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Das Boot (Director's Cut) [DVD] 
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At the height of WWII, a young submarine crew heads out to sea on a top-secret mission that all but ensures most will never make it home alive. Ordered to patrol the Atlantic and destroy an allied armada bringing supplies to Britain, these raw recruits must band together, bracing themselves against a depth-charge assault from an unseen enemy. Oscar ® - nominated director Wolfgang Petersen’s epic adventure deftly explores tension as pressure builds to an explosive climax, packing a visceral punch few movies can match.
Wolfgang Petersen's harrowing and claustrophobic U-boat thriller Das Boot was released as both a theatrical film and a six-hour mini-series, and remains the most expensive production ever made by a German studio. The expanded "Director's Cut" of the movie was re-released 1997 and it is this version that is available for home viewing. This epic story became an instant classic on its first release, provoking critical and audience acclaim worldwide for its sympathetic and entirely truthful portrayal of a German U-boat crew. Faithfully adapted from the bestselling novel by Lothar-Günther Buchheim, Petersen and his committed cast (led by the amazing Jürgen Prochnow) were concerned to ensure that every detail was rendered with painstaking accuracy--both physical and psychological--and the result is not only the best submarine drama ever made but also arguably the finest cinematic portrait of men at war and the terrible madness they must endure.
On the DVD: The 200-minute "Director's Cut" version of the movie not only has several major scenes restored that were not in the theatrical release but also has been digitally remastered with significantly improved sound (new sound effects have been added) and anamorphic picture. (The six-hour TV version has yet to be released.) Here, the viewer can watch the movie in the original German, with or without subtitles, or in an English dubbed version that uses the voices of many of the original cast. On the utterly engrossing commentary track, director Wolfgang Petersen and star Jürgen Prochnow talk animatedly and in great detail about every aspect of making this epic story--from model shots using Barbie dolls to meeting the Captain of the original U-boat. This is one of the most consistently rewarding commentaries on disc. Also included is a five-minute featurette that promotes this new version. --Mark Walker
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Top Customer Reviews
The production of 'Das Boot' on DVD is a fascinating tale in itself. The Director's commentary, in which Jurgen Procknow (who played the Captain) particpates, presents an interesting, and often amusing, insight into the production of a film that really launched the careers of many of those that were invloved. Of particular note is the filmakers' impromptu discussion on the reaction the film received in Germany when it was first shown. There were at the time certain conventions that needed to be observed in German cinema when dealing with the subject of WWII. 'Das Boot' did to some extent challenge these and this led to quite a disparity between the German public's reaction and those of the critics.
Technically the DVD production is superb. It seems that Wolfgang Petersen is certainly an enthuiast for the new digital medium. He and his team have re-cut the film, using the original negative as the source, to produce a 'film' version that Petersen appears to be very content with. The result is a 3-hour experience of superb visual quality. However, it does not end there. The entire sound track has been re-engineered for Dolby Digital 5.1 - and an English dubbed Dolby Surround mix is included as well. Only the original dialogue track and some music stems were retained.Read more ›
It started life in 1981 as a 145-minute theatrical release and was later expanded into a a six-hour miniseries for German television, broadcast in 1985. Twelve years on, writer-director Wolfgang Petersen finally realised his vision of the project by adding a significant amount of material to the former to create his director's cut. This is the version presented on this Blu-ray and it runs for 206 minutes.
This is a story of how the hunters become the hunted, patrolling the Atlantic on the lookout for allied shipping while attempting to evade the warships that are out to detect and destroy them.
Petersen lulls the viewer into a false sense of stillness aboard the titular vessel. It serves to illustrate the tiring, claustrophobic conditions and how the 48-strong crew coped with them. However, when the action happens, it occurs thunderously and without warning. The film is punctuated with suspenseful sequences.
The picture on this Blu-ray is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is clean and colourful with some grain, which is accentuated in certain night-time scenes. The soundtrack (in DTS-HD 5.1) has been masterfully reconstructed for the director's cut and definitely punches its weight in stormy seas or when depth charges impact. It pays not to have your amp turned up too loud because such moments can take you by surprise.
Das Boot can be played in its original German language version with subtitles or with dubbed English dialogue.Read more ›
I was somewhat disappointed by the sound and picture quality of the DVD transfers (I never saw the superbit version). My main issue was that the sound never seemed to have the ooomph I'd hoped for.
Reading all of the positive reviews about this latest Blu-ray transfer I was encouraged. They praised the picture and sound quality. For the cheaper price of the UK version, where the original theatrical cut isn't included (meaning they can use a BD25 for the second disc) I figured - why not give it a try?
Well, my concerns were allayed. This is an excellent transfer. The picture is crisp - the best I've seen of this film by far, and the soundmix (German/English 5.1 DTS-MA) is fantastic. The dialogue is clear for the most part, and the explosions and depth charges actually boom with convincing resonance. The waves also sound appropriately thunderous during the storms. Best of all are the creaks and groans of the hull, which VERY effectively makes it feel like you're actually in the U96 with the crew. I haven't come across such an immersive soundscape before in a film.
For those of you still on the fence - take it from someone who has watched all versions of this great film: you won't regret adding this release to your collection. Highly recommended both as a film (first and foremost) and as an AV experience.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"Das Boot" is German for "The Boat" - written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen this epic World War Two movie follows the dramatic events of a German submarine and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Steve Bell
Directors cut superb. The extras give a good insight to the production and concepts behind the film.Published 1 month ago by Puffertrain
Really pleased to see this on Blu-ray, slightly shorter than the TV mini series, but overall good job on the picture and sound.Published 2 months ago by M. Armstrong