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NOW SHOWING: Greyhound

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  • NOW SHOWING: Greyhound


    I had been waiting for this movie for a couple of years. I heard about it early because they filmed on the USS Kidd which is a floating museum in Baton Rouge, La. I have been on the ship numerous times and have even slept on board several times. Those overnites were with my History Club. It was always a great experience, other than worrying about what those teenagers might be getting into. Sleeping in a berth on a warship is something every war movie fan should have on their bucket list.


    It took longer to see the film than I anticipated. It’s release was delayed by the pandemic and the studio ended up deciding to junk the theatrical opening and go straight to streaming. It just so happened that the new Apple + TV was hoping to get attention in the crowded streaming market and it bought the film for $70 million (the movie cost $50 million). I bet Apple is praying people like me go beyond the free trial. The movie was directed by Aaron Schneider (his second feature film), but I would guess he deferred to star Tom Hanks. Hanks wrote the screenplay based on the novel The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester.


    The movie opens with some quotes from Churchill and FDR to set the stage. The U.S. Navy is helping escort troop and supply ships across the Atlantic. The convoys are most vulnerable when they are transiting the “Black Pit” which refers to the area in the North Atlantic where there is no air cover. The USS Greyhound leads a group of four destroyers that are escorting a 37-ship convoy to Liverpool. Commander Krausse (Hanks) is new to the ship and this will be his first escort mission. The movie jumps straight into the “Black Pit” and it does not take long for things to heat up. For the next two days, it will be a cat and mouse game with a wolfpack of German u-boats. Greyhound is in the thick of the fight and by the time it reaches air cover again it will run the gamut of experiences a destroyer might have in the Battle of the Atlantic.


    There is a thriving subgenre of submarine movies, but few movies from above the surface. “Greyhound” differs from the similar “The Enemy Below” because it focuses just on the destroyer. In fact, other than a flashback to Krause proposing to his girlfriend (Elisabeth Shue) which seemed to be thrown in to get a female on the poster, the movie takes place only on the Greyhound. Clocking in at a tidy 91 minutes, the movie eschews character development in favor of almost nonstop action. Even Krausse is a cipher, although we learn he is religious and a cool customer. It may be his first escort mission, but he knows his craft. The movie does not have time for the usual clichés. The crew does not side eye their new captain. He does not have to earn their respect. There is a brief head-scratching moment, but it quickly turns out that Krausse is a u-boat killer. There is no dysfunction as Krausse’s exec Lt. Commander Cole (the reliable Stephen Graham) is loyal and competent. In fact, the whole crew performs well. Hanks’ screenplay makes a point of sub-plotting an African-American messmate, but there is little time to develop anyone. Hanks and the Greyhound dominate.


    In lieu of character development, the movie concentrates on action. It helps if you are knowledgeable about WWII submarine warfare and nautical terminology. The dialogue is heavy on jargon and is not dumbed down for a mass audience. Kudos to screenwriter Hanks for doing his research. I had to do a lot of translating for my wife (ex. starboard is right and port is left). Hanks throws in some cryptic quotes, but the most creative dialogue comes from a u-boat captain that taunts Krausse. It’s a bit cheesy and unrealistic, but fun and reminiscent of an earlier style of war movie and adds that “USA! USA!” emotion. The action is a buffet as we see a variety of combat, but if you know anything about the ferocity of wolfpack attacks, the movie does not steer into outrageous. It all could have happened, just not to one destroyer on one mission. Hey, it’s a movie.

    The CGI is not a problem. I was not distracted by it. It helps that a real Fletcher-class destroyer was used for the interiors and exteriors. Actually, the CGI was mainly used to create the horrific North Atlantic climate conditions the convoys had to battle. This was no pleasure cruise, u-boats or not. Besides giving the recliner-sailing audience a feel for the conditions, the movie is an excellent tutorial on anti-submarine tactics.[FONT="calibri" , sans-serif]
    And a nice homage to the men who risked their lives escorting convoys. I hope some of the veterans of WWII tin cans get to see it in the museum theater at the USS Kidd memorial. By the way, the Royal Navy gets its due and there should be no complaining like with “U-571”.[/FONT]



