The Alien Years (1988)
The Alien Years is a virtually unknown three part movie starring Christoph Waltz as Stefan Muller, a German immigrant who meets a woman named Elizabeth (Elizabeth Longley) who is of the upper class. They marry and have two children but World War I breaks out and this lands Stefan in great danger because of his German name.
I wanted to see an early Christoph Waltz film which was in English (very rare if the movie has him in in and it happens to be made before 2009) and one that was around way before he was a Nazi, bounty hunter, ringmaster and a Bond Villian. I am a huge fan of his work so there is no surprise there. This, aside from The Gravy Train and the Gravy Train Goes East, is one of the only options to watch some of Waltz’s earlier stuff without having to watch foreign films.
Teenagers, like Elizabeth early on in the movie, and indeed other teenagers in movies have always been known to rebel from their parents. This is everything from choice in fashion to who they want to run away with, much to their parents dismay. I think it would take a lot of guts to turn away from your class at the time when class was a general social system and not a patronizing term exclusively from the Daily Mail. It also felt as if they had both become proper characters long after the sad ending, all because Stefan was a German immigrant. The scenery also looked lovely and if it was a bit more well known, it should have won some awards for set design. It would have been very heartbreaking to take down an enemy of your father’s nationality.
I’ll admit that this is not the greatest movie in the world and it is very time consuming but it is interesting to see Christoph Waltz way before he got the recognition that he deserved. Pretty much all the cast members except Christoph Waltz and maybe the men who played the sons have now died.