Reaction to Hitler Plot Film: Stauffenberg's Daughter Praises 'Valkyrie'

The daughter of Count Stauffenberg, the German hero played by Tom Cruise in the film "Valkyrie," has praised the movie and Germany's culture deputy has called it a success. It's a far cry from the country's initial skepticism about the film.

The youngest daughter of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, the German army colonel who almost killed Adolf Hitler with a briefcase bomb in 1944, has praised the movie "Valkyrie" in which Tom Cruise portrays her father.

Konstanze von Schulthess-Rechberg, 63, who saw the film ahead of its European premiere in Berlin on Tuesday, said it was "subtle" and "respectful" towards the people involved in the plot to blow up Hitler.

"I went into this film ready to criticize it but I have to say I was very positively surprised by it," she told German ZDF television in an interview broadcast on Tuesday evening. "This is not a loud film and I thought it was very subtly played in many parts. They went to quite a lot of trouble and I liked how they treated all the characters respectfully," said von Schulthess-Rechberg, whose son Philipp has a small part in the film.

Cruise, who told Bild newspaper that he too would have tried to kill Hitler, has been panned by German reviewers for giving a surprisingly low-key performance that fails to convey the charisma with which Stauffenberg inspired fellow plotters. But the film itself and the cast of support actors have won praise.

Stauffenberg tried to assassinate Hitler by placing a briefcase bomb under his conference table at his "Wolf's Lair" military headquarters in East Prussia -- in present-day Poland -- on July 20, 1944.

The bomb went off and four officers at the meeting were killed but Hitler was shielded by the heavy oak table and survived the blast with only slight injuries to his leg. Stauffenberg and three of his co-conspirators were executed by firing squad that night in Berlin.

Germany celebrates Stauffenberg as a hero of its otherwise murky 20th century history and initially reacted with suspicion to his portrayal by Cruise, the hero of Hollywood blockbusters such as "Top Gun" and "Mission Impossible." Germans are also skeptical of Cruise's membership in the Church of Scientology.

Stauffenberg's son Berthold Schenk von Stauffenberg said, in a 2007 interview while the movie was being filmed at original locations in and around Berlin, "it's bound to be rubbish. I don't like the fact that an avowed Scientologist is playing my father. I'm not saying Cruise is a bad actor. I can't judge that. But I'm definitely worried that awful trash could come out of it. He should keep his hands off my father."

But the movie has now even got a seal of approval from the German government. Bernd Neumann, the German government's federal commissioner for cultrue, said in a statement on Monday: "The film contributes successfully towards making this little-known chapter of German history known to an international audience."

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