    The year 2020 really sucks, but it has actually been a pretty good year for war movies. Just in the last week I have seen “The Outpost” and this movie. And I didn’t have to go to a theater. Same could be said for the excellent “Danger Close” and the better-than-expected “Da 5 Bloods”. “Greyhound” is only the third best of that quartet, but it is still a must-see for war movie fans. This movie has no frills. It probably should have been longer to allow for fleshing out of the characters, but it is refreshing to see a movie that concentrates on the warfare aspect of a war movie without going the combat porn route. Get that free trial. Plus Apple TV + has some other good war movies you can watch in a week.[


    GRADE A


  • #2
    Thanks for good review.
    This movie and subject of the USS Kidd and convoys are among articles in current issue of Naval History.
    Some can be accessed at the USNI website, but most require you be a member/subscriber.
    https://www.usni.org/

    TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
    “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means” - von Clausewitz
    Present Current Events are the Future's History

    Comment


    • #3
      Another image from the USNI website/article;



      https://www.usni.org/magazines/naval...r-battle-stars
      TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
      “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means” - von Clausewitz
      Present Current Events are the Future's History

      Comment


      • #4
        The one thing I appreciated about the movie was their inclusion of all of the combatants. While the escort commander was an American destroyer, the rest of the escort included two British destroyers and a Canadian corvette.

        In fact, the "HMCS Dicky" in the movie was a 3d scan of HMCS Sackville, a restored WW2 corvette moored in Halifax harbor.





        I've been on Sackville and those corvettes are really ridiculously small. The engine "room" was smaller than my master bathroom.

        I wasn't too keen on the scenes with the U-boats shooting it out on the surface, or with the submarine "taunting" the Greyhound, but otherwise it was a decent movie.

        Comment


        • #5
          Its good to hear they included Commonwealth ships in the film. There was a lot of internet angst that it would be an all American affair excluding the contributions of the UK and Commonwealth Navies..

          Comment


          • #6
            Nice to see the some love being shown to this class of Destroyers. My Grandmother's brother served on one in the Guadalcanal Campaign. He was in the Engine Room when the Japanese Torpedo struck. It was the USS Strong.

            Pruitt
            Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

            Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

            by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by G David Bock View Post
              Thanks for good review.
              This movie and subject of the USS Kidd and convoys are among articles in current issue of Naval History.
              Some can be accessed at the USNI website, but most require you be a member/subscriber.
              https://www.usni.org/

              Was a Mahon class destroyer in the book, though they like the Fletcher class seem not to have served much if at all as convoy escorts.
              "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Surrey View Post

                Was a Mahon class destroyer in the book, though they like the Fletcher class seem not to have served much if at all as convoy escorts.
                I think they made it a Fletcher class in the movie because the Kidd was Fletcher class. They were much more likely to catch grief over calling it a Mahan class when visually it was not than from book fans objecting.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Surrey View Post

                  Was a Mahon class destroyer in the book, though they like the Fletcher class seem not to have served much if at all as convoy escorts.
                  Especially in the Atlantic where older ships of destroyer class used, initially, than shifted to destroyer escorts and corvettes sorts as those were built and became available. Bit more so in the Pacific, but then the Japanese submarines focused more on finding and attacking warships than cargo ships/convoys.

                  Fairly common to see Hollywood change ship and aircraft types from book to movie.
                  TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
                  “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means” - von Clausewitz
                  Present Current Events are the Future's History

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Maybe there are no Mahon's left?

                    Pruitt
                    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                      Maybe there are no Mahon's left?

                      Pruitt
                      175 Fletcher's were built 4 are still afloat as displays. 18 Mahan's were built and 6 were lost in the war. I don't think any remain.

                      "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                      Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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                      • #12
                        I have been looking forward to seeing Greyhound. Glad to hear good things about it.
                        "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                        Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Part of a genre' that goes back to the movie, also based on a book, "The Enemy Below";
                          ....
                          The Enemy Below is a 1957 DeLuxe Color war film in CinemaScope, which tells the story of the battle between an American destroyer escort and a German U-boat during World War II. The movie stars Robert Mitchum and Curt Jürgens as the American and German commanding officers, respectively, and was directed and produced by Dick Powell. The film was based on a novel by Denys Rayner, a British naval officer involved in anti-submarine warfare throughout the Battle of the Atlantic.
                          ....
                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Enemy_Below (movie)

                          The Enemy Below is a story of a battle at sea, written by Denys Rayner. It is fiction, but based on the author’s experiences during the Battle of the Atlantic. It was published in 1956.

