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Sinking of the Laconia (2012)

Andrew Buchan , Ken Duken , Uwe Janson  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Sinking of the Laconia + INJUSTICE + The Brief Complete Collection
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Product Details

  • Actors: Andrew Buchan, Ken Duken, Franka Potente, Thomas Kretschmann, Brian Cox
  • Directors: Uwe Janson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: August 7, 2012
  • Run Time: 171 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0083HXKNG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,799 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

The remarkable true WWII story

"Superb" —The Daily Mail (U.K.)

"Tense, gripping . . . with a cinematic scope" —The Daily Mail (U.K.)

As seen on Ovation

In September 1942 at the height of the battle for the Atlantic, a German U-boat torpedoed the RMS Laconia, sinking the British ship without knowing that it carried more than 2,000 passengers, many of them civilians. What followed is a harrowing true story of heroism, heartbreak, and unexpected humanity in the midst of the bloodiest conflict in history.

Award-winning screenwriter Alan Bleasdale (G.B.H.) dramatizes the incident with deft characterizations, narrative subtlety, and moral complexity. Ken Duken (Inglourious Basterds), Franka Potente (The Bourne Identity, Run Lola Run), and Andrew Buchan (Garrow's Law) anchor the outstanding international cast, which also features Lindsay Duncan (Rome) and Brian Cox (The Bourne Supremacy). Both thrilling and thought-provoking, this BAFTA-nominated miniseries is "the best bit of drama on the BBC in 20 years" (The Independent, U.K.).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
The infamous WWII incident involving the British cruise liner Laconia is a one-of-a-kind tale that is almost too fantastic to believe. The ship, which had been conscripted into service, was traveling from Egypt to Liverpool and had a passenger list consisting largely of civilians and Italian prisoners. When a German U-boat had the opportunity to torpedo the enemy, they took it and the ship was sunk. But when the survivors were discovered to be non-combatants, the German captain attempted to aid where he could. In an unusual tale of humanity in the time of adversity, this truce became a beacon of hope for the future. But as the aftermath of this decision unfolded, the results were both shocking and disappointing. If you don't know much about the event, I highly recommend the first rate production of "The Sinking of the Laconia." This two part TV movie was a British and German co-production and is taken from true accounts of the survivors.

Part One introduces a large cast of characters as the voyage sets sail. In many ways, the plotting of these early scenes can be problematic as the film only has a certain amount of time to create the characterizations. I wasn't in love with the beginning of "The Sinking of the Laconia" as it plays largely as an upscale soap opera unraveling personal stories and drama with a minimum of screen time. No one gets much attention, and I never particularly invested in the individuals. The sinking sequences, however, are well executed but there still isn't a huge emotional investment. But once this becomes a tale of the survivors, Part Two really gets under your skin. It is exceedingly well done, the characters start to take on real dimension, and the drama is absolutely gripping.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gentleman in war December 10, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A captivating movie based on an actual event during the WWII Uboat war. Shows that even during the brutality of war some individuals maintain a sense of morality and humanity.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Siking of the Laconia December 4, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a great movie based on a true incident in World War Two. It is like having Titanic, Das Boot and Joyeux Noel all in the one movie. Highly recommended
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
In September, 1942, the RMS Laconia was sailing from Africa for home when the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat (U-156) under command of its decorated captain, Werner Hartenstein. Surveying the destruction he had created, Hartenstein was shocked to realize that the Laconia carried not only British civilians but also prisoners of war. Immediately, he ordered his crew to conduct a massive rescue effort, and, thus, THE SINKING OF THE LACONIA entered into maritime war history. In 2011, a miniseries exploring these events was nominated for a BAFTA Award for best drama serial, and the events as adapted by screenwriter Alan Bleasdale are as tense as one would expect from great drama.

