I recently saw a trailer for the the new Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie. You have probably seen either the trailer or maybe even the movie itself. There seems to be a bit of controversy about whether Tom Cruise, who plays the Nazi conspiring to assassinate Hitler during the Second World War, should play the part using a German accent or not. In the actual movie Tom Cruise does not talk in a German accent, he speaks with his normal American accent. Well, sorry, but to me that is wrong and because of that I will not go and see the movie. In my opinion a German Nazi should be played by an actor who speaks with a German accent at least and probably should be played by a German speaking person and, therefore, with English subtitles.
Imagine if the war film Pearl Harbour had English speaking Japanese fighter pilots. It would not seem right would it ? Well, the same principal applies with all similar films. I would rather not have an A list actor like Tom Cruise playing such parts. I would rather have an unknown actor who could speak German.
I recently watched a great movie called Apocolypto, directed by Mel Gibson. Apocolypto is the mythic story of a tribe of Indians who have been conquered by another tribe and taken to an ancient Mayan kingdom to be sacrificed by the kingdom’s rulers to appease the gods who are currently “punishing” the Mayan people through sickness, pestilence, drought and a myriad of other issues in what is to become the waning days of their mighty empire. The point is though is that this film uses local actors who do not speak English. The film is sub-titled and in my opinion this makes the movie far more authentic and actually pretty scary in parts as well.
I am a big fan of war movies and all the best ones have had German speaking actors if they have been about World War 2. Can you imagine John Wayne playing a German. He was far too macho for that !