Tag: nazi


In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I was gripped by every single altercation, every little character moment, every instance of nail biting tension as the boat sinks deeper, or the enemy destroyers get closer.”

Boot 1.jpg
The main reason I started this blog was to make me watch more movies, and to vary the kinds of movies I watched. The first part of that has been well and truly accomplished with me watching hundreds of movies for the first time, instead of falling back on old favourites over and over again.   But l’m not sure if I’ve varied my selections enough. I still watch mainly American movies, with directors, writers and actors that make them a pretty safe bet. So this year, I’m forcing myself to seek out more international movies. With Foreign Language Weekends, every weekend(ish) during 2016, I’ll review two(ish) non-English language movies.

“Hail and victory and sink ’em all!”

At this stage, I must have seen World War II depicted in close to a hundred different movies and TV shows.  And until now, all but one had been clearly told from the allied perspective.  And they almost always come down to the Americana and British as the goodies and the Germans and Japanese as the baddies.  Even with Downfall, the ‘all but one’ referred to earlier, all about Germans, told from a German perspective, you still get the comfortable familiarity of Hitler being the ultimate evil.  But now I have a whole new view of World War II from a German angle with Das Boot.

Lt. Werner (Herbert Grönemeyer) boards U-96, a German submarine, as a war correspondent.  Early on, he acts as the audience surrogate.  As the outsider, he can react to the extreme conditions these sailors seem to have somehow grown accustomed to.  None more so than the U-boat’s captain, played by Jürgen Prochnow. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #8. Schindler’s List (1993)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
Schindler 1
“I know you have received orders from our commandant, which he has received from his superiors, to dispose of the population of this camp. Now would be the time to do it.”

Whenever I see list of greatest movies of all time, or greatest albums, or greatest anything, I’m always suspect of the quality of that list if I see too many recent releases on there. When it comes to making the list of the greatest whatever, I think things shouldn’t even be eligible until their 20 years old. 10 at the very least. Not because I think older things are better by definition, but because I think we need a little time for these things to settle, to gain enough context and perspective to see how this latest thing really fits in with everything that came before it.

When The Dark Knight came out in 2008, it skyrocketed to number one on the IMDB top 250. It has since slipped to number four and I assume it will slowly but surely slide down to where it belongs over time. When I looked at the AFI Top 100 that I’ve been using for this countdown throughout 2015, with only one of its top 10 made in the last quarter of a century, it immediately had a little more credibility with me. And when the single movie made in the last 25 years is something as phenomenal as Schindler’s List, that credibility is pretty hard to question. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Decision Before Dawn (1951)

“We just closed our eyes and went along, until we found ourselves forced to fight the wrong enemy.”

I expect a certain tone and outlook from WWII movies based on their vintage.  Anything made in the 40s or 50s is going to be extremely one sided, patriotic and jingoistic.  In the 70s, I’ll expect something a little more cynical.  The 90s or later, it’s probably gonna have some post-modern, meta spin on it.  So when I watched Decision Before Dawn, a WWII move made just five years after the war, I was in no way ready for what I got.

It’s the last days of the war, and while an allied victory seems pretty much assured, the Germans still have a little fight in them and won’t surrender.  Trying something new, the allies begin training German POWs as spies, and sending them back across enemy lines to work against the Third Reich from the inside.  Those spies include Tiger (Hans Christian Blech), a cynical old bloke who’s happy to fight for whichever side he thinks is most likely to win.  And Happy (Oskar Werner), a young idealist, who genuinely believes in the allied cause and wants to do his part. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Escape From Sobibor (1987)

“I just can’t believe it. We’re actually killing SS men. I mean, that’s a hard thing to believe. Killing them. It’s beautiful. I just can’t believe it!’”

I grew up with pretty lenient parents when it came to watching movies.  The youngest of three, my pre-teen 80s memories are more populated by boob-tatsic stuff like Police Academy and Revenge of the Nerds than Disney classics.   I think I’ve grown up to be a pretty well adjusted dude, and I think the fact that I saw Goodfellas and Reservoir Dogs when I was 12 or 13 just made me ahead of the curve when it came to appreciating awesome cinema.  It also meant I saw some pretty confronting stuff that I really think was necessary, if for no other reason than to get an appreciation for history.

Escape From Sobibor was made in 1987.  I know I saw it after someone in my family taped it off the telly.  I also know I saw it crazy young, considering it’s a movie about the holocaust.  So I’m gonna assume I saw it when it was a first release TV airing, probably before 1990, which means I was maybe 10 years old, tops.  My memory is also that it was some sort of watershed movie in our house, and that I saw it more than once.  Now, I know it’s minimum two decades since I have seen Escape From Sobibor, and it it’s some hardcore shit for a bloke in his mid 30s.  Buggers me how my 10ish year old mind ever got around it all those years ago. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***SODERBERGH WEEK*** The Good German (2006)

Steven Soderbergh was never predictable in the stories he chose to tell. He’s also a weird combination of classic Hollywood appreciator, lover and early adopter of all things technology. He was one of the first A-list directors to really embrace filming with digital cameras, yet he has no problem going the in the exact opposite direction in making something like The Good German. Not just an old Hollywood story, but filmed using old Hollywood technology and techniques.

It’s 1945, the war in the Pacific is still going strong, but the Germans are out for the count. The Americans and Russians descend on Germany to divide the spoils of war, and while the officials go about their diplomacy, the men on the ground are quietly looting the country for everything it has to offer. Men on the ground like Toby McGuire’s Tully. Working in the army motor pool, Tully is a big customer of and supplier to the black market. As every German is accused of being a Nazi and waits for seemingly inevitable persecution, Tully tries to secure papers to help is kraut whore girlfriend, Lena (Cate Blanchett), get the hell out of there.

It just so happens that during the war, Lena was the kraut whore girlfriend of George Clooney’s Jake, back in Berlin and stuck with Tully as his driver. Early on, Jake talks about moving on from the war with the Germans that only finished a few months earlier, and preparing for war with the Russians. When Tully shows up murdered in the Russian section of town, the cover ups, twists and double dealings start to pile up.

In true noir tradition, each solving of a crime simply leads to uncovering an even bigger one, and every character is a viable suspect. The twists and turns mount up until it’s almost impossible to keep track of everyone’s allegiances, alibies and motives. But it’s the kind of convolution that works to make The Good German better and richer as each new layer of complications is added.

The Good German opens with stock footage from Germany at the time and plenty is used throughout, but Soderbergh didn’t stop there in going for his authentic, period look. He strictly only used technology from the 40s in filming the movie. Things like camera lenses, lighting and sound recording gear were all from that time and it really does work to give the movie an authentic period feel.

With its wartime backdrop, black market dealings and talks of papers to travel across borders, The Good German has a real Casablanca feel and it’s obvious that’s no coincidence. The whole movie is a perfect example of what I love about Soderbergh. He seems to approach so many of his movies as an experiment in film making. A lot of his movies feel like he did it just to see if he could. And while that approach would feel indulgent or pretentious with most other directors, Soderbergh somehow pulls it off.

The Good German
Directed By – Steven Soderbergh
Written By – Paul Attanasio