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'THE LAST VALLEY' (1971) - a hidden gem. ⋆ Historian Alan Royle
The Last Valley (1971) was panned almost universally, probably because it echoed writer/director James Clavell’s well-known atheism. Churches hate that kind of thing and they had enough clout back then to strongly influence many critics in their reviews. Personally, I thought the script was brilliant, the acting excellent, and John Barry’s incredible score worth the price of admission in itself. I believe it gives us an insight into a moment in history almost entirely overlooked by movies and the education system. The Thirty Years War seems to be one of those conflicts that have slipped under the radar of most people. Indeed, in the movies it has only formed the background of two films that I am aware of – this one and the Greta Garbo classic Queen Christina (1933). Neither British nor American school curriculums include it, possibly because what was happening in England and her American colonies around that time was considered to have more relevance to both nations. James Clavell As a historical lesson, therefore, The Last Valley offers us a unique window into what it must have been like to be a peasant in Europe during those bleak times. Staying alive was more a matter of [...]