Operation Valkyrie: The Stauffenberg Plot to Kill Hitler Jean-Pierre Isbouts

Produced in collaboration with those wacky kids over at The German Resistance Organization Forschungsgemeinschaft 20. Juli 1944, Operation Valkyrie offers as accurate of a look at Stauffenberg’s Hitler assassination attempt as one could gleam without a time machine, some jackboots and a Waffen SS jacket. Interviews with family members, historians and Philipp Baron von Boeselager, a Nazi officer who assisted with the conspiracy to blow up Das Fuehrer, help to paint a picture of the German political climate during WWII, as well as the series of events that led to the failed briefcase bombing. The documentary presents the information with stock footage and some re-enactments, which channel both the drama of a particularly daring episode of Rescue 911 and something one might find on the BBC. Despite these overt production limitations, the information is presented in a clear and concise manner, following a chain of relevance rather than a timeline, elucidating Germany’s initial excitement surrounding Hitler’s "take charge” attitude following a demoralizing loss in WWI and some economic inflation issues, and suggesting that many folks were none too pleased with the whole invading Poland and slaughtering Jews thing. This history lesson is woven around the upbringing of Stauffenberg, a well-to-do German military officer who was initially tickled pink by the prospect of invading various European nations until, hypothetically, he caught wind of the mass slaughtering of Russian Jews, which didn’t sit as well. A big plus for the doc is a tendency to point out conjecture, never presenting it as fact, which is quite respectable. The two-disc DVD includes two hours of bonus materials, including real footage of the Volksgericht trials, an interview with von Boeslager, visits to the Stauffenberg Estate, the German Resistance Memorial Center, and many remastered Eva Braun (Hitler’s mistress) home movies. The latter home videos mostly feature Ms. Braun skinny-dipping, doing aerobics and videotaping Hitler as he hosted dinner parties. Also included are brief descriptions of the many other attempts on Hitler’s life, which are often similar but interesting. (Koch)