The Red Tent (1969) Script

General Umberto Nobile returned a hero to Italy.

To his Roman triumph, led by Benito Mussolini.

Nobile's journey over the North Pole with Roald Amundsen... had thrilled the world in the year of 1926.

But the laurels won by the handsome hero did not give him rest.

He had seen the north, the vast, silent, frozen sea... unendurable, uninhabitable.

Yet, for more than 2,000 years... explorers have been drawn north into this mysterious whiteness... where man literally walks on water.

Men with such names as Makarov, Nansen, Amundsen.

At last, in 1909, Robert E. Peary... the great American explorer, made a brilliant dash with dogs.

Peary conquered the North Pole.

There was a pause in Arctic exploration.

The restless men turned to the Antarctic.

Roald Amundsen conquered the South Pole...

December 14, 1911.

Then came aircraft, and the excitement stirred again.

This was Nobile's moment.

Already an internationally known designer and flyer of airships... he planned the most dangerous of all air expeditions... to fly to the fury of the North Pole and to land there.

Why? For reasons of science, certainly.

But there was also the explorers' age-old reason or vanity... the desire to be first.

General Nobile, has it been decided yet... which of your crew will be the first to land...

I mean put a foot on the North Pole?

It has been decided.

The first man to land from the air at the North Pole will be myself.

I will be the first man.

The Italian Navy provided Nobile with a support ship, The City of Milan... under the command of a reliable career officer...

Captain Romagna.

Captain Romagna took up station at the small mining town of Kingsbay... the jumping-off point of the expedition.

In an expedition that was to become so famous... for its failure... the questions must still be asked.

Was it justified? Should it have been undertaken?

Was Umberto Nobile a fit leader?

At the time, if there was doubt, Amundsen, in an interview in Oslo... very generously dispelled the doubt.

Dr. Amundsen, of what scientific value... will General Nobile's expedition be, if it is successful?

Of the utmost value.

The Arctic is an enormous territory, quite unexplored.

General Nobile and I made a start in the Norge expedition.

Now he is continuing that work with the Italia expedition.

Dr. Amundsen, why aren't you leading the expedition this time?

My expedition days are over.

Also, I wasn't asked this time.

General Nobile is not an expert Arctic explorer, is he?

He has experts with him.

I know some of the men. They're excellent men.

And I know General Nobile. He is an excellent leader. Excellent.

On May 23, at 4:00 in the afternoon... the dirigible Italia left Kingsbay for the North Pole.


Tragic death toll.

I know General Nobile. He is an excellent leader.

Official investigation.

An excellent leader. Resignation of commission.

Excellent. Reduction in rank.

In view of your extraordinary conduct...

I never lost a ship. I never lost a man.

An excellent leader.

Why did you allow them to leave?

25 degrees, 18 minutes, Longitude east.

Demote him.

The investigating commission agrees... that General Nobile's actions are contrary... to the traditions of military honor and the code of military law... and it finds no plausible justification... for what can only be explained, but not justified... by his physical and moral depression at the time.

Lundborg?

Where are you?

Pleasant dreams, General?

Lundborg, you're late.

Lundborg.

Where are you?

Wherever you want me to be.

Another one of those sleepless nights, Nobile?

Be civil.

One thing about being dead for a few years...

I don't have to be civil.

So, we are at it again? Yes.

You're getting worse, you know it?

It's only 10 days since you had us here the last time.

"A new book about Nobile, Fresh Light on an Old Scandal."

That today's? It is.

Jesus Christ, it's 40 years ago, and they still think it's interesting.

Very interesting.

Court in session, then? Apparently.

Are you bringing Valeria in? Yes.

Come in, Valeria.

Valeria!

You look great.

General, your imagination is working well tonight.

She looks great.

Valeria.

When will you stop walking the night, General?

It has been 40 years.

Court in session?

God, it's a bore.

Not altogether.

Who are you looking for?

You, old man! She's looking for Malmgren.

Malmgren the Immaculate. Will your imagination stretch to that?

Don't call me old, Lieutenant.

Boy, it would stretch to anything.

Take your feet off my table.

Yes, Valeria.

Dr. Malmgren is arriving now.

Lovely.

We've got Saint Sebastian in his working clothes tonight.


I'm cold, Nurse.

That's funny, Mr. Rindborg, because I'm quite warm.

So they say. You wouldn't care to...

No, I wouldn't.

My temperature is rising, Nurse.

You're all such tigers when you're safe in here.

Excuse me, Nurse.

