The Last Valley (1971)

The 1971 film The Last Valley is set during the Thirty Years War, so why does it appear in a KeepYourPowderDry post? Well, there's only so many times that you can watch Cromwell and By The Sword Divided, so I have cast my net on the other side of the Channel for inspiration.

The film stars Michael Caine and Omar Sharif; a young Brian Blessed co-stars as a short-lived, shouty man who meets his end in a midden.

"You're only supposed to blow ze bloody doors off"

The film starts with Omar Sharif's character, Vogel, in search of food and lodging, but his journey takes him through a landscape similar to Bruegel's painting "Triumph Of Death". After much wandering he stumbles into an idyllic valley which appears to have escaped a visit from the four horseman of the apocalypse.

Cue, Michael Caine's band of mercenaries arriving in the valley. Caine plays 'Captain' a German soldier - you can tell he is German as his helmet looks like the illegitimate child born from a drunken fling between a picklehaube and a zischagge, and his cockney accent has traces of a comedy German accent. All it lacks is him clicking his heels at the end of every sentence.

The Captain is intent on sacking the village, but Vogel persuades him that the better option is to over winter in the valley...

(There's an impressive siege scene towards the end of the film, if you want some bish bash bosh.)

An amusing, albeit very dated, film. Some good cinematography, and the stunning location is ruined by Caine's intermittent Herr Flick accent (he seems to forget that he is supposed to be a C17th German, and slips into Michael Caine for most of the time). Strange that he believed that it was one of his best performances ever. The film flopped at the box office.

Available to rent from Amazon Prime (although I don't think I would be willing to part with anything more than the price of a railway station coffee), the film is often available in its entirety on YouTube for free.

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