The Plot to Kill Hitler (1990) starring Brad Davis, Madolyn Smith Osborne, Ian Richardson, Kenneth Colley, Michael Byrne, Helmut Lohner, Jonathan Hyde, Rupert Graves, Mike Gwilym directed by Lawrence Schiller Movie Review

The Plot to Kill Hitler (1990)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Brad Davis in The Plot to Kill Hitler (1990)

Another Valkyrie

There have been a few movies based on the attempt within the Third Reich to assassinate Hitler and so far I have watched two, this 1990 made for TV version and then "Operation Valkyrie" a German version of the story. To be honest these two movies are pretty much on par with each other and as such "The Plot to Kill Hitler" works well as an introduction to the story but doesn't really capture your attention as a piece of entertainment. What I will say is that what it lacks in some areas it makes up in others so whilst you never feel the passion behind the words the look and pacing is pretty good.

As a soldier being groomed for greatness Count Claus von Stauffenberg (Brad Davis) meets Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (Helmut Griem) whilst in Tunisia and is surprised to hear Rommel talk about Hitler as a danger to Germany. Shortly after Stauffenberg's career is almost over when an explosion robs him of one of an eye and hand. It is following his recuperation that he visits retired Gen. Beck (Ian Richardson) who relays his fears over what Hitler is doing to Germany and together with others start to plot to kill Hitler.

Michael Byrne in The Plot to Kill Hitler (1990)

I am no history expert, I have mentioned before that history lessons at school were stale affairs which surprisingly were more interested in ancient history and not recent history. So with that in mind I can't tell you how accurate to the truth "The Plot to Kill Hitler" is, I can say the main facts are the same as those in "Operation Valkyrie". What is different between these two versions other than the language is that "The Plot to Kill Hitler" puts more focus on Stauffenberg's relationship with his wife.

The thing about "The Plot to Kill Hitler" and what unfortunately keeps it only as an average movie is the lack of conviction. We have various recognizable actors such as Brad Davis, Ian Richardson and Michael Byrne but unfortunately none of them deliver convincing characterisations. They may say their lines and at times act pensively but it feels soulless as if that is all they were doing rather than trying to create real characters.

It's a shame because for a TV movie everything else about "The Plot to Kill Hitler" works. The look of it is good and the use of music works well to build atmosphere in the lead up to drama especially when it comes to the attempt by Stauffenberg to plant a bomb at the secluded head quarters. And some of the supporting performances are more convincing with Mike Gwilym delivering an interesting interpretation of Hitler as a man very much on the edge.

What this all boils down to is that "The Plot to Kill Hitler" is a solid dramatization of the plot to kill Hitler and in some ways is impressive as it is a TV movie. But unfortunately the performances let it down as for the most they are very flat.