The Red Tent (film)

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For the unrelated novel by Anita Diamant see The Red Tent.
The Red Tent
1969 krasnaya palatka.jpg
Soviet billboard theatrical poster of the film
Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov
Produced by Franco Cristaldi
Victor Freilich
Written by Yuri Nagibin
Richard L. Adams
Ennio De Concini
Robert Bolt (uncredited)
Starring Sean Connery
Claudia Cardinale
Peter Finch
Nikita Mikhalkov
Yuri Vizbor
Donatas Banionis
Music by Ennio Morricone (international version)
Aleksandr Zatsepin
Cinematography Leonid Kalashnikov
Edited by John Shirley
Peter Zinner
Distributed by Mosfilm
Vides Cinematografica
Empresa Hispanoamericana de Video
Paramount Home Video
Paramount Pictures
Sovexportfilm
Release dates 1969 (USSR)
23 December 1969 (Italy)
29 July 1971 (USA)
Running time 158 min (Russian version)
121 min (International version)
Country USSR / Italy
Language Russian / Italian / English
Budget $10,000,000

The Red Tent (Russian: Красная палатка, translit. Krasnaya palatka; Italian: La tenda rossa; Spanish: La tienda roja) is a joint Soviet/Italian 1969 film directed by Mikhail Kalatozov.

The film is based on the story of the mission to rescue Umberto Nobile and the other survivors of the crash of the Airship Italia. It features Sean Connery as Roald Amundsen and Peter Finch as Nobile. The script was adapted by Yuri Nagibin and Mikhail Kalatozov from Nagibin's novel of the same title. Nagibin couldn't complete the script due to a series of conflicts with the producer, who insisted on expanding the role of his mistress Claudia Cardinale,[1] and it was completed by de Concini and Bolt.[2][3][4]

Plot[edit]

The film begins in Rome many years after the expedition. Nobile has endured years of scorn for his actions during the disaster and its aftermath. He imagines his apartment turned into a court of inquiry against him, where witnesses and judges are his former crewmen – including Captain Zappi, his navigator and his meteorologist Finn Malmgren. Also arrayed against him are Valeria, Malmgren's lover, Captain Romagna, one of the expedition's would-be recuers, famed aviator Lundborg, professor Samoilovich, chief of the Soviet rescue mission, his pilot Boris Chukhnovski, and Roald Amundsen who lost his life in the search for survivors of Nobile's expedition.

As they try Nobile, the events of the expedition and its failure are depicted. The expedition is successful at first, but ends in disaster. The Italia is weighed down when ice forms on it. Colliding with the ground, the airship's gondola is torn from its "envelope", the upper frame which contains the airship's lifting cells. Freed of the weight of the gondola, the envelope floats away and out of control, taking some of Nobile's crew with it.

Nobile maintains control of the surviving crew who are now marooned on arctic drift ice. Rescue efforts are made by both Italy and the Soviet Union. Nobile's group is first found by Lundborg, who lands on the ice. The aviator insists he can only take Nobile. Reluctantly, Nobile agrees, sure he can best assist the rescue once he returns from the ice. These efforts are blocked: reaching the Italian ship Città di Milano he finds that his superiors have stripped him of command for apparently abandoning his crew, and he is to have no role in the rescue. Desperate, Nobile contacts the Krasin, a Soviet icebreaker also searching for the survivors. Nobile implores Samoilovich, the Krasin's captain for help in rescuing the survivors. Unfortunately, the Krasin has sustained damage. Also, because of the ice pack has drifted, Nobile cannot give the Krasin an accurate position for the survivors.

Amundsen joins the rescue effort as well, but disappears, becoming another victim of Nobile's expedition. In the film, Amundsen explains that he died soon after his plane finds the remains of the envelope of the Italia, and spots what appear to be survivors. The pilot, ordered to land, crashes instead and is killed. Amundsen survives the crash, but is otherwise doomed. There is nothing to build shelter or fire with, and no hope of rescue. He also finds that none of the crew left in the envelope survived, even though they looked alive when seen from above.

In the end, the Krasin finds the survivors, including Zappi and Mariano who had left the others in an attempt to reach Kings Bay for help. Malmgren, who had also joined Zappi, died before he could be rescued.

Pressed for a vote, Samoilovich defends Nobile's actions, noting that his rescue of the survivors was a direct result of Nobile's escape to King's Bay. Neither can he fault Nobile's apparent lack of heroism because a captain has no right to risk his own safety by individual acts of heroism. The others quickly reach a verdict of guilty, but Amundsen discounts the verdict, finding each of the accusers unfit to judge for various reasons, including indifference to others, emotional sterility or bitterness. The accusers file out of Nobile's apartment, Amundsen being the last. With Amundsen, Nobile reveals his feelings of guilt for leaving the men on the ice, remembering that his first thoughts on entering Lundborg's plane were not of rescue, but of a good hot bath. Amundsen helps Nobile find peace by reminding him that his frailty is only a sign of humanity and not guilt.

Production[edit]

The international version of the film features original music by Ennio Morricone, with Dino Asciolla as violin solo and Bruno Nicolai as the conductor.

The film was nominated for 1972 Golden Globe award as the best English-language foreign film.

Cast[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]