                          It was filmed in 1957 with Robert Mitchum and Curd Jürgens, but the film made major changes to characters and action, including making the destroyer an American ship.
                          ....
                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Enemy_Below_(novel)
                          .............................

                          Followed about a decade later with a similar story/plot, but with a Cold War twist, especially the ending;

                          The Bedford Incident (aka Aux Postes De Combat) is a 1965 British-American Cold War film starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier and co-produced by Widmark. The cast also features Eric Portman, James MacArthur, Martin Balsam and Wally Cox, as well as early appearances by Donald Sutherland and Ed Bishop. The screenplay by James Poe is based on the 1963 book by Mark Rascovich, which borrowed from the plot of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick; at one point in the film, the captain is advised he is "not chasing whales now".[1][2][3][4][5] The film was directed by James B. Harris, who, until then, had been best known as Stanley Kubrick's producer.
                          .....
                          Actual Cold War incident

                          In October 1962, shortly before the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet submarine B-59 was pursued in the Atlantic Ocean by the U.S. Navy. When the Soviet vessel failed to surface, the destroyers began dropping training depth charges. Unlike in The Bedford Incident, the Americans were not aware that the B-59 was armed with a T-5 nuclear torpedo. The Soviet captain, believing that World War III might have started, wanted to launch the weapon but was over-ruled by his flotilla commander, Vasili Arkhipov, who, by coincidence, was using the boat as his command vessel. After an argument, it was agreed that the submarine would surface and await orders from Moscow. It was not until after the fall of the Soviet Union that the weapon's existence and how close the world came to nuclear conflict was made known.
                          .....
                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bedford_Incident
                          Last edited by G David Bock; 09 Aug 20, 19:37.
                          TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
                          “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means” - von Clausewitz
                          Present Current Events are the Future's History

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by warmoviebuff View Post

                            I think they made it a Fletcher class in the movie because the Kidd was Fletcher class. They were much more likely to catch grief over calling it a Mahan class when visually it was not than from book fans objecting.
                            FWIW, the Mahan class was several years earlier than the Fletcher's, and significantly different in design and armament;
                            ....
                            The Mahan-class destroyers of the United States Navy were a series of 18 destroyers of which the first 16 were laid down in 1934. The last two of the 18, Dunlap and Fanning (this pair laid down in 1935), are sometimes considered a separate ship class. All 18 were commissioned in 1936 and 1937. Mahan was the lead ship, named for Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, an influential historian and theorist on sea power.

                            The Mahans featured improvements over previous destroyers, with 12 torpedo tubes, superimposed gun shelters, and generators for emergency use. The Standard displacement increased from 1,365 tons to 1,500 tons. The class introduced a new steam propulsion system that combined increases in pressure and temperature with a new type of lightweight steam turbine, which proved simpler and more efficient than the Mahans' predecessors—so much so that it was used on many subsequent wartime US destroyers.

                            All 18 ships saw action in World War II, entirely in the Pacific Theater, which included the Guadalcanal Campaign, and the battles of the Santa Cruz Islands, Leyte Gulf, and Iwo Jima. Their participation in major and secondary campaigns included the bombardment of beachheads, amphibious landings, task force screening, convoy and patrol duty, and anti-aircraft and submarine warfare. Six ships were lost in combat and two were expended in the postwar Operation Crossroads nuclear tests. The remainder were decommissioned, sold, or scrapped after the war; none remain today. Collectively, the ships received 111 battle stars for their World War II service.
                            ....

