Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Review of "Ice Station Zebra," DVD version

Review of
Ice Station Zebra, DVD version

Five out of five stars
This movie features the tensions of the Cold War in a thriller where the viewer is not quite sure who is the good spy and who is the bad spy. A film capsule from a satellite has fallen from orbit and is at Ice Station Zebra, an otherwise obscure weather outpost in the Arctic. Garbled and incomprehensible distress signals are received from the station and the intelligence agencies of both the USA and USSR know that the film capsule is at the station.
 Rock Hudson is the captain of the nuclear submarine Tigerfish and his orders are to take a detachment of U. S. Marines and two dubious characters to Ice Station Zebra. One is a member of the British intelligence service and the other is a Russian. Both are supposedly working on the same side, but it is immediately clear that this is unlikely, although the viewer does not know which side the two are working with.
 Given the stakes, the Soviets are just as eager to recover the film capsule, so after some harrowing battles against the harsh environment of the Arctic and some internal fighting, the American side recovers the capsule. However, Soviet paratroop forces arrive and there is a standoff between the two commanders. Although both sides are willing to kill the other to achieve their objective, both sides are reasonable and not eager to pull the trigger.
 The lesson from this movie is one that was often lost in the hype of the Cold War. Both sides in the struggle generally followed a set of rules with a clear set of guidelines regarding their mission. First and foremost was to not let the other side gain a clear win. It is a story well told, with tension, uncertainty and a resolution that satisfies both sides and allows for each to claim a propaganda victory.

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