Marvel Super Special Magazine: For Your Eyes Only on-set report, including an interview with Michael Gothard.

This came out in 1981.

[Contessa Lisl’s] killer in For Your Eyes Only is a cold-eyed assassin called Emile Locque. Played by Michael Gothard, Loque is the film's equivalent of such past villainous henchmen as Red Grant in From Russia With Love and Mr. Wint in Diamonds Are Forever. Gothard is no stranger to cinematic evil – during his career he's played a vampire (in Scream and Scream Again), helped to burn Oliver Reed alive in The Devils and stabbed Simon Ward to death in The Four Musketeers. But he's suffered a lot of on-screen retribution himself.

"I've been killed in so many different ways on both the large and small screens," he said wryly. "I've been hanged, stabbed, strangled, shot, immersed in an acid bath,
crashed on a motorcycle, killed by a 10-year-old boy by a vicious blow to the spine, drowned and – on one memorable occasion – stabbed and drowned simultaneously.

It's quite a challenge to try and make an impact with a character as restrained and quiet as Locque. I had to act in a sort of straitjacket but I certainly did my best to make him into a menacing and evil presence. Audiences usually remember the Bond villains, and their henchmen, so I'm hoping I won't be an exception."

Speculation:
Some of these on-screen deaths are ones we know about:
As John, he was hanged in Michael Kolhlhaas.
As Kodai, he was shot in Stopover.
As Keith, he was immersed in an acid bath in Scream and Scream Again.
As Terry, he crashed on a motorcycle in Up the Junction.
As Hansen, he was killed (or at least maimed, which resulted in his being killed) by a 10-year-old boy by a vicious blow to the spine in The Last Valley.

That leaves four deaths "stabbed, strangled, drowned and stabbed and drowned simultaneously" unaccounted for.

If, as Michael says, these deaths were on film or TV, they must presumably each have occurred in one of five productions:
- the Armchair Theatre play - The Story-teller - in which he played Brian
- the episode of Menace – Nine Bean Rows - in which he played Pip
- the episode of Fraud Squad – Run for your Money - in which he played Jacky Joyce
- the Thirty Minute Theatre play – The Excavation - in which he played Grady
- the TV series - The Further Adventures of the Musketeers - in which he played Mordaunt.

We don't yet know which death belonged to which character.
In this story about the Hundred Years War that ravaged Europe, Michael Gothard played Hansen, one of a band of marauders led by The Captain (Michael Caine).

“The Last Valley” was filmed at Halliford Studios, Shepperton, England, and in Trins, Tirol, Austria.

Filming seems to have taken place during 1969, because there were 40th Anniversary showings on 24 and 27 September 2009.

Per an uncredited source, he may have got this role as a result of his performance in “Michael Kohlhaas.”

"In [Michael Kohlhaas], Michael Gothard played the part of a young soldier who joined Kohlhaas' band, but who, refusing to obey, looted for his own gain, and finally died by hanging. His truculent performance, especially in the last scenes with Anita Pallenberg, earned him a very similar role in “The Last Valley”, James Clavell's ponderous allegory."

Quote taken from Michael Gothard Tribute Site

It also seems likely that Michael’s performance in “The Last Valley” may have led to him being cast as Kai in “Arthur of the Britons.” He even wears the same studded tunic in both productions.

“The Last Valley” was the second project on which Michael appeared with Brian Blessed (who played another mercenary, Korski) – the first being “The Further Adventures of the Musketeers”, and the third being “Arthur of the Britons.”

Harry Fielder, a stuntman/extra/stand-in with whom Michael had worked on the “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)” episode, “When the Spirit Moves You”, was an uncredited pillager in “The Last Valley”, and would later work with him on “The Devils.”

Michael Gothard would also work with Michael Caine again, on “Jack the Ripper.”

Incidentally, Michael Caine has confessed that (unlike Michael Gothard) he is a terrible rider, and was lucky to escape unharmed during “The Last Valley.”

