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  • Special Presentation: Das Boot (1981)

    In this special presentation its not so much talking film design but rather walking it. On a recent visit to the Bavaria Film Studios in Munich I had the pleasure of visiting production designer Rolf Zehetbauer and art director  Götz Weidner's unbelievably realistic sets for Das Boot (1981).

    Originally they were mounted on an elevated gimble which allowed the whole set to be moved and tilted according to the events in the script, this coupled with the fact that the sets were built 1:1 scale and fully enclosed gave the film a sense of realism that has been hard to match since. Famously director Wolfgang Petersen has the cast pretty much live in the set which gave their performances a sense of weariness and claustrophobia that elevated the build.

    Either way, in the film business its very rare for production design to exist beyond the shoot but happily this iconic stage is still around, plus the models and full size conning tower used for external shots. Fun film fact is that allegedly the scale model is the same one used to shoot Indy's escape in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).