I've just arrived here, l...

Wait in the dispensary, please.

Some people won't even knock on a door.

My name is Finn Malmgren. Do sit down.

I'd like to borrow... Name?

Finn Malmgren.

Nationality. Swedish.

Surface worker or below ground?

I'm not employed by the mining company, Nurse.

I'm a member of General Nobile's expedition.

Are you the famous explorer Malmgren?

I'm the only Malmgren on the expedition.

I beg your pardon. There is no need to apologize.

What do you want? Someone dropped the iodine bottle.

I wondered if you could spare some.

You seem to be very popular with your patients, Nurse.

Will that do?

Thank you.

Goodbye.

Goodbye.

When do you leave? Quite soon now... but the pity is that we shall be without Amundsen this time.

What is this Amundsen?

He's a leader.

And General Nobile, is he a leader?

A general is a leader by profession.

I like him a lot.

He has a terrible appetite for anything splendid.

He wants to go to the North Pole to see if he's as good as Amundsen.

Isn't that a bit silly?

To measure yourself against Amundsen?

Ambitious, not silly.

Is that why you're going?

No.

Why, then?

I don't even know your name.

Valeria.

I want to go because... it has something to do with... emptiness, loneliness... beauty, and... purity.


Is that all you're going to do with her, hold hands?

My God, Malmgren. You were a ghost when you were still alive.

I've had it. I'm gone. On the contrary, Lieutenant.

You are tonight's prosecutor.

Me? Yes.

Look, Nobile, if I prosecute...

I'll reach a conclusion.

Exactly. Will Amundsen be coming?

You'll never reach a conclusion without Amundsen.

Oh, boy.

There's your prosecutor.

He's pure in heart, is Dr. Malmgren, and he'd skin you alive to prove it.

No, you are my prosecutor.

All right.

Well, then... in the absence of the great, good Amundsen...

I'll have Biagi.

Biagi. I'd almost forgotten Biagi.

I bet Biagi hasn't forgotten about you.

No, sir. Biagi.

General.

Captain Zappi.

At ease, Sergeant.


Anyone else?

Nope.

Ready for takeoff.

It was Kingsbay, Spitzbergen.

4:00 on Wednesday, May 23...

1928.


Visibility? 50 miles.

Well?

Over 20 knots.

We should be picking up the winds coming off the high-pressure area.

In this position. Here.

All engines at even revs, General. Cecioni!

Watch the oil pressure in number three.

Yes, sir! Viglieri.

Yes? Stand by to measure altitude.

Position, please.

83 degrees Latitude, 26 degrees Longitude.

Temperature: 40 degrees.

Start.

Troiani? Altitude 500 feet.

Biagi, contact Kingsbay.

Speed: 57 miles an hour.

"The airship Italia...

"Commander General Nobile, Royal Italian Air Force...

"is now proceeding at an airspeed of 85 kilometers.

"Weather conditions satisfactory...

"with some overcast.

"Expected time of arrival at the North Pole...

"1330 hours, 24 May...

"1928."

That's all, gentlemen.

Sir. Here's something more.

As of four minutes ago... the Italia was at 83 degrees Latitude... and 26 degrees Longitude.

Do conditions still permit a landing at the pole?

I really don't know. Is Titina with them?

I beg your pardon? The General's little dog.

My duties do not extend to the General's little dog.

Can you tell us what your duties are, Captain?

I'm to maintain radio contact with the General... at prearranged times and prearranged wavelengths.

What times, Captain? Two hours on, two hours off.

What wavelength are they using, Captain?

I'm not authorized to tell you that.

Press information will be limited to the position of the airship... and the weather conditions prevailing.

By noon tomorrow, the airship is expected to be nearing its objective.

It has now successfully completed 250 miles.

Our coordinates, please.

27 degrees west of Greenwich, latitude 84 degrees, 20 minutes.

Height: 750 feet.

Airspeed: 80 miles an hour.

Up elevators. Go to 1,300 feet.

Dr. Malmgren... there's a message, sir, from Tromso Institute.

Tromso Institute reports the high-pressure area... is becoming unstable.

But they also say that the wind should hold until we reach the Pole.

Good.

Dense cloud, 3,000 feet, forming on horizon to starboard.

88 degrees, 10 minutes north, General. 44 miles to the pole.

There. It looks like you're very lucky, General.

Put on your furs, gentlemen.

Troiani, go down to 400 meters. Yes, sir.

Captain Zappi. Yes, sir?

Get the anchor lines ready. Yes, sir. Out mooring ropes.

