In the Cold War, when the captain of a Russian submarine comes too close to the Gloucester Island in Massachusetts to give a look at America, the submarine gets stranded. A nine-man team commanded by Lieutenant Rozanov goes onshore to search a motor boat to release the submarine and arrives at the summer house of the New Yorker writer Walt Whittaker that is spending the weekend with his family in Gloucester. When he realizes that they are Russians, he believes that it is an invasion. Soon the information leaks, leading hysteria and paranoia along the inhabitants of the small village. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The film had a profound impact on both American and Soviet leaders. It is one of the few films actually mentioned in the Congressional record. Norman Jewison was also personally invited to Moscow, where he reported that the Russian crowd was transfixed by the scene featuring the little boy who falls from the bell tower, and the Soviets and Americans cooperate to save him. See more »
At two different times both Arkin and Bikel are at a loss to pronounce "Gloucester", but early in the film it is shown to be /gloster/ on their chart, in very large Cyrillic letters. See more »
[Rozanov arrives on the bridge of the Russian submarine after learing from the chart man how close they are to the USA coast]
[in Russian; subtitled]
What is it Captain? What are you doing?
[to a chart man]
Show me our position.
[the chart man shows Rozanov how close they are to an island]
What? WHAT? Tovarich Captain...
The Russian Captain:
Take it easy.
Permit me, Captain. Look at our position.
The Russian Captain:
I don't need your advice.
[...] See more »
At the end it says THE KONETS, only with "konets" actually written in the Russian alphabet. The word, of course, means END. [It looks like "KOHEU," only with square corners on the U part.] See more »
It's fair to say Norman Jewison has never directed a bad film. Fiddler on the Roof, Jesus Christ Superstar and Other People's Money are excellent. This film is an antidote to all other Cold War films which are either about spies or impending nuclear holocaust. The Russian submarine beaches on the New England coast by accident and the crew are very anxious about the blunder they have made. I think there's a chance this film was partly inspired by 49th Parallel. At the beginning, it's obvious that they do not wish to use their guns in anger. John Phillip Law does well as Alexei; there's a lot more to him than the angel in Barbarella. He is quite afraid of what may happen and is genuinely distraught after he pointed his gun at the wee lass because she made a noise that made him panic. The Americans are not portrayed favourably for the most part. They are shown as jingoistic and they behave in a manner reminiscent of the people who thought Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast was a news report on an actual Martian invasion. Americans, young and old, from Whittaker's 9 year old son to the elderly guys in the American Legion beanies are shown as spoiling for a fight. This might be meant to represent American cold war paranoia which had its dark side in blacklisting by the House Un-American Activities Committee and Ronald Reagan's keenness to use military action in the 1980s. The Russians are shown as well meaning and decent, genuinely afraid of what might happen to them. The scene between Alexei and Alison on the beach is very good and what they say to each other (to be found in the memorable quotes section) makes perfect sense. Alan Arkin is also very good as Lieutenant Rozanov. Whitakker is very concerned when he thinks he's killed him after impulsively firing a gun at the car he's driving. It's good the way mutual distrust turns into friendship. Leaving the serious analysis aside, there are some very funny moments like when Arkin & co tie the elderly lady up and place her on top of the cupboard and her husband doesn't notice she's there. It's a good scene at the end when the townspeople escort the submarine out the harbour in their boats and with them being there the McDonnell F-101 Voodoos flying overhead don't attack the sub. A feel good comedy indeed.
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