Das Boot - The Director's Cut
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It is 1942 and the German submarine fleet is heavily engaged in the so called "Battle of the Atlantic" to harass and destroy English shipping. With better escorts of the Destroyer Class, however, German U-Boats have begun to take heavy losses. "Das Boot" is the story of one such U-Boat crew, with the film examining how these submariners maintained their professionalism as soldiers, attempted to accomplish impossible missions, while all the time attempting to understand and obey the ideology of the government under which they served.
This is the restored, 209-minute director's cut of Wolfgang Petersen's harrowing and claustrophobic U-boat thriller, which was theatrically rereleased in 1997. Originally made as a five-hour miniseries, this version devotes more time to getting to know the crew before they and their stoic captain (Jürgen Prochnow) get aboard their U-boat and find themselves stranded at the bottom of the sea. Das Boot puts you inside that submerged vessel and explores the physical and emotional tensions of the situation with a vivid, terrifying realism that few movies can match. As Petersen tightens the screws and the submerged ship blows bolts, the pressure builds to such unbearable levels that you may be tempted to escape for a nice walk on solid land in the great outdoors--only you wouldn't dream of looking away from the screen. --Jim Emerson
- Making-of documentary
- Behind-the-scenes footage
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As a side note, my father served in WWII as a Navy pilot, and one of his early assignments was piloting subhunter PBY aircraft out of Iceland and Newfoundland. His letters attest to the dangers he faced, flying mere feet over treacherous North Atlantic seas, carrying torpedos and depth charges, where a gust of wind could send the aircraft, him and his crew into the water at any time. He wrote that all the pilots were more afraid of the weather than the enemy, but they flew anyway, doing what they had signed on to do. So when I saw this movie, I thought of him and his crew, flying over the seas looking for these U boats, while the young men under the seas endured their own fears and sacrifices.