Biagi, we're approaching the Pole. All engines minimum speed.

Troiani, prepare the basket for lowering.

All right. Ahoy in the keelson.

Stand by the anchor lines.

Stop starboard engine. Get ready to lower the basket!

Landing will be difficult.

Wind is about 35 knots.

The anchor lines are ready, General. The men are standing by.

Hold at 450 feet. Very well, sir.

Dr. Malmgren, circle, minimum radius.

Yes, sir. We're going down.

That's what we came here for. Are we close?

Biagi. Sir?

When we've circled, transmit that we're at the Pole.

May I tell the crew?

Boys!

Boys, we made it!

Viva I'Italia!

Viva I'Italia!

Viva!

To the ship.

Viva I'Italia!

Malmgren.

Thank you.

Not many men can say they've been to the pole twice.

It's a pity Amundsen was not here with us.

What?

It's a pity Amundsen was not here with us.

Yes.

Give me a hand with this. Biagi.

Holy kingdom of God and Italy.

General! Here goes.

Viva I'Italia!

The cloud back to starboard seems to be closing on us, General.

Visibility down to 15 miles.

Good news, Captain.

"A cross and the Italian flag...

"were dropped at the North Pole...

"at 1247 hours, precisely."

Are they going to land?

Go on. Tell us.

What's your opinion, Doctor?

It's better to go back to Kingsbay. The wind will be against us.

The fog is thickening. The temperature is dropping.

Will it mean postponing the landing?

General, we may never get a second chance.

At least we should try it. It is risky.

Dr. Malmgren, you forget that in the eyes of the world... the honor of Italy is at stake.

Mine, too. Excuse me, General... but your honor lies in accomplishing your mission.

It lies in the lives of your men.

The course is back to Spitzbergen. Understood?

To Kingsbay.

It's 1:00. They should be down on the ice now.

Here's the Captain.

The Italia airship is returning here.

I spent four weeks in this Godforsaken icebox of a dump, and no story!

Headwinds increasing to 45 miles an hour. Dr. Malmgren, I'll take the wheel.

We're listing to stern. General, you must come up to the keelson!

The metal frame is icing now. We must get more height.

Up elevators. Behounek!

Mariano! General?

Keep all engines at full speed. We must maintain altitude.

Yes, sir!

For God's sake, get the engines up to 1,400 revs!

The ice is building up. We're losing altitude.

Escape of gas.

This valve is frozen. Get rid of the ice.

Cut it off.

Pomella, Alessandrini, break off the ice!

Jettison all extra weight.

Jettison the tents, the skis, the sledges!

Check all around for ice! Use hammers!

Get the valves shut!

General, we're still heavy.

General! I've lost contact! I've lost all contact, sir!

All right. Continue transmitting. Dr. Malmgren, give Biagi our position again.

Sergeant.

We're still dropping fast, General.

There's an escape of gas in the prow.

Stop all engines. Yes, sir.

Immediately!

Number three control is jammed. We can't move it, sir.

All right, stay at the wheel.

One engine's on fire!

I know. If we hit, we'll burn.

Rest of the ballast! Out with the ballast!

All right, throw it out. Everything except the fuel.

Lose those boxes!

See that he gets below. All right.

Everything!

We're out of control, sir!

Out of my way, Zappi. I'll take the wheel.

I'll take it.

Brace for crash!


General.

Thank God you're safe.

General.

General Nobile.

It's me, Zappi.

Biagi.

Are you... I'm all right.

My leg! Easy!

My leg, it's smashed!

Easy!

We're finished. We're all finished.

Mariano, get up.

Get up! Are you all right.

You are all right. Now, listen to me. You are fine.

Mariano.

Mariano, please.

It's me, Zappi.

Stop it!

Captain Zappi.

Stop it, Mariano!

We're finished, Zappi. We're finished.

Malmgren!

Zappi, General, look!

Dr. Malmgren!

Don't!

Don't do it, Dr. Malmgren!

Forgive me, please!

I'm sorry.

None of us have the right to do that.

We all need each other.

How many of us are there?

I think, eight. Eight.

Nine!

Viglieri!

Viglieri! Did you see the others?

What happened to the others? Yes, I saw them.

I saw them.

I saw them in the keelson.

They blew away like a kite.


A tent! I found a tent!

Good.

We need some help! It's a tent!

I found the radio!

The radio!

We're safe!

We found the radio! Zappi, you found it!

Now we can get through to Kingsbay.

General! We are safe.

