Author Topic: Das Boot (1981)  (Read 2321 times)

Offline Antares

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Das Boot (1981)
« on: May 21, 2010, 10:42:01 PM »
Das Boot

Year: 1981
Film Studio: Columbia Pictures, Bavaria Film
Genre: War, Classic, Drama
Length: 293 Min.

Wolfgang Petersen (1941)

Lothar G. Buchheim (1918)...Original Material By
Wolfgang Petersen (1941)...Writer

Michael Bittins
Günter Rohrbach (1928)

Jost Vacano (1934)

Klaus Doldinger (1936)...Composer

Jürgen Prochnow (1941) as Capt.-Lt. Henrich Lehmann-Willenbrock -
Herbert Grönemeyer (1956) as Lt. Werner - Correspondent
Klaus Wennemann (1940) as Chief Engineer Fritz Grade - Der Leitend
Hubertus Bengsch (1952) as 1st Lieutenant - Number One-1WO
Martin Semmelrogge (1955) as 2nd Lieutenant - 2WO
Bernd Tauber (1950) as Kriechbaum - Chief Quartermaster-Navigat
Erwin Leder (1951) as Johann
Martin May (1961) as Ullman

       Of all the men who fought during World War II, none were braver than the sailors who lurked beneath the waves in the U-boats of the Third Reich. They were considered the elite of the Nazi war machine and would be decorated for their valor after a successful sortie with a personal audience with de Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler. While the conventional soldier faced relatively good odds of survival when cast onto a battlefield, a submariner in the Kriegsmarine knew that his chances of survival in an Atlantic wolf-pack were 1 in 4. In the beginning of the war, the Nazi’s enjoyed widespread success on land, upon the seas and in the air. But when Hitler turned his gaze away from the Western powers and attacked Communist Russia, the fortunes of Germany began its slow spiral into Hell. Being a predominantly land-locked nation, its surface fleet was no match for the combined strengths of the Allied British and American fleets. To combat this imbalance, they turned to the one weapon that had brought Germany much success in the Great War, the U-Boat. Under the leadership of Karl Dönitz, a one time U-boat captain in WW I, the Nazi’s perfected the concept of locating an Allied convoy and forming into wolf-packs to decimate the cargo ships that were Great Britain’s lifeline.
       Das Boot recounts the danger and drudgery that a submariner on a U-boat at sea in the North Atlantic faced on a day-to-day basis. From the icy waters of the Iceland straits to the constant fear of being detected by either the Royal Navy or Air Force, director Wolfgang Petersen recreates the conditions that every crew of a type-7 U-boat faced in their submerged, claustrophobic world, painting a picture of the endless monotony endured waiting for convoys. The tedium being broken frequently by a cry of Alarm!, which forces the crew into a ballet of motion, synchronized and rehearsed repeatedly to ensure their survival in these most vulnerable of war machines. Where Petersen’s rendition of life at sea differs from Hollywood’s clichéd themes is in his approach to the subject matter at hand. The film doesn’t come to a battle scene until well over an hour into the story, leaving the viewer to witness and participate in the boredom that prevailed in their dutiful missions at sea. Now I’m not saying that this first hour is dull, quite the contrary, its character development sets the stage for the remarkable scope of detail portrayed when the sub is under attack.
       The film opens in a brothel as the crews regale in every form of debauchery that can be imagined, before setting to sea in the early dawn. As the ship leaves its French port, the faces of the crew reflect a youthful and exuberant naïveté, as they are eager to taste battle and to return as heroes in the eyes of their countrymen. When the first mission is completed and they return to their homeport, the trauma they have endured alters their appearance and ages them dramatically. As newly cast veterans, the glamorous and chivalrous notion that each of them harbored before their first journey has now been replaced with a heaping measure of acrimony towards their role in Germany’s quest for ‘Lebensraum’. Thus, an alternating cycle of drunken depravity and fear flooded sorties takes place and each time the crew returns, a little bit more of their humanity is swept away. In the end, they will become hollow apparitions whose only resemblance to man, is in their physical appearance.
       War films are not to everyone’s taste, but Das Boot transcends almost all of the mundane movies in this most skewed and derided of genres. If you are the type who likes war films to be the insipid ilk that are patriotic, gung-ho and grisly bacchanals, then you have picked the wrong film to watch. If on the other hand, you enjoy a tense emotion packed drama that delves into the curious fascination are species has with killing our fellow man in the name of honor and country, and the futility that it fosters, then Das Boot is right up your alley. Of the countless scores of propaganda, patriotic, anti-war and human study films that have been made in this genre, Das Boot is the best.

Review Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 11:45:55 PM by Antares »

Offline Achim

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Re: Das Boot (1981)
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2010, 05:55:50 AM »
Das Boot is a great film. As any good film does, it concentrates more on the people and their troubles in the situation they are in, rather than just cashing in on explosions and death scenes.

IIRC it was the only time I went to the cinema with my father.

I see you watched the longer "TV version" of it. The cinema cut is (obviously?) slightly more cut towards an action audience, but still good. I believe there also is a Director's Cut (own it, not seen) which is in the middle between those two (209min).


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Re: Das Boot (1981)
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2010, 01:39:21 PM »
Good review of an excellent film.

Made me tempted to watch the 200min Directors Cut or try to take some time and watch full 282 "TV-Fassung" version.

Offline Antares

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Re: Das Boot (1981)
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2010, 03:51:25 AM »
Good review of an excellent film.

Made me tempted to watch the 200min Directors Cut or try to take some time and watch full 282 "TV-Fassung" version.

You have to watch the full version, it's definitely the best cut. I never owned the theatrical version, I went straight for the Director's cut. After watching it, I instantly ordered the uncut version. I'm glad I did.  :thumbup:


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Re: Das Boot (1981)
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2010, 06:40:58 AM »
"Das Boot" is one of my favourite movies! I've watched this movie many times. Could be one of the candidates for a blu-ray upgrade (if available).

Great review, Antares!  :thumbup:

Offline Antares

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Re: Das Boot (1981)
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2010, 05:38:11 PM »
What made the film resonate for me was the fact that for once, Germans weren't depicted as fanatical automatons. Even the ardent Nazi on the boat, whose character name escapes me at the moment, slowly loses his blind loyalty to the Nazi doctrine.

Anyone, who has ever enjoyed a good war film, owes it to themselves to see this film. It was probably one of the top five films of the 80's.