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Film / The Red Tent (1969)

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A 1969 Soviet-Italian film based on Yugi Nagibin's 1960 novel of the same name, directed by Mikhail Kalatozov and starring Peter Finch, Sean Connery, Claudia Cardinale, Hardy Kruger, Massimo Girotti, and Otar Koberidze.

The film depicts the 1928 crash of the airship Italia during an Arctic expedition, and the subsequent effort to rescue its survivors.

Tropes in the film:

  • Cool Airship: The airship Italia, at least until it crashes in a storm, stranding its crew on the polar ice.
  • Court-martialed: Nobile has been subjected to a court-martial for "cowardise" and stripped from his title. The film is another court-martial, this one in his head.
  • A Crack in the Ice: The survivors barely escape drowning when the ice floe breaks apart beneath the eponymous tent.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Amundsen turns out to be this after The Reveal that he was killed during the search for survivors. Though he's a hallucination anyway as their conversation takes place years later.
  • The Film of the Book: Based on Nagibin's 1960 novel.
  • Framing Device: Capt. Nobile, now living in Rome and filled with guilt, remembers his failed 1928 Arctic expedition aboard the Italia and imagines a "trial" conducted against him by the victims.
  • The Men First: Averted. Umberto Nobile is the first to be evacuated from the survivors of the crash at the North Pole. The film deals with his guilt over this act, as he faces an imaginary court of colleagues involved in the disaster.
  • Historical Domain Character:
    • Umberto Nobile, Captain of the doomed "Italia".
    • Einar Lundborg, Swedish aviator.
    • And of course, Roald Amundsen.
  • Redundant Rescue: Played for drama; the aircraft carrying Roald Amundsen comes across the crashed remains of the Italia and they crash trying to land and rescue them, having mistaken the frozen corpses for survivors. Amundsen is the Sole Survivor, but with no food or means of making a fire, all he can do is wait to freeze to death himself.