SKU 415

U-47 - KAPITÄNLEUTNANT PRIEN (COMMANDER PRIEN) (1958) * with switchable English subtitles *

Dieter Eppler, Sabine Sesselmann and Joachim Fuchsberger, Harald Reinl

Germany, 1939:  After U-Boat Captain Prien is decorated with the Knight's Cross for his excellent service, an old friend, Pastor Kille --- hoping to use Prien's position as a war hero to his advantage --- asks the warrior to intercede with the country's rulers on behalf of the persecuted. Prien declines to intervene, but over time, he gradually has a change of heart. When he later visits the pastor in prison, it becomes clear to him, that he can no longer support the military machinations of the Nazis.

Like so many of these mea culpa films of the 50s and 60s out of West Germany, the film is a historical whitewash. Yes, Prien was a war hero. Yes, he had a great victory at Scapa Flow. But Prien was never a member of Germany's tiny resistance movement and he never had a change of opinion regarding the country's rulers. He was, in fact, a member of the Nazi Party and there's no anecdotal information to suggest he gave more than a moment's notice to the country's oppressed or did anything about it.  That, of course, would never suit the new, historical revisionism coming out of West Germany's version of Hollywood; and so, not even 20 years after war's end, Prien was lauded on the screen as a closet anti-Nazi and a noble spirit, the likes of which would've made Pastor Niemöller blush with humility to be around.  If you can ignore all that, you might enjoy the film.

Deutschland, 1939: Nachdem der U-Boot-Kapitän Prien für seine Verdienste auf See mit dem Ritterkreuz ausgezeichnet wurde, bittet ihn sein alter Freund, der Pfarrer Kille, darum, seine Stellung als Volksheld zu nutzen, um sich bei den Nazi-Machthabern für politisch Verfolgte einzusetzen. Zwar lehnt Prien das Ansinnen strikt ab, doch allmählich vollzieht sich in ihm ein Sinneswandel. Und als er einige Zeit später seinen mittlerweile inhaftierten Freund Kille im Gefängnis besucht, wird ihm endgültig klar, dass er die kriegerischen Machenschaften der Nazis nicht weiter unterstützen kann.

DVD-R is in German with switchable English subtitles.  Approx. 87 mins. See film sample for quality!

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