The radio! Your baby, Biagi!

I told him, didn't I? I told him!

You can fix it, Biagi. I know you can get it going.


The dog!

Titina's alive!

Your dog's alive, General!

Help me! Over here!

Here!

Here.

Pomella.


Lord, we pray thee... release the soul of this, thy servant Vincenzo Pomella... from every bond of sin... so that in the glory of the resurrection... he may rise again to live among the saints.

Amen.

Very well. We're alive. Back to work.

Take your time, Biagi.

You'll do it. Then we can transmit our position... and they'll come and get us.

How? Airplane.

There are no airplanes at Kingsbay.

There were no airplanes at Kingsbay.

Captain Romagna will get things moving.

Nothing, sir.

Signal Admiralty, Rome.

Still no contact, Italia airship.

Request instructions.

Instructions? You signaled for instructions?

That's right. What would you have done?

Something! Yes. Initiative.

General Nobile, I was 37 years a serving officer.

I was never in any way famous. I was never, as you are... the subject of newspaper articles or public debate.

But I never lost a ship! You never did anything, Romagna.

Without orders, no.

But in all my life, I never disobeyed an order.

Can you say as much?

I never lost a ship. I never lost a man.

You didn't find any, either, did you?

With what? And where should I have looked for them?

We had no means of knowing what time they crashed... within three hours.

You were last heard from here.

If you were running against the storm and trying to make Kingsbay... you could've been around Franz Josef Land here.

But if you were running towards Greenland with the gale behind you... then you were over the Arctic Ocean here.

Within that area. Two million square kilometers.

You could have been anywhere, if you were still alive.

So you assumed that we were dead?

I made no assumption. I was waiting for orders.

For five days!

We were still waiting for you there, less than 100 miles from Kingsbay.

Starving. And you were waiting for orders?

A red tent.

A mark for the aircraft that will never come.

They will come, Dr. Malmgren.

They will see us. Come on, Biagi!

Your biscuit's getting cold.

Here's your three-course dinner. Meat, vegetables, and cheese.

Pemmican again. Dr. Amundsen's recipe?

No, I improved on Dr. Amundsen's recipe.

Titina's share.

Titina has better taste than we have.

Pemmican is the bread of the Arctic.

It'll keep you alive. Keep alive, Biagi.

What's wrong, Biagi?

What is it?

It's the resistor.

Any hope?


Malmgren, will a pistol do it?

He's going for the body in the ice.

If we can kill him, it's food for a month.


I'm not waiting for the soup. I'll have it in tartar.

One shot through the head. That's shooting.

I like my meat stewed.

Stop it, all of you.

You've been starving 13 days. If you gulp it, you'll fall ill.

Chew it 20 times. If you fall ill here, you'll die.

We'll die here anyway. There's no need to die like a beast.

Kingsbay, gateway to the North Pole.

Buy one? Souvenirs.

The Royal pilots, they take off over there.

They will rescue General Nobile and his daring Italians...

Are you looking for a room, lady? It will be 12 Kroner.

You know, people are swarming in like flies.

Thank God.

After all, if those poor men hadn't crashed on the ice... then who would have heard of Kingsbay?

It was a stroke of luck. All right for them, all right for you... and certainly all right for the men on the ice.

Something wrong?


Gentlemen, please be quiet. Be quiet, please.

I'm doing everything I can under the circumstances.

Winds of gale force are cutting up the pack.

The ice itself may shortly be expected to move.

They could be anywhere within that area.

Two million square kilometers.

Those will be the aircraft promised by the Royal Swedish Air Force.

How many aircraft in all now, Captain?

Two Italian, two Norwegian... one German, and three Swedish.

Unfortunately, only the Swedish planes... are equipped with skis for landing on the ice.

Those with pontoons are useful only for reconnaissance.

Are any of your aircraft searching now?

Weather permitting, they will fly tomorrow.

If General Nobile is transmitting, is it not a fact... that his signals could be lofting up and coming down pretty well anywhere... that they could be picked up by anyone... who happened to be in the right place? I believe so, yes.

Then ought you not to make public the wavelengths... on which General Nobile may be transmitting?

I will ask Rome for authority to do so.

Captain Romagna, do you believe there are any survivors?

Amundsen doesn't.

I flew down to Oslo and got a short interview with Dr. Amundsen.

He says the chances are that anybody who survived the crash... won't have survived this last week.

Captain, you said something about drift.

The pack is drifting as much as 20 miles a day.

Biagi.