"I am absolutely useless. I act as though I can ride. In “The Last Valley,” I led a charge. If I'd have come off, they'd have all run over me.”
Full article.

Watch "The Last Valley" on Youtube:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10

Details on IMDB

Reviews

This Island Rod

"… the rapacious Hansen (Michael Gothard) is given to stirring up trouble, eventually raising a rival band of brigands to contest the valley …

The evocation of a blasted, cruel, evil epoch isn’t as ineffaceable or provocative as that in Ken Russell’s 'The Devils' from the same year (they both sport cast member Gothard, with his gift for portraying multiple varieties of creep) but shares some imagery and mood, combined with high-riding sweep of narrative."

Full review

Deitmar Zingl in 70 mm News:

“Michael Caine is especially fond of TLV. It's one of his own favorite movies. He uses a slight German accent for his role as Captain Hauptmann, the cool warrior with a wounded soul.

Omar Sharif is the romantic intellectual, some kind of Zhivago lost in Germany. Per Oscarsson is a religious fanatic priest, wonderfully over the top, as most of the religious fanatics, even today. Florinda Bolkan is the independent woman in a male dominated society and pays a high price for her independence.

More wonderful actors are Nigel Davenport, Arthur O‘Connell and the wild and angry Michael Gothard as Hansen. His performance resembles that of Klaus Kinski in "Aguirre, The Wrath of God" although that came two years later.”

Full review

Other reviews of “The Last Valley.”

DVD Talk
In Stereo
New York Times
Cane Toad Warrior
rtbot
Released in January 1971, filming of “The Last Valley”, at Halliford Studios, Shepperton, England, and in Trins, Tirol, Austria, seems to have taken place during 1969, because there were 40th Anniversary showings on 24 and 27 September 2009.

Michael's role as Hansen may have come as a result of his performance in “Michael Kohlhaas.”

Review from unknown source:

In [Michael Kohlhaas], Michael Gothard played the part of a young soldier who joined Kohlhaas' band, but who, refusing to obey, looted for his own gain, and finally died by hanging. His truculent performance, especially in the last scenes with Anita Pallenberg, earned him a very similar role in “The Last Valley”, James Clavell's ponderous allegory.

Quote taken from Michael Gothard Tribute Site

.
Michal Kohlhaas 1 Michal Kohlhaas 2

While Michael Kohlhaas' campaign gathers momentum, collecting various supporters, including students and bandits along the way, Michael Gothard’s character, John, an ex-soldier, joins up with him.
Read more... )
Samuel Wilson – Mondo 70

Volker Schlondorff's adaptation of Heinrich von Kleist's 19th century historical novel about a 16th century rebellion in Saxony is a relic of that strange time when Hollywood was willing to try its luck on practically anything. American producers bankrolled a German crew working in Czechoslovakia with an international cast, including some Rolling Stones hangers-on (and according to legend, Keith Richards himself as an extra) and while IMDB says it opened in the U.S. in May 1969, I can't find evidence of that initial American run, under either its original title or the alternate rubric, Man on Horseback.

It received its American TV premiere as a CBS Late Movie in December 1972. Kohlhaas doesn't seem to have played theatrically in New York until 1980, after Schlondorff had earned some notoriety as the director of The Tin Drum. In a way, it's a typical film of the 1969-71 period -- idiosyncratically ambitious and an absolute commercial disaster in America …

Like Julian Buchs' A Bullet for Sandoval, this ostensibly more prestigious production is a story in which a righteous man's revenge far exceeds his original grievance. Unlike the more stylized spaghetti western, Kohlhaas is a stark, grimy history play in the manner of the Czech directors on whose territory much of it was shot, as well as Schlondorff's "New German Cinema" movement.

