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Greyhound: Watch out for U-boats

Riley Riley

What’s your favourite Tom Hanks movie?

There’s so many it’s hard to chose, isn’t it? In a career spanning more than 40 years, there haven’t been many duds.

Hanks is the winner of two consecutive Academy awards for best actor — Philadelphia in 1993 and Forrest Gump in 1994.

These days he seems to have a thing for biopics, movies about particular characters, either real or fictional such as Captain Phillips (2013), Sully (2016) and this one, Greyhound, quietly released in 2020.

In fact, Hanks not only stars in Greyhound, he also wrote the screenplay which is based on a 1955 C.S Forester novel called “The Good Shepherd”.

Forester, who died in 1966, was famous for his naval war stories, including the Horatio Hornblower 12-book series.

Directed by Aaron Schneider, Greyhound tells the story of Commander Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks), captain of the USS destroyer Keeling, whose radio call sign is “Greyhound”.

It’s one of four warships assigned to protect a fleet of 37 Allied ships on its way to Liverpool during the battle of the Atlantic in World War II.

Once they leave port and the protection of fighter aircraft, the escorts are the last line of defence between the convoy and marauding German U-boats whose goal is to sink them.

In case you didn’t know, the term U-boat comes from the German word ‘Unterseeboot’ for undersea boat.

While Krause is an experienced sailor and overall commander of the escort ships, it is revealed that this is his first wartime command.

What follows is an intense game of cat and mouse as a pack of six U-boats attempts to slip past Krause and his escorts to blow the ships out of the water.

Greyound manages to sink one of the U-boats, but celebrations are cut short when a “wolf pack” of six submarines is spotted trailing the fleet, waiting  to pounce after nightfall.

What follows is about as exciting as it gets in the submarine genre as the escorts repeatedly engage with the U-boats, one at a time and sometimes two on one.

With their supply of depth charges running low, however, Krause is forced to use all of his skills to evade the torpedoes of the U-boats which he finds coming at them from two directions at once.

Interestingly, they had planned to make a movie of the “The Good Shepherd” back in the 1950s with Humphrey Bogart as Krause before his death from cancer.

The classic The African Queen was also based on a C.S. Forester book.

Greyhound is pretty much a one-man show with Hanks as Krause and support from a cast that includes Stephen Graham as his second-in-command Charlie Cole, with Elisabeth Shue as Evelyn the woman waiting for Krause at home.

This is the second collaboration between Stephen Graham and Tom Hanks. Graham worked on Band of Brothers (2001), which Hanks produced.

Director Aaron Schneider’s previous credits include the long running TV series Supernatural (2005).

Greyhound was originally planned for theatrical release, but due to COVID it wound up making its debut as an APPLE TV+ Original Movie.

Filming locations include the USS Kidd in Baton Rouge, LA and HMCS Montréal of the Royal Canadian Navy.

Some of the filming of this movie was done aboard Montreal in the North Atlantic in January, 2018 with a film crew of nine and 10 cameras.

This is the third movie in which Tom Hanks has written a screenplay. The previous two were: That Thing You Do! (1996) and Larry Crowne (2011).

You can catch Greyhound on Apple TV+



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Final thoughts . . .

Who can get enough of U-boats?


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