Bleasdale populates his script with characters ripe for confrontation. Hartenstein (played by Ken Duken) walks a treacherous line between the demands of commanding his crew and the expectations of brutal government dictates. Hilda Smith (Franka Potente) is a German exile seeking refuge in England who finds herself caught between concealing her true identity from those who would turn her over to the authorities. Thomas Mortimer (Andrew Buchan), as the Laconia's only surviving executive officer, manages the loss of his entire family (killed in a recent German bombing raid) alongside the challenges of keeping order amongst his fellow survivors, all the while keeping Hilda's secret. Lindsay Duncan is a British aristocrat torn between maintaining the appearance of her own nobility while grieving with the loss of her only child. And, for the record, the drama doesn't stop there, as the screenwriter deftly sprinkles his tale with terrific character moments.

The two-part story is also presented with great structure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sinking of the Laconia December 11, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The movie was very well done. Characters were well acted. The plot was very good, as most people would not have been aware of this happening.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating Incident from WWII December 26, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As a student of history, I always thought that the Laconia Incident of World War II would make a great movie. It is the true story of a courageous act of kindness and humanity by a protagonist in the ruthless Battle of the Atlantic against the U-Boats. After torpedoing the British liner Laconia, the German U-Boat commander discovers the ship was loaded with several hundred British civilian men, women, and children, as well as 1800 Italian POW's. Against the policies of the German Naval Command, he decides to mount an unprecedented humanitarian rescue effort which endangers his ship and his crew. The story is credibly filmed, and mostly accurate to the known facts. If anything is lacking, is the sense of desperation of the survivors, in particular any depiction of the numerous shark attacks on the floating survivors is missing. The acting, as a whole, is uninspiring, particularly that of Franka Potente, the mysterious German refugee. Nevertheless, I recommend this film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is one of the better war dramas I've seen in recent years. Based scrupulously on the true story of the sinking of the HMS Laconia during World War II, this dramatization makes no attempt to sensationalize or exaggerate the events. Characterizations are based on the historical record, as best as it can be reconstructed. The acting is sensitive and handled well. Instead of painting the German U-boat captain and his crew as Satan incarnate, the film succeeds in giving them individual and comprehensible personalities, with feelings (both good and not so good) and emotions, and a desire to do the right thing, during a horrible conflict. The filming is atmospheric, expertly and realistically done. The eventual tragedy is treated well and with restraint. I can highly recommend this release as a superb drama, depicting how humans can and do react during war time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good.
Real-life stories set in times of crises, such as World War II — arguably the most significant event of the 20th Century — usually make for highly watchable dramas. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jon Wynne
3.0 out of 5 stars Closed Caption
The translation of German to english was in very small almost transparent white type. It was very hard to read. Other than this its a good reaction of history.
Published 12 months ago by Boston Native
5.0 out of 5 stars A SCHINDLER'S LIST ON THE OPEN SEA BUT WERE THE MOTIVES THE SAME?
It's a story of murder and humanitarianism; of love lost and love found; and of hope and despair. This little known event of the Second World War makes for a wonderful movie. Read more
Published 14 months ago by moviebuff
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Story of true courage
Factual recounting of a great story of true events. Movie is well done and gives great care to an interesting story.
Published 17 months ago by Lamar R. Mindler
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent British Production
As usual the British produce an above average production with excellent actors and script. A winner!! Don't miss this one.
Published 18 months ago by Judith Robinson
2.0 out of 5 stars Fine film sunk by cartoonish American characters
Mostly the Sinking of the Laconia is well done, well written, and well acted...unfortunately, when some American characters enter the picture, in the second half of the... Read more
Published on August 7, 2012 by Canticle For Leibowitz
1.0 out of 5 stars Rating is for Amazon, not the story itself, which is a great story
I caught the first half of the video, but missed the remainder, as I had not been aware that it was a series and came on multiple nights. Read more
Published on July 8, 2012 by umeweall
5.0 out of 5 stars WWII COLLATERAL DAMAGE THAT FADED THE LINE BETWEEN ENEMIES
Docu-Drama of a cruise liner, converted to armed troop ship, torpedoed & sunk. The Nazi u-boat commander's heart demanded a rescue attempt. Read more
Published on June 17, 2012 by Harold Wolf
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