The two films have in common a generic continental concern of the period with the cruelty and injustice of history, the injustice in either case guaranteeing an excess of cruelty when victims finally lash out. In Kohlhaas the excesses of rebellion take Schlondorff close to spaghetti territory, especially in the town-sacking scene, during which Stanley Meyers' score is suddenly enhanced by dissonantly anachronistic electric guitars while Michael's less reputable men run amok.

This turn of the rebellion toward viciousness and outright crime probably came as a rude surprise to those original viewers who may have seen Kohlhaas's movement building into some sort of proto-hippy youth uprising after the deserter (Michael Gothard) and his doxy (Anita Pallenberg) are introduced. What looks like an idealistic feud, and remains one in Kohlhaas's own mind, is quickly corrupted.

Because Michael himself remains incorruptible, it's perhaps inevitable that he ends up paying for everyone else's sins in a suggestively gruesome finale. That sort of finish sets apart the more artistically ambitious "history of cruelty" films from spaghetti westerns, which usually allow their antiheroes to go out, if they even lose, in a blaze of glory, with their boots on ... The history-of-cruelty films prefer to emphasize the inexorable power of Power, the inescapable embrace of injustice, even if Michael Kohlhaas is allowed the symbolic grace note of freeing the horses ...

Full review

~~

New York Times: 20 June 1980

A handsome, straightforward adaption of the 1810 novella written by Heinrich von Kleist, about a rigorously honest man named Michael Kohlhaas, a successful horse dealer who, when the courts refuse to uphold his claim against a rich landowner, takes the law into his own hands. The setting is a small German principality and the time the mid-16th century. In his pursuit of the landowner, the single-minded Kohlhaas gathers together a small armed band that first burns down the landowner's castle, sacks one city and eventually threatens the entire country. Thus Kohlhaas, first seen as the unquestioning recipient of God's favor, suddenly becomes a bandit, operating outside the laws he once invoked and which will eventually doom him.”

Full review

~~

Review from unknown source

He was discovered in Herostratus, Don Levy's very interesting film, in which he played the principal role. His spectacular performance, which alternated moments of violence with lyric sequences done in very long takes, was noticed by Volker Schlondorff, who signed him for Michael Kohlhaas.

In this intense chronicle of a peasant revolt, Michael Gothard played the part of a young soldier who joined Kohlhaas' band, but who, refusing to obey, looted for his own gain, and finally died by hanging. His truculent performance, especially in the last scenes with Anita Pallenberg, earned him a very similar role in “The Last Valley”, James Clavell's ponderous allegory.

Full review on the Michael Gothard Tribute Site
Campaign book

This is the front cover of a four-page leaflet sent out to cinemas before a film arrived. Michael's only appearance in the leaflet is in the cover picture and the credit list.

This particular leaflet was sent to a cinema in Cork, Eire.

Campaign book

Along with the Campaign Book, this insert, suggesting ways to publicise the film, was sent.

Promotion supplement

Only a brain like that of Mr Farson, the advertising executive from ‘Herostratus’ who tried to market a young man’s suicide, could have come up with ‘Fancy dress competition’ as a way of putting a positive spin on a Kafkaesque tale of cruelty, injustice and death like ‘Michael Kohlhaas.’
Also known as “Man on Horseback”, Michael Kohlhaas was filmed in Bavaria, (Germany), Bratislava, (Slovakia), and Moravia, (Czech Republic).

There are two versions, one English, one German.

The release date was 11 April 1969, in West Germany.

The film was nominated for the Palme D’Or at Cannes in 1969.

Michael Kohlhaas is a Kafkaesque tale based on an 1811 novella by Heinrich von Kleist, which is itself based on the 16th-century story of Hans Kohlhase.
Read more... )
Watch English version on Youtube here.

Warning: As well as scenes of violence, including sexual assaults, torture and hangings, there is some animal abuse in this film. They scare a cat very badly. Also, they needed horses that appeared to have been starved, and it seems unlikely that they just found some starving horses and made them well again.

IMDB entry

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