Pat Coston Movie Reviews

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ice Station Zebra (1968) - Reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, who had experience both as a movie producer and a defense contractor for the U.S., is said to have watched Ice Station Zebra dozens of times on a continuous loop in his private hotel suite during the years prior to his death. This movie is 2.5 hours long with an Intermission. It stars Rock Hudson and Ernest Borgnine. I also recognized this actor named Ron Masak. I've seen him in dozens of TV shows and movies but he's never been a starring man. The guy is still working! There are no women in this movie. It is wall to wall testosterone. This is a manly man's movie. If you like submarine movies (and who doesn't) this is your cup of tea. Of course the sub has to sink to 1000+ feet and nearly implode. You can't have a sub movie without that happening! I love how when the sub is diving, the whole set is titled so everyone is standing at a 20 degree angle. Nice touch of realism. I did spot one glaring error. These jets were passing mountains when 2 minutes away from the North Pole. They allowed smoking on the submarine. Manly! My favorite line is when Ernest is checking out the nuclear engine and says "It ... it seems almost benevolent." Rock: "In that state yes. Confined. Controlled. Shielded. But it is nuclear fission and it hates being confined even more than you do." At the start it has a 2 minute Overture showing the sub and the word OVERTURE. The intermission shows the sub and the word ENTR'ACTE for 2 minutes. After the credits roll, it shows the sub and the words "EXIT MUSIC" and plays some music for 2 minutes. Interesting. The final scene is of a teletype printing out a news story indicating that the rescue went well and America and Russia worked together on this heroic mission and another example of of International cooperation ... NOT! Howard Hughes was mentally ill and I'm sure this propaganda at the end fed into his paranoia about governments and never trusting what you read.


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