The Red Tent (1969)

G   |    |  Adventure, Drama

The Red Tent (1969) Poster

Torn by personal guilt, Italian General Umberto Nobile reminisces about his 1928 failed Arctic expedition aboard the airship Italia.


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7 June 2016 | ma-cortes
| Sweeping and spectacular flick based on the true story of the Arctic stranding of the Italian explorer Umberto Nobile
An Italian/Russian co-production and featured by a great cast as Peter Finch as Nobile, Sean Connery as Amundsen , Massimo Girotti as Romagna, Claudia Cardinale as Nurse , Mario Adorf as Radio Operator and Hardy Krüger as Lundborg . This interesting flick reminisces about General Nobile and his 1928 failed Arctic expedition aboard the aircraft Italia . An exciting account dealing with bids to rescue the survivors of a dirigible which crashed in a blizzard near the North Pole .

Highly imaginative, fictionalized version of these sad events . The film deal with General Nobile and Amundsen , but this is not a story of his race with Captain Scott to reach the South Pole -similarly to Cook and Peary in North Pole- , but a later episode in his moving career . Interesting and thought-provoking screenplay by prestigious writers : Richard DeLong Adams and Ennio De Concini though the script holds some inconsistencies in the dialogue . Big name cast who has to struggle hard to come to terms the strange happenings as when there appear ghost roles and all of them form a peculiar jury against General Nobile to be judged accused for desertion and cowardice . Very good acting by Peter Finch as Italian General Umberto Nobile torn by personal guilt . In between his last two assignment as James Bond , Connery gave some nice acting for the cinema and this portrait of the Norwegian explorer Amundsen is one of them . Sensitive and moving musical score by the great maestro Ennio Morricone . And colorful pictorial qualities of the cinematography are very strong . The yarn was compellingly directed by Mikhail Kalatozov (The cranes are flying , I Am Cuba) .

This roust man-versus-nature epic picture was well based on historical and biographic accounts , there are the followings : Umberto Nobile was an Italian aviator, aeronautical engineer and Arctic explorer. Nobile was a developer and promoter of semi-rigid airships during the period between the two World Wars . He is primarily remembered for designing and piloting the blimp Norge, which may have been the first aircraft to reach the North Pole, and which was indisputably the first to fly across the polar ice cap from Europe to America. Nobile also designed and flew the Italia, a second polar airship; this second expedition ended in a deadly crash and provoked an international rescue effort . The Italia, nearly identical to the Norge, was slowly completed and equipped for Polar flight during 1927–28. Part of the difficulty was in raising private funding to cover the costs of the expedition, which finally was financed by the city of Milan; the Italian government limited its direct participation to providing the airship and sending the aging steamer Città di Milano as a support vessel to Svalbard, under the command of Giuseppe Romagna . On 23 May 1928, after an outstanding 69-hour-long flight to the Siberian group of Arctic islands, the Italia commenced its flight to the North Pole with Nobile as both pilot and expedition leader. On 24 May, the ship reached the Pole and had already turned back toward Svalbard when it ran into a storm. On 25 May, the Italia crashed onto the pack ice less than 30 kilometres north of Nordaustlandet . Of the 16 men in the crew, ten were thrown onto the ice as the gondola was smashed; the remaining six crewmen were trapped in the buoyant superstructure as it ascended skyward due to loss of the gondola; the fate of the six men was never resolved. One of the ten men on the ice, Pomella, died from the impact; Nobile suffered a broken arm, broken leg, broken rib and head injury; Cecioni suffered two badly broken legs; Malmgren suffered a severe shoulder injury and suspected injury to a kidney; and Zappi had several broken ribs.The crew managed to salvage several items from the crashed airship gondola, including a radio transceiver, a tent which they later painted red for maximum visibility, and, critically, boxes of food and survival equipment which quick-witted engineer Ettore Arduino had managed to throw onto the ice before he and his five companions were carried off to their deaths by the wrecked but still airborne airship envelope and keel. As the days passed, the drifting sea ice took the survivors towards Foyn and Broch islands.A few days after the crash the Swedish meteorologist Finn Malmgren and Nobile's second and third in command Mariano and Zappi decided to leave the immobile group and march towards land. Malmgren, who was injured, weakened and reportedly still depressed over his meteorological advice that he felt contributed to the crash, asked his two Italian companions to continue without him. These two were picked up several weeks later by the Soviet icebreaker "Krasin". However, there were persistent rumors that Malmgren was killed and cannibalized .

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Release Date:

23 December 1969


Russian, Italian, English

Country of Origin

Italy, Soviet Union

Filming Locations

Soviet Union

Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

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