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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Pretty Good Old Style War Movie: Greyhound

Won't bore you with a long review, but wanted to state that I found myself pleasantly surprised by the Apple TV production of "Greyhound," based on C.S. Forester's novel The Good Shepherd. I haven't read the novel, and, therefore, don't know whether the movie remains faithful to the original source.

The film stars Tom Hanks, who wrote the screenplay, and Stephen Graham (one of my favorite actors; he can do anything.) It tells the story of a perilous Atlantic crossing by a US-UK-Canadian convoy sailing from North America to England with vital supplies in the early days of official American entry into WWII.

In these times of crippling "wokeness," I found it refreshing to watch a film that keeps the political correctness of this insane age under control, and tells a good old-style story in a straightforward old-style manner. What a shock! And from Apple!

The film leaves no doubt as to the story's heroes; it doesn't inject fake prog characters to appease today's woke demands. We see no "bad ass" women on board, no transgender sailors, none of that. The heroes are straight, God-fearing men undertaking a perilous task for their country; they are overwhelmingly white, with a brave black sailor filling a role appropriate to those times. The movie has a welcome patriotic and religious tone, portraying Hanks' character, U.S. Navy Commander Krause, skipper of the Greyhound and head of the beleaguered convoy, as a man who seeks strength from his faith. 

The battle scenes are very well done; the CGI is quite good most of the time. The U-boats are appropriately menacing. They frightened me, anyhow, but then the North Atlantic in the winter always frightens me, even without Nazi U-boats.

Quite aside from the story it tells, I found this film, along with "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,"an excellent study in the demands of leadership. Throughout the film, Krause has to make multiple life-and-death, split-second decisions, in the midst of great confusion and a flow of often contradictory and limited information. He doesn't always make the right one. Very well done.

Worth seeing: a blast of bracing salty air after all the stale, smelly garbage that gets passed off as entertainment.

See it, if you can.


  1. read the book. Waiting to see it on a platform I can support.

  2. "Greyhound...See it, if you can." - WLA

    Will do Skipper!
    Tks for your insightful review.
    As a US by G-d Navy, submariner, I always thought
    of those 'galloping greyhounds' as targets~~~
    and seeing Lefty Hanks, as a "leading man"
    wouldn't get my attention these days!

    What captured me tho, was your reference
    to "US-UK-Canadian convoy" operations,
    sailing from North America to England~~~

    My Father sailed in such missions during WWll.
    He shared harrowing details of his passages!
    Including U-boat torpedoes sinking some friends ships,
    and a close call German air attack which blew-out his ear drums!

    Another, close-call, with starvation in particular, came-up during a family dinner, Mother, for the first time ever, served Lamb to us...
    Except Dad, who ate Herring and Black Bread. We Kids dug in, the Lamb was pretty tasty, but I didn't particularly like the Mint Jelly!

    Later on, in the Den, I asked the old man, why he didn't eat some Lamb? He told me that during the War, his ship/convoy was zig-zagging all over the Atlantic, North & South, avoiding enemy attacks... Consequently they were often on the verge of starvation! One time they were re-supplied with much needed provisions, by a Canadian Korvette mid-ocean: Said the Chief, "in addition to a ton of Corn Flakes, via a rigged life-line, ship to ship, we took onboard 100s" of what he described as 'green-molded lamb carcusses'!

    Cornflakes & Lamb was on the ships menu - 3x a day - for the balance of that Atlantic crossing! He offered the additional detail that he pesonally scraped his fingernail through the mold - confirming it was indeed just that thick!
    I will also, hereby swear and attest that I Never saw the Chief eat Lamb, or Corn Flakes in my presence, although, he did have an affinity for Akavit! Skoal!
    On Watch~~~
    "Let's Roll"

  3. Replies
    1. Tks David, all 3 times!
      How did you do that,
      all at once?!

  4. On your recommendation alone I will, was afraid without would get preachy.

  5. 'The Good Sheperd' is a classic. Not long but exhausting to read, since it follows the actions of Commander Krause over two-plus sleepless days, almost minute-to-minute, trying to defend a convoy crossing the mid-Atlantic 'Air Gap.' Krause is as interesting a character, in his own way, as Horatio Hornblower. (And Hanks is twenty years too old to play him.)

    1. My wife kept commenting that Hanks looked too old; the "explanation" was that he had been called back into service due to a shortage of personnel.

    2. In the novel, Krause was twice passed over by promotion boards, on the point of being discharged from the Navy, and was only promoted to Commander and given a ship because of Pearl Harbor. It adds another layer to his self-doubts and need to prove himself.

    3. At least twenty years to old to play the 42 year old George Krause!

  6. This movie was supposed to be released in theaters but it was shelved due to the Kung Flu. I presume it's necessary to sign up for Apple TV to watch the movie - with all that entails. I'll wait for it to come out on DVD - or if that doesn't happen I'll just have to live without it. I was looking forward to it but thems the breaks.

    1. 'I'll wait for it to come out on DVD,'
      Me too Mr. Bee. Expect Hanks will be
      advocating for the release, maybe in
      Drive-In's - he's acting more like a
      Polcat every day, perhaps the COVID
      broadend his perspective?
      On Watch~~~

  7. The book 'The Good Shepherd' is available from Amazon, in Kindle format, for $0.99. I just got it. So far very interesting.

    1. Tks Unk,
      a great Price, it'l be interesting to
      compare and contrast to the Apple production.
      On Watch~~~

  8. The August 2020 issue of US Naval Institute's magazine Naval History has a four-page article about the movie titled "Voyage to the Screen" by Craig L. Symonds. Unfortunately it is behind a subscription wall on USNI's website.

    In the same issue, also behind a subscription wall, is a four-page article on how the movie was made: "Making Sure We Were Authentic, an interview with the film's director.

    1. Tks John, for reminding me about USNI mag, and the movie...
      On Watch~~~

  9. Best novel on convoy escort, IMO, is "The Cruel Sea," by Nicholas Monsarrat.

    1. Tks for the Title, David~~~
      On Watch~~~

  10. As an infant in 1940, to a small boy in 1945, I, and my brothers, my mother, my grandmother, along with 40-odd million British: were only alive through the courage, sacrifice and sheer, unadulterated bravery of those on board the cargo ships which were convoyed by the British, Canadian and latterly American Navy sloops, corvettes and destroyers who served as the only defence against the killer U-boats of Nazi Germany.

    As far as I am aware, there have been only two novels written about British Merchant Navy life in wartime years, and I wrote of one in my post The badge of honour. https://mikecunningham.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/the-badge-of-honour/

    I have been in storms, in seas so calm the surface is like a mirror, but to place yourself in all sorts of weather in the full knowledge that an enemy could be planning to sink your ship and send you to your death takes a strange fatalistic sort of courage.

  11. "Amen to that",
    I humbly stand,
    to 2nd that, Amen
    On Watch~~~

    “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters...These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep..."Psalm 107:23-30


  12. The Good Shepherd is Forester at his best!

  13. Just watched it -- pretty well done sea adventure. Convoy service had to be one of the nastiest jobs in WW2.
    Unfortunately, the Apple rubbish is just that: rubbish. Jump through a bunch of hoops to get to watch the movie via a 7day free trial. Okay. Then search the app for what else might be of interest -- nothing but a load of woke nonsense TV and film programs. Mostly at outrageous rental prices.
    Nah. Canceled it right after the movie was over.