Jeopardy! category: WAR NOVELS (9-10-2015)
$2000 Daily Double! clue: This novel by Lothar-Gunther Buchheim tells the harrowing tale of a captain & his crew aboard a WWII German sub
The gist: Another one better known for its film version. The epic, almost five-hour long (in its uncut version) 1981 German naval film Das Boot was based on Buchheim’s 1973 novel of the same name. Lieutenant Werner, a German war correspondent, has been assigned to the U-boat U-96, fighting in the Battle of the Atlantic, in late 1841. Sent off to harry British ship convoys, Werner and the tight-knit crew endure a laundry list of submarine woes: extreme boredom and claustrophobia, British depth charges and aerial attacks, and massive storms. They sink an enemy ship and watch in horror as its sailors, who unbeknownst to the Germans were still alive, jump overboard and swim towards the sub; because they had been ordered to take no prisoners, they retreat, leaving a huge toll on their psyche. On their final mission, they pass through the heavily-guarded Strait of Gibraltar on their way to Italy.
The film version, directed by Wolfgang Petersen, is very highly-regarded among critics, and is regularly included among the greatest German films, and one of the greatest war films, ever produced. Unfortunately, Buchheim didn’t see it the same way – he was very disappointed by the film, and took issue with both Petersen’s aesthetic choices and what he saw as overacting by the cast, as well as certain elements he found to be unnecessarily exaggerated for the sake of drama. Still, while he might have some special say about it, he’s definitely in the minority about the movie.
The clue: I’m very surprised no one got this one, especially with Matthew playing on this episode. Contestant Emily guessed U-571, the other thing about U-boats, which is a movie that’s not based on a novel (and is actually about fictionalized American soldiers, not so much the Germans, although the clue doesn’t explicitly say that). To me, Das Boot is the go-to thing when it comes to U-boats, but maybe that’s not as universally true as I’d like to think.
In Jeopardy!: Das Boot has itself nine regular clues and one FJ! clue in the J!Archive. “Submarine” is in three of them, and “U-boat” is is another four. Petersen has two clues and Buchheim has just this one – and they’re never the responses, only hints. In general, if it’s a German thing about WWII or about U-boats (or submarines), it’s Das Boot. U-571 has never had a clue on the show.