What? What does a resistor do?

It resists.

It goes between the coil and the...

I know where it goes. What does it do?

In the name of God, no more talk about the bloody resistor.

What is it made of?

I think, carbon.

Powered carbon. Graphite.

Has anyone got a lead pencil? Yes. Why?

Because... Give it to me.

Because...

Graphite is an allotrope of carbon.

Biagi...

I think that's a resistor.

That's brilliant.

Well, Biagi?


Let me hear.

Let me hear! All right, Cecioni.

Here, let's turn this over the earphone.


Start transmitting.

Yes, sir. They'll be receiving now.

The scheduled two hours is up in a few minutes.


Anything?

What do you think?

Routine signals.

I suppose they could be in a radio shadow. Not that it matters. They're dead.

Anybody flying today?

Only Lundborg is mad enough to try to go up in this.

Who? Lundborg.

He tried once today... but he came down faster than he went up. See?

Are you Lundborg?

Are you going up again? Ask him.

When do you think you'll leave?

Tomorrow, the day after, in a...

In a week.

It depends on the clouds, on the sun.

Whenever the devil makes up his mind.

Why?

Why?

Because I...

What's his name?

Get out!

Get out of the tent!

General!

The ice is cracking!

General!

The ice is breaking up!

Get out!

What happened?

What is it?

The thaw is coming, General.

The water temperature is close to freezing.

With 24-hour sunlight, the air temperature is rising... and the difference... it just tears the pack apart.

It's June now.

We're drifting on frozen, melting sea, 90 miles from the nearest land.

Do you expect it to get worse?

It's worse now. The ice could break under our feet any minute.

All right.

We'll have to keep watch, day and night.

If it cracks near us, we have to move the camp... and if it cracks again, we move the camp again.

We have to be prepared to move all the time.

You're playing roulette with us.

General...

General, we have the food now.

While there is still time, we can walk out.

We'll walk when Cecioni sets the pace, Zappi.

Look, a small party of the strongest men moving fast... can get back and bring help.

Do you think you can walk 90 miles across the ice?

Without ropes, without proper boots, without equipment?

No. We stay together... around the radio.

That damn radio.

Why the hell did I ever find it?

Today in Rome, his Majesty King Victor Emmanuel... in the presence of II Duce, Benito Mussolini... unveiled a monument to Vittorio Veneto.

Acts of heroism fade in the memory of dying... but foreign detractors, envious of us... can never minimize this, one of our finest hours.

They've done it! Victory!

Four to one. Italy beat Spain four to one.

Levratto scored two goals.

What are you doing to us, you bastard? Mariano. Stop it.

Mariano. No fighting here.

Captain Mariano.

The official Italian news agency refuses to comment on the Nobile expedition...

and the disappearance of the airship.

Meanwhile a report from the Tromso Geophysical Institute... suggests that prevailing winds... during the estimated flight time of the dirigible Italia... indicated that the crash might have taken place... in the vicinity of Franz Josef Land.

Franz Josef Land?

Weather conditions make it impossible for airplanes to take off.

That's 300 miles out. The current is taking us there.

Can't you make... Can't you make them hear us?

Mother of God, is it my fault that the battery is feeble?

Maybe they're sitting in a radio shadow. Then they'd never hear us.

General... we're leaving.

Who is leaving?

We've made plans.

Who has made plans?

We have to leave today.

It's the only way.

Who else is leaving?

I am.

Is it true?

They won't get across without my help.

You, Mariano?

Yes.

You are all insane.

You know nothing about the Arctic. You'll never get anywhere.

There's a grave in the ice for all of you.

What you're really doing is committing suicide.

What about Cecioni, your comrade? Are you just going to abandon him here?

Now, think, before you go out there and destroy yourselves.

Think.


THIS WAY.

RUN THE AERIAL TOWARDS THE STORE-HOUSE.


KEEP QUIET!

S.O. S... S.O.S.

I'VE HEARD THEM.

RING THE BELLS!

I HAVE THEIR POSITION. RING THE BELLS!


MESSAGE TO MOSCOW.

URGENT. HAVE PICKED UP RADIO SIGNAL FROM NOBILE.

HIS APPROXIMATE POSITION...

General Nobile and his small band of explorers... who vanished four weeks ago may still be alive.

A Russian radio amateur has picked up an S.O. S... from members of the crew of the ill-fated Italia.

General Nobile's return from the dead has stirred the world.

In Moscow, it's been announced that the heavy icebreaker Krassin... under the command of the Arctic explorer Samoilovich... is ready for immediate sailing.

