The Last Valley

 

cover art for The Last Valley OST
cover art for The Last Valley Re-recording

Original Soundtrack
(1970)

LP: Dunhill X-50102
CD: [Bootleg edition with The Black Hole]
CD: [Bootleg edition: the "complete" score sourced from video--may include dialog.]

  1. Main Title (3:07)
  2. The Last Valley (3:50)
  3. The Shrine (1:45)
  4. An Evening Song (1:58)
  5. The Plague Pit (2:25)
  6. The Village Attack (2:52)
  7. A Children's Song (1:46)
  8. Attack at Rheinfelden (1:10)
  9. Main Title Part II (3:36)
  10. The Last Valley (2:37)
  11. A Christmas Song (2:24)
  12. Witch Burning (1:40)
  13. An Offertory Chant (2:37)
  14. Vogel Leaves the Valley (1:20)
  15. Death of the Captain - End Title (4:52)

Re-recording

CD: Silva SSD 1134

  1. Main Titles [part 1] (3:07)
  2. The Rape Of Khutai (0:52)
  3. The Plague Pit (2:10)
  4. Entry Into The Last Valley (3:00)
  5. "Who Not Winter In The Valley?"/The Death Of Eskesen (4:37)
  6. An Evening Song (2:07)
  7. Captain Meet Erica/Winning Erica (2:18)
  8. The Villagers Fight For The Shrine (2:59)
  9. The Priest Prays For Guidance/The Shrine (3:13)
  10. Vogel's Dream/The Last Valley (2:45)
  11. The Giving Away Of The Women/An Offertory Chant (2:36)
  12. Hansen Tries To Murder Captain (1:19)
  13. A Children's Song (1:46)
  14. Graf Returns/Mountain SKirmish/The Village Attack (3:16)
  15. Departure for Ehinefelden (2:55)
  16. A Christmas Song (2:51)
  17. Witchcraft/Erica Is Burned At The Stake (3:44)
  18. Vogel Leaves The Valley (1:44)
  19. Night Battle At Rhinefelden (1:13)
  20. Death Of Captain/End Title (5:02)
  21. The Last Valley: Main Titles [part 2] (3:29)

The Movie

I don't know what to make of this movie. It's the sort of thing that makes me want to read the book because I'm guessing that a lot of things that are just touched on in the film were developed more fully in the book. But that's conjecture.

Michael Caine leads a band of german mercinaries during the late stages of the 30 Years War--when the Reformation was tearing Europe apart. Basically they're pirates--if the movie had been set in the Carribean they could easily have been pirates. They a collection of brigands--they feel no allegiance to anyone except Caine and only because Caine is the strongest and the smartest. As the film begins they're plundering their way through Germany when they blunder through a secluded pass into a valley--one that has been bypassed through the wars and the plague. Here they meet the townspeople and a wanderer, Omar Sharif, who talks Caine into sparing the village by spending the winter there in comfort rather than starving with the rest of the army. Caine agrees, and an uneasy occupation of the town begins. The result is a multi-faceted conflict between the mercinaries and the townspeople, the local priest, and among themselves--with Omar Sharif stuck in the middle trying to the peace.

I find it a mediocre movie. It tries to do any number of things and never does any of them well. It tries to make some profound comments on religion, on war, and on personal goals and strength. But in the end it's a bit of a mish-mosh. And I found the ending weak and unfocussed. The photography was great, though. The valley was meant to look beautiful and it certainly did.


The Music

Terry Walstrom and James Fitzpatrick's liner notes point out the fact that while the music bears a surface resemblance to the score for The Lion in Winter, that it's really very different. I am sure he's right. To my untrained ear, the first thing I heard was The Lion in Winter--and even though The Lion in Winter is set during the high middle ages and this is set during the Reformation, a lot of it does (to me) sound very similar, especially compared to modern music. But there is a difference and it is noticable. As Fitzpatrick says:

Stylistically, The Last Valley is quite different from The Lion in Winter. Both share chorus and orchestra as a palette yet differ in timbre and architecture. Whereas The Lion in Winter has a mighty ecclesiastical personality and crystalline purity in its contrasts, The Last Valley is darker and more adventurous with sad-edged classicism and humanity.

If you liked The Lion in Winter, I think you will like this one as well. If you did not like The Lion in Winter, than give this one a miss.


Release Notes

The movie tanked at the box office and became obscure. A soundtrack was released on LP but quickly became a collector's item. Many people liked it--particularly those who liked The Lion in Winter, but it never rated a CD release. It showed up a couple of times as bootlegs until Nic Raine re-recorded the entire score on the recent Silva release. So not only do you get rare music--you get more than the OST itself offered.