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The Sinking of the Laconia

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2
Episode 2
2011-01-07
The U-156's deck is crowded with survivors from the Laconia but confusion reigns though after the U-156 is spotted by an American bomber which moves in to attack.

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1
Episode 1
2011-01-06
After the crew ship the Laconia is torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine U-156, it's captain Werner Hartenstein decides to save as many of the passengers and crew as possible.

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The Sinking of the Laconia is a gripping two-part war drama produced by the BBC TWO in 2010. The show narrates the extraordinary events that happened in World War II when the British ocean liner RMS Laconia, laden with civilians, soldiers, and Italian Prisoners of War (POWs), was torpedoed by a German U-boat in the South Atlantic Ocean. This intense drama recounts an unforgettable true story of survival, friendship, gallantry, and unlikely alliances. The series consists of a stellar cast. The talented British actor Andrew Buchan takes the helm as Captain Sharp of the Laconia, leading his crew and passengers through the unfolding crisis. Veteran Scottish actor Brian Cox stars as Thomas Mortimer, a wise and level-headed engineer on the ship. Similarly, Ken Duken plays Lieutenant Hartenstein, the compassionate commander of the German U-boat who makes the fateful decision to torpedo the Laconia. Lindsay Duncan stars as Elizabeth Fullwood, an upper-class English woman, who captures the essence of her character’s grace under duress. Matthias Koeberlin, Thomas Kretschmann, and Frederick Lau add depth to the story's German perspective as U-Boat crew members facing the weighty consequences of the war. Morven Christie's portrayal of Hilda Smith, a young nanny aboard the Laconia, adds a sentimental touch. Franka Potente, as Hilda’s German-Jewish charge, brings an emotionally riveting performance. Ludovico Fremont acts as an Italian POW, whose fate tightly intertwines with the others involved in this tragic event. The Sinking of the Laconia is set in September 1942 when the RMS Laconia, making its way from Egypt to Britain, was struck by a torpedo fired from a German U-Boat under the orders of the compassionate Lieutenant Hartenstein. Upon realizing that he had sunk a ship full of civilians and POWs, Hartenstein launched a subsequent rescue operation in direct contradiction of the Nazi's Laconia Order, defying his superiors and risking his own life and that of his crew. His courageous act led to one of the most extraordinary maritime incidents of World War II. The series takes viewers into an intense, intricate world where the lines between friend and foe become blurred. It allows audiences to witness the human side of war from varied perspectives that reflect the tension, uncertainty, and desperation, while also highlighting acts of courage, compassion, and camarity amid inhumane circumstances. The robust performances by the star-studded cast bring the audience right into the heart of the action. Andrew Buchan convincingly portrays the steadfast Captain Sharp faced with the escalating crisis, and Brian Cox's representation of Mortimer presents a seasoned sailor who displays admirable calm and resilience. On the other side, Ken Duken delivers a memorable performance as Hartenstein, exploring the experiences and dilemmas of a German U-boat captain forced to make decisions under challenging conditions. Moreover, the other prominent characters, from the upper-crust Elizabeth Fullwood to the young nanny Hilda Smith to the innocent charge of Hilda, each lend a unique color to the script, presenting a full spectrum of emotions and experiences. The rare glimpse into the mindset and experiences of the Italian POWs adds an extra layer of depth and nuance to the narrative. The cinematography is brilliantly executed, capturing the horrifying spectacle of the sinking ship and the perilous life at sea in the aftermath. The screenplay masterfully juxtaposes the tumultuous events at sea with the political maneuvering back on solid ground, bringing an additional level of tension and intrigue. The direction brilliantly encapsulates the different threads of the story, firmly centering the narrative around human stories set against the backdrop of war. Overall, The Sinking of the Laconia is a powerful and moving drama that portrays the inherent humanity that can shine through even in the midst of war. Audiences will be engrossed by this stunning tale of survival and bravery that highlights an often overlooked chapter of World War II history. The series is a profound exploration of unfamiliar alliances, remarkable courage, and the enduring human spirit in the darkest of times. It’s a must-watch for history buffs and lovers of war dramas alike.

The Sinking of the Laconia is a series categorized as a canceled/ended. Spanning 1 seasons with a total of 2 episodes, the show debuted on 2011. The series has earned a moderate reviews from both critics and viewers. The IMDb score stands at 7.0.

Channel
BBC TWO
Rating
7.0/10
Cast
Franka Potente, Ken Duken, Andrew Buchan, Claudia Winkleman
The Sinking of the Laconia is available on .