But this new hope must be sobered by the fact... that even a few days more exposure on the ice... may result in the death of General Nobile and his men.

There's some money.

Would you please give it to my wife?

But tell her not to spend it.

Always the joker, Biagi.


We'll move fast.

Our only thought will be to bring help to you.

We'll meet you in Kingsbay.

Please...

Give it to the nurse at the hospital at Kingsbay.

Valeria. Why do you give it to me?

You intend to be back before us... don't you?

Good luck to you.


I HAVE PERMISSION. I MUST GET THROUGH.

NOBODY CAN GET THROUGH.

I AM TO GO ON BOARD THE "KRASSIN."

IT WAS I WHO HEARD THE S.O.S. FROM NOBILE.


YOU PROMISED TO TAKE ME.

YOU PROMISED TO TAKE ME WITH YOU.


She's called the Krassin.

Expects to be here in five days.

She's... the biggest icebreaker in Europe.

Biagi. You've done it.

They've heard you.

We're safe.


THE PROPELLORS. SOMETHING'S WRONG WITH THE PROPELLORS.

SEND MESSAGE: HEAVY ICE BLOCKING THE WAY. SAMOILOVICH.

I'VE ORDERED THE PLANE TO BE MADE READY FOR TAKE-OFF.

I WON'T ALLOW YOU TO FLY.

WHY?

THE PLANE IS THE LAST RESORT. I CANNOT RISK IT TOO SOON.


THE LEFT PROPELLOR IS BADLY TWISTED... THE RUDDER IS ALSO DAMAGED.

The Krassin's damaged.

She's making emergency repairs, and then she's going back.

No. Be quiet.

Biagi, you must try again to transmit.

I can't do anything, General. The battery is dead...

like us.

Did you feel that, Sergeant Biagi?

Yes, sir.

Then you're not dead.


I thought you would like to see this young lady, Dr. Amundsen.

Why? She has come from Kingsbay.

I'm a friend of Finn Malmgren.

Excuse me while I change.

So, you're friendly with young Finn Malmgren?

Yes.

More than friendly.

I'm glad.

I always thought Finn would die a bachelor.

But you must face the probability... that he's dead now.

No. He isn't dead.

If he were, I would know it.

Nonsense.

Will you come and look for them?

You can't suppose that I haven't thought of it.

Then? No.

Finn said you were ruthless.

You're needed, Dr. Amundsen.

That is a weapon you might use against Finn, not me.

I think you're very alike. You're wrong.

My dear, airplanes are the only hope now. And I know nothing about airplanes.

You know everything about the Arctic, they say.

They speak very foolishly. I'm never going back there.

I've come to think that human beings have no business in the Arctic.

This shocking disaster confirms me.

It's a horrible place.

Finn said it was pure and beautiful... and that only you were fit for it.

You're very unscrupulous.

Finn Malmgren was my friend. Is.

I don't think so.

And General Nobile, I actually introduced to the Arctic.

And to that extent, that very limited extent... do I feel responsible.

Finn said you were totally responsible.

No, I have my work to do for the living.

I will not risk my own life looking for the dead.

I'm not responsible.

They've been three weeks on the ice now. Have you any idea what that means?

Yes.

You have no idea, otherwise you wouldn't be here.

The icebreaker, the Krassin, was their last hope.

Their last.

No.

Finn also said that to want to be like Amundsen was ambitious... but not silly.

You are quite the most unprincipled young woman I've ever met.

Tell me, how is Kingsbay now? Horrible.

It's full of tourists. Tourists?

Souvenir hunters.

People are strange.

Then you'll come?

Tell me.

If I'm lost... will you feel responsible?

No.

Good.

Take the goggles for a while. You need them.

Better two good pairs of eyes, than three, only half good.

Please, take them.

Take them.

No. We must walk on.

Malmgren! Mariano, quick.

Help! Help me!

Mariano, hurry. Quickly.

Get his other hand, Mariano. That's it. Now, pull.

Quickly, pull.

That's it.

Cut my boots.

My bag. Hurry.

Hurry!

Cover him. Cut his boots. Yes.

You'll be all right, Malmgren.

You must massage his legs hard.

Hurry.

Look. There he is.

Good luck.

Is there any hope? Very little.

If there's no hope, why are you leaving?

I didn't say there was no hope. I said very little.

You are flying to Kingsbay now... but when do you intend to take off on your search?

As soon as Monsieur Guilbaud tells me the weather is fit.