                            USS Mahan circa 1938
                            Name: Mahan class
                            Builders:
                            Operators: United States Navy
                            Preceded by: Porter class
                            Succeeded by: Gridley class
                            Subclasses: Dunlap (DD-384 and DD-385)
                            Built: 1934–37
                            In commission: 1936–46
                            Completed: 18
                            Lost: 6
                            Retired: 12
                            Type: Destroyer
                            Displacement:
                            • 1,500 long tons (1,524 t) (standard)
                            • 1,725 long tons (1,753 t) (deep load)
                            • 2,103 long tons (2,137 t) (full load)
                            Length: 341' 3" ft (104.0 m)
                            Beam: 35' 6" ft (10.8 m)
                            Draft: 10 feet 7 inches (3.2 m)
                            Installed power:
                            Propulsion: 2 General Electric steam turbines
                            Speed: 37 knots (69 km/h)
                            Range: 6,940 nmi (12,850 km; 7,990 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
                            Complement: 158 (peacetime) 250 (wartime) officers and enlisted men
                            Armament:
                            • As built:
                            • 5 × 5 inch/38 caliber (127 mm) guns in five Mark 21 DP pedestal mounts. Mounts 51 and 52 were partially enclosed, and mounts 53, 54, and 55 were open.
                            • 12 × 21 inch torpedo tubes (533 mm) (3 × 4). One tube mount was on the centerline between the stacks, and the other two were port and starboard just behind the aft stack.
                            • 4 × .50 caliber machine guns (12.7 mm). Two on a platform just forward and below the bridge, and two on a deck house just forward of 5" mount No. 54.
                            • 2 × Depth charge roll-off stern racks.
                            The Mahan-class destroyers of the United States Navy were a series of 18 destroyers of which the first 16
                            ......
                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahan-class_destroyer
                            TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
                            “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means” - von Clausewitz
                            Present Current Events are the Future's History

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              EXCERPT/QUOTE:
                              ....
                              The Good Shepherd (1955) is a nautical and war novel by C. S. Forester. It illustrates the difficulties of the Atlantic war: the struggle against the sea, the enemy, and the exhaustion brought on by constant vigilance. It also details the problems of the early radar and ASDIC equipment available and the poor communications between the fleet and Admiralty using HF Radio & early manual cryptography.
                              .......
                              Plot summary


                              The hero of The Good Shepherd is Commander Krause, the captain of the fictional US Navy Mahan-class destroyer USS Keeling in World War II. Krause is in overall command of an escort force protecting an Atlantic convoy in the Battle of the Atlantic, shepherding it through the Mid-Atlantic gap where no antisubmarine aircraft are able to defend convoys. He finds himself in a difficult position. The voyage in question occurs early in 1942, shortly after the United States's entry into the war. Although he is a career Navy officer, with many years of seniority, this is Krause's first wartime mission. The captains of the other vessels in the escort group are junior to him in rank, and much younger, but they have been at war for over two years.

                              The story covers 13 watches (52 hours) aboard the ship's bridge and is told in third person entirely from Krause's point of view as he fights to save his ship, detailing his mood swings from his intense and focused excitement and awareness during combat to his resulting fatigue, depression, and self-doubt as his self-perceived inferiority and inexperience to the other captains under his command troubles him (although as the story progresses he is shown to be quite capable). He broods over his career; his wife left him partly because of his strict devotion to duty. He is troubled when the press of duty forces him to neglect his prayers (unlike most of Forester's other heroes, Krause is devout). He is troubled by recollections that the Navy review board had twice passed him over for promotion, returning a judgement of fitted and retained due to little or no opportunity in the prewar Navy. His promotion to Commander only came when the United States entered the war, leading him to fear that he may be unsuited to his command.

                              The book also focuses on the intense combat between the Keeling and multiple U-boats, with the Keeling eventually racking up multiple kills, and on the ship's daring rescue missions as the convoy increasingly falls prey to the U-boats, all in a race against time to escape the undefended stretches of the Atlantic. The book is a rich, detailed accounting of Naval warfare, ship handling, and the inner logic of an experienced officer wrestling with the many minute judgments necessary to maintain rigid discipline during conditions of relentless tedium punctuated with extreme danger.
                              ......
                              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Good_Shepherd_(novel)

                              ..............
                              Cecil Louis Troughton Smith (27 August 1899 – 2 April 1966), known by his pen name Cecil Scott "C. S." Forester, was an English novelist known for writing tales of naval warfare, such as the 12-book Horatio Hornblower series depicting a Royal Navy officer during the Napoleonic wars. The Hornblower novels A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours were jointly awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction in 1938. His other works include The African Queen (1935; turned into a 1951 film by John Huston) and The Good Shepherd (1955; turned into a 2020 film, Greyhound, starring Tom Hanks).
                              .....
                              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._S._Forester
                              TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
                              “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means” - von Clausewitz
                              Present Current Events are the Future's History

                              Comment

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