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The Red Tent (1969)

Krasnaya palatka (original title)
Torn by personal guilt Italian General Umberto Nobile reminisces about his 1928 failed Arctic expedition aboard the airship Italia.


(as Mickail K. Kalatozov)


(as Richard L. Adams), | 2 more credits »

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Nurse Valeria
Aviator Lundborg (as Hardy Kruger)
Luigi Vannucchi ...
Eduard Martsevich ...
Grigoriy Gay ...
Nikolay Ivanov ...
Kolka, Amateur Radioman
Boris Khmelnitskiy ...
Yuriy Solomin ...
Yuriy Vizbor ...

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The commander of a failed 1928 Arctic airship expedition is remembering the events of the "Italia" airship flight, crash and subsequent rescue efforts. The "ghosts" of people involved in the events appear in his memories to assist him in determining his guilt in the affair. The reminiscences are mixed with the real action: the flight of the "Italia", the air rescue operation from Kings Bay airfield, the expedition of the "Krassin" ice-breaker. A sort of human touch is added by the ever beautiful C.C. playing Malmgren's girlfriend. Written by E. Kocourek <e_kocourek@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Forget everything you've ever heard about heroes. Now there is "The Red Tent."


Adventure | Drama


G | See all certifications »





| |

Release Date:

23 December 1969 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Red Tent  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Richard Burton turned down the role of Gen. Nobile. See more »


Aviator Lundborg: Men are risking their necks for fame, a medal, promotion, or money. What's wrong with money, mm? Just a means to happiness.
Roald Amundsen: But you don't look like a happy man, exactly. More like a man who's learned to be indifferent to unhappiness.
Aviator Lundborg: I'm glad you know it all, Mr. Amundsen.
Roald Amundsen: But you see, a man who is indifferent to his own unhappiness is indifferent to everything.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Some of the material for the Russian version listed the Scottish actor who plays Amundsen as "Sh. Konneri." See more »

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User Reviews

Song of the cold
28 November 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

An English language film starring Peter Finch, Sean Connery, and Claudia Cardinale, this is nonetheless pure Kalatozov, more imbued with man's madness than Herzog. General Alberto Nobile (Finch) takes airship Italia to the North Pole in what appears to be no more than a public relations effort, with pretensions of scientific endeavour. The film is reminiscent of an earlier Kalatozov effort Neotpravlennoye pismo / The Unsent Letter (1960) in terms of there being a love interest, and also many people looking for explorers in peril and specifically in terms of the representation of joy (wacky music and speed). Kalatosov and Mosfilm were no doubt inspired by a real-life story where Uncle Joe's bestest commies manage to save a bunch of foolhardy imperialists. This seems to be a favourite theme of superior Soviet drama, and the film reminded me of the Soviet sci-fi film Nebo zovyot / Call of the Heavens (1962) in many ways, including Soviet harbour scenes of cheering crowds and self-sacrificing efforts to save the deluded. The film at least acknowledges that the first successful expedition to the North Pole was American, and so some of the revolutionary fervour I'd come to expect had diminished by this stage in Kalatosov's career. There is however a glorious purely dogmatic shot of a Russian sailor heaping coal into a furnace which has coloured him red.

The film is not condescending in that there is a genuine awe and respect for the great polar explorers. Roald Amundsen's spectral presence (played by Sean Connery) is magnetic and haunting.

Another cinematic precursor of this one may be Battle of the River Plate (1956), also starring Peter Finch, a film fascinated with the concept of historical spectacle. The actual crash is a matter of history, indicated at the start of the film and is not a spoiler. The filming of the crash is spectacular and crazy glorious cine-trauma.

Finn Malmgren is one of the most interesting characters, he has a death wish, a love of the emptiness and Arctic loneliness. I think maybe it's something that they all share. Why would anyone venture into this morass of crumbling ice otherwise?

The film is framed by a trial, Nobile trying himself, in his mind, for the disaster, this is very trippy.

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