's schoolteacher wandering from village massacre to plague pits before literally stumbling upon an unspoilt and unlooted valley. Unfortunately he stumbles across it at the same time as Caine's [...]-ugly ragtag band of mercenaries, cutthroats, murderers, rapists, Papists, Protestants and atheists pillaging the countryside for supplies. Convincing them to spend the Winter there in comfort rather than see the valley's food gone in days if they share it among their army, he finds himself cast as an uneasy go-between trying to improvise and keep the fragile peace between the mercenaries and the villagers. But for all its beauty, the valley is no idyllic haven but just as riven with suspicion, prejudice and duplicity as the outside world as the two sides engage in a constant subtle power struggle: ultimately it is not the valley that is destroyed by the soldiers but the soldiers who are destroyed by the valley as they are reminded of the people they almost were. Even Sharif's intermediary has more to fear from the villagers than the soldiers.

A huge box-office flop in 1970 (in the States it quickly ended up as a second feature), it's far from a conventional epic. There are only a couple of action scenes, and only one of them qualifies as spectacular, while its characters are not major figures but human driftwood caught up in the wake of greater events and gradually rejecting the accepted religious and moral beliefs of their time. Instead of a triumphant tone, it's a melancholy picture about people trying to survive in the worst of all possible worlds, where moments of beauty are merely reminders of how much has been lost in the past rather than what could be in the future. John Barry's superb score, possibly his best ever, reflects this beautifully, alternating the savagery he displayed in his earlier The Lion in Winter with an incredibly beautiful theme for the valley. It's not a film for all tastes, but there's a melancholy magic there willing to look for it.

It's a shame that none of the extras-free DVD versions available do justice to the 65mm photography (though the sadly extras-free Region 1 MGM and Anchor Bay releases are at least widescreen, unlike the clumsily cropped UK PAL release), but it's still a film that deserves to be sought out in its original widescreen ratio.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and timeless, 9 April 2008
By 
This review is from: The Last Valley [DVD] [1970] (DVD)
I first watched this film when i was quite young (maybe 15?) and it made quite an impression on me. Watching it again some 20 years later, I enjoyed it even more.

It is a thoughtful (and perhaps even meditative) study on war, religion and humanity. It is well acted (yes...even Michael Caine who is superb as the Captain) with well developed characters and although the film may be quite slow by today's standards, it is compelling viewing.

....and it stays with you for some time afterwards.

Well worth watching.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth seeing, 24 Feb 2008
This review is from: The Last Valley [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
I chanced upon this film some 20 years ago on TV. It gripped me immediately. A top line cast, some fine acting, a good storyline, wonderful photography and an excellent musical score, by John Barry. All set against a backdrop of the 30 years war. More recently, I came across the DVD on Amazon. I bought it, watched it and enjoyed it as much as I did the first time. Well worth seeing.
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The Last Valley [DVD] [1970]
The Last Valley [DVD] [1970] by James Clavell (DVD - 2001)
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