But surely it's not just a question of weather, but of courage.

Too much or not enough courage in the Arctic is equally fatal.

Perhaps that's the fascination. It demands a balance.


I'm blind.

My eyes. I can't see.

My eyes.

You'll be all right in a few days.

You're snow-blind. It'll pass.

Use my glasses.

Lift your head, Behounek.

What is it? Is it a plane?

It's a plane.

They found us! Took them three bloody weeks!

We're over here! They found us!

Over here!

He's turning!

It's got to see us. It's got to.

Come back. God, he's missed us. He's going.

Come back!

Come back. I can't hear.


Skoal.

You're Swedish?

What?

How can they? Why shouldn't they?

Still...

After what we heard last night...

You can still ask me to fly off after him to find your boyfriend... after what we heard last night?

Yes.

What will you give me... if I do?

What do you want?

All right. You've got a deal.

You don't much fancy me, do you? No.

But if I find young Malmgren, we've got a deal?

This guy Malmgren, I have to see.

Malmgren.

Go on.

Go on.

Wait. Let him rest a bit.

I want to lie here.

We're not saving him.

He's killing us.

When the time comes... shall I let you lie there?

Take them.

They are more useful to you.

Take them, if you are to live.

Add them to the pack.

Mariano.

It's all right, Mariano. Take them.

Zappi, help me dig my grave.

Otherwise the bears... will eat my flesh.

Here.


Go now.

We will wait.

We'll wait.

Let's say a prayer. Are you Catholic?

I'm not even a Christian.

I'll baptize you. No.

You must not die without God.

For me, there's no religion, there is humanity.

I'll baptize you.

In the name of the Father... No.

...and of the Son... No.

...and of the Holy Ghost.

Amen.

Amen.


Hurrah!


Gentlemen, I admire your courage and endurance.

Cecioni, get ready. Come on.

I've brought some food and drinks... for those who have to stay behind a little bit longer.

How many seats on the plane?

One.

Are you Biagi? Yes.

Congratulations. You're a father.

Biagi. Boy?

Girl. A daughter.

How's my wife? I think everything was normal.

Congratulations.

Which one of you is Malmgren?

Malmgren is one of the three that tried to go out on foot.

What?

Good luck to him.

General, your engineer's idling my engine. Can't risk shutting it off.

We must hurry. Please get ready. Now, boys... give us a great big smile.

Come on. Smile.

Thank you.

What are you doing with him? He goes first.

There must be some mistake. You go first.

There's nothing to worry about.

The field is excellent, weather perfect.

Six flights, and you'll all be in Kingsbay.

Cecioni is injured. You'll take him.

The man weighs about 100 kilos. If he goes, I'd have to stay here.

All right.

Cecioni, sorry.

You'll take Dr. Behounek.

He's snow-blind. General?

Kingsbay is in shambles. There's no one in charge.

If you want those three wandering boys of yours found... you better fly back with me and take over.

No, you'll take Dr. Behounek.

I take you or no one.

I see.

What's your interest in this?

Those poor bastards you sent out on the ice are my interest.

I sent no one out on the ice! No? Who did?

They went of their own initiative. I thought you were in charge here.

General, the Krassin is stuck out there... I know that.

That's right. Samoilovich is an old buddy of yours, isn't he?

Yes, I know him. So you can talk to him from Kingsbay.

You make them move their asses! I think you should go, General.

No.

I'll take off in five minutes, with or without you.

I'm not going to share Amundsen's fate.

Wait.

Amundsen?

Amundsen has been lost looking for you.

I didn't know that he was here.

We took off in clear weather... but we flew into an Arctic storm.

It took us north.

It took us beyond radio contact with Kingsbay.

It took us to the wreckage of your airship.

Strange, was it not?

Hard to write off as mere chance.

Still, presumably it was chance.

When we saw the wreckage, it was difficult to know what we should do.

To land was dangerous... but it was just as dangerous, almost as dangerous... to stay in the air in the grip of that wind.

And we could see people.

So I ordered my pilot to land... and we crashed.

My pilot was killed.

Guilbaud was his name. A Frenchman.

Very brave and amusing.

The people we had seen had looked quite lifelike from the air.

At least it had seemed possible that there was life in them... and impossible not to land and find out.

Now, it was very clear that life had left them long ago.

I could find no food, nor means of making fire.

So it was just a matter of time.

Luckily, I did find something to help me pass the time.

The book was a bit theatrical, wasn't it?

And for whom would I have been performing?

For yourself.

