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DAS BOOT: DVD

After a debauched last night ashore, one of the famed German U boats, U-96, is sent off on a patrol into the Atlantic during World War II, with its crew of young seamen, and the more experienced, slightly world weary Captain (Jürgen Prochnow). On board is a green young war correspondent Werner (Herbert Grönmeyer) to report first hand on the heroic team of submariners, feared by the British navy as much as by the merchant ships crossing the Atlantic. But the patrol, which crosses a convoy of enemy ships, turns into something more harrowing than heroic than anyone anticipated, with the battles against nature and machine as traumatic as the battles against the enemy above.

"It took about 70 people a year to produce this Director's Cut DVD version of Petersen's acclaimed adaptation of a factual account of life in a U boat in 1941 - and the result is spectacular and also heartening. The original film, made in 1980/81 (and the 6-hour tv mini series made simultaneously) captured audiences and acclaim with its adventure, humanity and gripping tension. Remastered and completely recreated in a digital sound mix, this new cut - at over three and a half hours - includes scenes not used in the film. The extra scenes add subtly to the overall impact, making the work even more engrossing, with the attention to character detail. This is no longer just an extraordinary war time action film, it is an even more satisfying exploration of the human condition - under a special sort of stress. The technical work on the new cut gives us the film in its full potential; remember, in 1980, digital image engineering was not part of the filmmaker's tool kit. All the more impressive are some of the effects that Petersen and his team managed to pull of back then. The commentary is a freewheeling and entertaining - not to mention incredibly informative - conversation between Petersen, Prochnow and the producer of the Director's Cut, Ortwin Freyermuth. It is filled with humour as well as the detailed insights that make it another three and a half hours of entertainment. With 66 chapter entries, the DVD makes it easy to skip to selected sequences. Subtitles (in English, German, Dutch, French, Swedish and Arabic) complement the language versions in German (original), English and French. It is evident from Petersen's commentary that his vision for the 'perfect' Das Boot is finally realised with this effort. We also learn of the enormous effort and hardship that went into the making of the film, emphasising that although it is still only a movie, it has a certain importance for many people, underlined by its great humanity. This DVD is a great example of technology in the service of art & entertainment."
Andrew L. Urban

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DAS BOOT (M) 15+
Germany

See feature REVIEW of Das Boot

CAST: Jurgen Prochnow, Herbert Gronemeyer, Klaus Wennemann

DIRECTOR: Wolfgang Petersen

AUSTRALIAN DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia Pictures







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