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May 14, 1982 - Image 7

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1982-05-14

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Arts
The Michigan Daily Friday, May 14, 1982 Page 7
'Das Boot' looks at World War II

By Richard Campbell
W HERE HAVE ALL the war
movies gone? Apparently, they
have fled to foreign soil. Gallipoli gave
us the Australian version of WWI and
now Germany presents us with the
other side of World War II in Das Boot.
The film not only puts us behind
German lines; it also gets us under the
Atlantic. Das Boot is the story of Ger-
man submarine U-96, its crew and the
battles it encounters as it prowls the
seas.
What should make this film so in-
teresting is its depiction of German
soldiers fighting a nationalistic war,
rather than the usual American John
Wayne war flick piously defending the
land of the free.
But Das Boot really fails to provide
any insight intothe German character.
Why does the movie look and feel so
much like the American war movies of
the '40s and '50s? Das. Boot is a good
war film, but it doesn't do anything new
or different with the genre.

The film starts rolling in a Cabaret-
esque night club with lots of soldiers
and officers getting gloriously drunk
before being sent out on another
mission. At one point an officer gives a
speech upon receiving the Iron Cross
and criticizes the German high com-
mand.
The majority of the film is told from
the viewpoint of a reporter, played by
Herbert Gronemeyer. It is through this
cinematic device that we are shown
about the submarine and given ex-
planations concerning depth gauges,
torpedoes, etc. We quickly see that a
German U-boat is a cramped, sweaty,
tension-filled sardine can. As Director
Wolfgang Petersen points out on a title
card at the beginning of the movie,
40,000 men served in U-boat crews -
only 10,000 survived.
This meticulously detailed film
allows us to readily believe that we are
seeing exactly what went on under the
Atlantic during WWII.
Most of the time is spent waiting for
something to do. Boredom is rampant
See WORLD WAR, Page8

Jurgen Prochnow stars as the captain of the German submarine U-96 in the
film 'Das Boot.'
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