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Das Boot DVD

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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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