Wednesday, October 05, 2011

KnitFlix: The Red Tent (1969)

We’d had this disc sitting on our shelf for a couple of months and only got around to watching it Saturday night. I’d put it in the queue because of my obsession with the exploration of the polar regions. It’s a dramatization of Umberto Nobile’s tragic 1928 airship voyage to the North Pole.

IMG_4132The Red Tent is not a bad film, although they really wanted to get their money’s worth with all the B-roll they must have bought of icebreakers, polar bears and calving glaciers The movie is a joint Soviet/Italian production, and it’s kind of cool to see strangely inserted Russian scenes, one of which was filmed in Leningrad.

It’s set up as a dream tribunal with the aged Nobile being confronted by and reliving the events with some of the expedition’s participants, both airship crew and would-be rescuers. Sean Connery plays Roald Amundsen (who actually died trying to find Nobile), although he’s pretty much there because he’s Sean Connery.

IMG_4130The main reason to watch this film, though, from a knitter’s point of view, is to see all the large-gauge chunky knits that the cast wears throughout the film. Scarves, gloves, hats, balaclavas, and of course, sweaters, are everywhere – most knitted with ultra-maxi-super-chunky-mondo yarn on needles in their upper teens. It probably only took one employee in a Tromsø sweatshop two hours to make any one of these garments.

Above, Valeria, a nurse played by Claudia Cardinale, hugs a soiled scarf that used to belong to her love interest, the expedition’s Swedish meteorologist, Finn Malmgren. Malmgren, played by Russian actor Eduard Martsevich and shown in the lower picture, sports a herd’s worth of wool and a roll collar that just won’t stop while doing shots with Nurse Valeria in a Spitsbergen honkeytonk.

Is it wrong to want to live somewhere where you can wear this stuff?


  1. Well, if you don't mind actually dealing with snow and ice (which, frankly, is not as fun as it might sound!).....

  2. No! Not wrong! could VISIT a northern clime... (ahem)