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    Bob Womack's Avatar
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    Movie Review: Greyhound (2020)

    I'm rather surprised that no-one has reviewed this movie here on the Milsurps yet.



    Greyhound is an adaptation of C.S. Forrester's book, The Good Shepherd. The screenplay was written by Tom Hanks, who also plays the center character, Captain Ernest Krause, captain of Fletcher-class destroyer USS Keeling and commander of the escort compliment on a convoy making the U.S. - U.K. Atlantic run. Krause is an amazingly old destroyer captain and escort commander, having been "fitted and retained" in the pre-war Navy and passed over twice for command. Krause's Executive officer is portrayed by Stephen Graham. The bulk of the film portrays the convoy's transit of "the Pit," the central portion of the Atlantic where no air cover is available and the convoy is most susceptible to Germanicon U-Boat wolf packs. It is Krause's first crossing and we watch him execute his first anti-submarine assignment, largely non-stop.

    If you've tired of the sappy love back-stories Hollywood seems to insist upon and want to see movies that get their excitement from accurate portrayals of tactics and action, that's what you'll get here. As was the case in the real convoy war, the action is basically non-stop and builds throughout the film. A strong portion of the movie was filmed aboard museum ship USS Kidd (DD-661), the only Fletcher-class destroyer still in her WWII configuration, who receives a name check during the movie. Hanks insisted upon technical accuracy, right down to which knob did what on the sonar repeater. Watch for a proper appearance of M1903 rifles, mid-film. The only technical departure was dropped in to humanize the German opponents. External ship's actions upon the sea are portrayed by CGI and take up the remaining portion of the film's filming budget. Total budget for production and post-production reached $50 million.

    There are complaints that there is little character development but Hanks develops his characters conservatively through trial and pressure, sturm und drang, and dip into their inner store of strength and their values to survive and function. I have to say I prefer this method. The action propels this movie from start to finish and the character development results from it.

    Greyhound was set to release into theaters in March but the COVID lockdown delayed release two months running and they finally released the film onto Apple TV Plus. It will likely be released to BluRay and DVD within the next month or so. I know I will be hustling to snap up a copy. This is an excellent, gripping film, good enough that I immediately ordered C.S. Forrester's original and read it front to back. I highly recommend it.

    Bob
    "It is said, 'Go not to the elves for counsel for they will say both no and yes.' "

    Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion, The Fellowship of the Ring

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    I watched it couple weeks ago. I will say that what impressed me the most was the virtual non-stop combat action and suspense (after the short intro scenes) - not a single pause for any cheesy drama.

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    From what little I've seen of it on Youtube, where it fails is in the Germans using silly suicidal tactics which no genuine submarine commander would ever have used.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mk VII View Post
    From what little I've seen of it on Youtube, where it fails is in the Germans using silly suicidal tactics which no genuine submarine commander would ever have used.
    I don't remember them using suicidal tactics in the movie and I've seen it several times now,, but of course you are getting a highly edited, out of context, trailer version on YouTube. There were a couple of situations in the movie where the sub was damaged and rose to the surface. What I do remember was the sub commander howling over the radio and taunting the convoy screen, which the film company admitted wasn't historical but was a plot device used to humanize the enemy.


    Bob
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    Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion, The Fellowship of the Ring

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    Really Senior Member Mk VII's Avatar
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    You don't tangle with escorts, you avoid them like the plague. Your job is stop cargoes coming into port, not to sink escorts, which at best can only be a bonus.



    Of course all of the action should have been at night, but then we wouldn't have anything to look at.

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