From “Call of the Wild” to “Wolfblood”: Jack London is one of the most famous writers that the adventure subject has ever had. Some of his novels have already been filmed several times, including the seafaring novel “Der Seewolf”. One of these film adaptations set out to do justice to the template in all its monumental breadth: the 1971 TV four-part series of the same name over six hours of raw drama, spectacular visuals and adventurous action. This adaptation was recently released uncut and in HD as a limited media book with three different covers.
» “The Sea Wolf” at Amazon: Mediabook A* / Mediabook B* / Mediabook C*
All three media books are identical in terms of content and include the complete “Der Seewolf” four-part series on two Blu-rays and two DVDs. The media books also contain a detailed and informative booklet about the production history. Each of the three variants is limited to 333 copies each. If you don’t value the stylish presentation, you can also fall back on the standard edition:
» “The Sea Wolf” standard Blu-ray at Amazon*
Incidentally, the six-hour Jack London film adaptation was released in cinemas in a heavily cut form a year after its TV premiere. The theatrical version, which was only 96 minutes long, fell through with both the critics and the paying audience. So it’s no wonder that she was denied the jump to the Blu-ray.
1906: Writer Humphrey van Weyden (Edward Meeks) is shipwrecked. Wolf Larsen (Raimund Harmstorf), the captain of the schooner Ghost, picked up the writer and thus saved his life. But that’s just generally sea wolf Otherwise, the roughneck mentioned has far more harsh than helpful sides: he rules over his crew with a strict, almost inhuman hand, and also forces van Weyden to plow under his command. The writer makes a good face to the bad game – and secretly plans his escape…
The directors Wolfgang Staudte and Sergiu Nicolaescu spared no effort for the monumental four-part TV series: The German-Romanian-French joint production took up a whopping four months of shooting time. It was mainly shot in Romania, but some passages from the third part were shot in Sweden. An immense production effort, but this did not mean that the four-parter was treated with the respect it deserves on television: last year, ZDFneo celebrated the 50th anniversary of the XXL novel adaptation, but with the broadcast of another alternative cut version.
The reduced “Der Seewolf” doesn’t focus as much on its action scenes as the cinema cut from 1972, but numerous passages that are character-driven or that reinforce the rough seafaring atmosphere fell victim to the scissors. In addition, all flashbacks to van Weyden’s youth were thrown out, as well as a short detour into the survival genre, which takes the main characters to an inhospitable island. This cut lasted 120 minutes, so it only offers a third of what can now be seen in home cinema.
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