The 1981 war movie by this name once made quite the splash, with its gritty tale of forty men in a can sharing one toilet. Das Boot has recently enjoyed a reboot. A new TV series shares the movie’s name and the original book author too. This German-British project revels in the cramped claustrophobia of its predecessor, but also goes far beyond it too. In addition to the the standard undersea storyline of U-boats versus destroyers and depth-bombs versus torpedoes, there is also an on land one too. One for the men and one for the women. Here the story centers on a brother and a sister, both from Alsace, not truly French or trusted German.
I’ve already watched the first season on Hulu. A second season has already been produced and is now showing in the UK. It will eventually find its way here. I have always had a fascination with all things WW II. Combine that with an attraction for submarines. At Disneyland, my favorite ride was the Submarine Voyage, a real E-ticket ride. My dad once took me on a tour of a vintage US sub in San Francisco. My most vivid memory was of walking the gang plank from the quay to the sub. The plank was narrow and its rope railing was no comfort. I was terrified, but I made it onboard. This sub featured the twin comfort of two toilets. Heads up! Above, pictured in Chicago is the captured U-505.
Anyway, the plotting of this Das Boot reboot gets preposterous, but one can only tolerate so many depth charges, before you have to come up for air. The show’s initial sequence features the watery demise of one unfortunate U-boat. In truth, it was a fate that most U-boats received. The mortality rate within this service was astronomical. The Germans billed their submarine fleet as the wolves of the sea, but they were less like wolves than crocodiles. Lurking below, ready to catch the unwary straggler, but once revealed they became easy prey, like sitting ducks.
There is another season of this show out there and it will likely make it here by next year. I’ll watch it when it arrives. I just hope that its writing is a little more believable than the last. Otherwise, it will be another exercise of Dive! Dive! Dive! to the bottom. Oh wait, they already did that in the first season, when the second sub was spared the fate of the first by a strategically placed undersea mount. Flush the ballast tanks, but not the toilet, please. It’s backed up.