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The Hunt for Red October [Film Club Extra 07]


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The world lost a legend of cinema recently with the passing of Sir Sean Connery, so to celebrate his life and career the film club will be watching one of his classics.  I think it's a testament to his acting ability and range that, despite being best known for playing James Bond, none of his 007 films were nominated.  Instead there were nominations for a wide range of roles from across the decades, with the winner being nominated by @Squirrel, the Cold War thriller The Hunt for Red October.

The Hunt for Red October -1990-Original Movie Poster-Art of the Movies

Directed by action movie legend John McTiernan, who also bought us Predator, Die Hard and The Last Action Hero, and based on a novel by Tom Clancy, Red October tells the story of a Russian Navy captain, played by Connery, who wants to defect to the west along with his brand new state of the art submarine.  This is a tense action thriller with a great supporting cast including the likes of Alec Baldwin, Tim Curry, Sam Neill and James Earl Jones.  I haven't seen this in about twenty years, but I do recall being gripped the entire run time, so I can't wait to revisit this.  

once more we play our dangerous game


As well as talk about the film, this would be a good place to share our favourite Connery moments.  For me, alongside his performance as James Bond and his Oscar winning turn in The Untouchables ("if they put one of yours in the hospital, you put one of theirs in the morgue") my favourite Connery moment, and one of my favourite quotes in all of film history, is from Highlander where he says, in his usual iconic accent, "I'm not Spanish.  I'm Egyptian."  

Sir Sean Connery (1930-2020) - Blog - The Film Experience

Sir Sean Connery 1930-2020

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 This movie actually has 2 of my favourite quotes from Connery:

one is this:

 It reminds me of the heady days of Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin when the world trembled at the sound of our rockets. Now they will tremble again - at the sound of our silence.


the other is just one word and it is right at the beggining: when he says Cold in Russian. 


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Wow, it's been many, many years since I've seen this movie and after watching it today, I now regret not seeing it more times.

What a thriller, literally. Thank you Mr.Clancy and Mr.McTiernan.

It quickly transports you right in the middle of the cold war and sets a great atmosphere without any nonsense and big plot setups/twists.

I really liked the transition from Red October crew speaking in russian to them speaking in english instead of them speaking with a funny russian english accent from start to finish.

Some great scenes setting and improving the general atmosphere of the movie, especially liked the russian crew singing when they went silent. "Let them shing."

Eventhough there's emphasis on the political aspect of the conflict, involving everyone from CIA, president, ambasadors, army to KGB (it's Tom Clancy novel afterall), there's plenty of submarine scenes, really depicting life and combat underwater. Viewer gets to experience what's it like when the only sense you can rely on is sound. I really enjoyed the underwater manouvers and strategy behind them, probably simplified for all of us who have never been on a submarine, but still, gets you thinking how a submarine commander mind works and what inputs he can use to plan his moves. Navigating Red October through the underwater canyons really keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Movie really keeps you on the edge through most of the scenes and provides many tense monents, when you're not sure if everything is gonna work or a WW III is gonna break out.

As far as actors go, I think casting was great and everyone did very well, especially Alec Baldwin, this must be his best performance I think. Some great characters in various roles, one that stands out for me is perhaps russian captain (Tupolev) of the submarine that chases down Red October.

Strong performance from Sean Connery as well, portraying a strongminded soviet naval legend. Though it is not his best from those that I've seen. That probably goes to his performance in The Rock in my opinion.

RIP Sir Sean Connery and thank you for your movies!


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  • 2 weeks later...

The Hunt for Red October

This is a good thriller with a plot that stays plausible. Whilst I know nothing about submarine technology, this just feels sensible, it doesn't go off on wild tangents like some thrillers do. I particularly like the way the sonar systems on the submarines, and their operators, play an important role without it getting too technical but still giving you an understanding of what is happening and why. It's got a great cast and is well made. There are a couple of things I'd like to have seen better explained. I didn't get why Ryan is in Britain at the beginning, what his actual job is and why he has such a high security clearance. I also didn't get where the saboteur at the end comes from, who he was and why he was doing it.

Then there is the issue of the accents. Sean Connery famously plays a Soviet sub commander with a Scottish accent in this. That does not matters; after all he won an Oscar playing an Irish-American cop with a Scottish accent in the Untouchables. It's that some of various Soviet characters have Russian sounding accents but others don't. Why the mix? Either have the English speaking actors use their natural voices to represent the range of accents you would have had from the many nations within the Soviet Union or have them all at least attempting to sound authentic. At the beginning I thought they were using English accents for the Russians, e.g. Peter Firth (the political officer) and later on Joss Ackland (the ambassador), with other accents for none-Russians, e.g. Connery as a Lithuanian. But then Sam Neil definitely seemed to be attempting a Russian accent. So that just did not make sense to me and it's the sort of thing that annoys me.

Overall, this type of film is never going to be one of my all time favourites. But it's very enjoyable to watch.


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