But that's not theatrical. That's necessary.

The trick is to choose a good part.

Bravo!

Did you see them? Did you see them, Lundborg?

How many people?

Are they alive? Are they all alive?

Hooray!

How many did you see?

General Nobile.

It's the General.

Nobile.


RADIOGRAM - NOBILE IS IN KINGSBAY Kingsbay?

THANK GOD. ONE OF THEM IS SAFE.

Captain Romagna?

Why wasn't I awakened?

You left an order, sir. Well, I...

Never mind.

The weather has changed. It has.

Is flying possible? No, sir. Not in this weather.

Even Lundborg wouldn't dare risk it.

Operator.

Sir? I want a met report immediately.

How soon can you make contact with the Krassin?

Now, sir. Well, do it!

Captain...

I want five land parties organized immediately.

One can take the tractors, four with dogs.

I also want to see your logbook. General?

These are your orders. Orders? What orders?

From Rome.

"In view of your extraordinary conduct...

"in abandoning the men in..."

It would be best, for the time being, for me to continue in command.

What do they think that I've done?

They think you have done... what you have done, I suppose.

Sir.

Sir. The Krassin.

No. Message.

Nobile. Samoilovich. Personal.

Message begins, urgently request...

No. Cancel. Cancel that.

My dear Samoilovich.

In the name of friendship... and those who are dead...

I implore you to save the lives of my men.

Samoilovich, if your ship is capable of movement...

I beg you, at any reasonable risk... proceed there and save them.

Umberto Nobile.

Difficult decision? Yes. But no, not really.

General, the facts were these.

I did not know where they were.

But I told you where they were!

By then, the ice was on the move, as much as 20 miles a day.

I only knew where you had left them.

Secondly, the ice was melting.

Thaw followed by freeze-up.

At such a time, a ship which can't keep moving... can be caught and crushed like a cardboard carton.

Thirdly, my ship could only move at half speed.

My decision was to put back to the nearest port.

Unfortunately, before leaving Leningrad...

I had taken on board an airplane... and... a hero.

He wanted to try and take off and see if he could find them.

I agreed that if he should see them... within two days' sailing distance of the Krassin... we would try to reach them.

It was their own lives they were risking... and that is always seductive.


They've seen us.

They've seen... Zappi.

Zappi, don't leave me.

Zappi.

TRANSMIT "KRASSIN": HAVE SIGHTED THE GROUP OF THREE.

RETURNING TO SHIP BECAUSE OF FOG.

KRASSIN HERE. HAVE RECEIVED YOU. REPEAT CO-ORDINATES.

THEY HAVE FOUND THE GROUP OF THREE.

Hooray!

The plane, Romagna. Can it land?

No. The pilot is attempting to return to the Krassin.

Attempting? Why attempt? There is fog.

He can't land.

You can come to the wireless room if you like, General.

No, thank you. I'll stay here.

As you wish.

Oh, God.

LIGHT YOUR FIRES! HURRY UP. LIGHT YOUR FIRES.

TIME IS GETTING SHORT.

TRANSMIT TO "KRASSIN": THERE IS TOO MUCH FOG.

WILL LOOK FOR OTHER LANDING AREA!

FLARES... MORE FLARES.

HURRY WITH THE FLARES... MORE FLARES.


STAND BY FOR CRASH LANDING!


FOUR HOURS ARE UP... THEIR FUEL IS UP TOO!

LISTEN, CHUKNOWSKI...

LISTEN TO ME... STOP WALKING.

LEAVE ME ALONE.

SAMOILOVICH IS CALLING AGAIN. SO WHAT?

HE WANTS TO SPEAK TO YOU.

I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY TO HIM. WE ARE ALL RIGHT.

WHAT DO I TRANSMIT?

HE SHOULD CONTINUE TOWARDS THE ITALIANS.

HE WANTS TO PICK US UP FIRST. HE DEMANDS OUR POSITION.

HE'S LIKE AN OLD WOMAN...

TRANSMIT: THE SITUATION OF THE GROUP OF THREE IS DESPERATE.

YOU WILL GET OUR POSITION ONLY AFTER YOU RESCUE THE OTHERS.

REGARDS, CHUKNOWSKI.

BUT YOU HAVE SENT HIM YOUR REGARDS ALREADY!

WELL, THEN... KISSES!


Get the food out! And Some blankets!

The blankets! Pull them out.

I'll take that.

Get the food out! All the food you can get!

Troiani, help Behounek.

We're going down.

Just let me try it.

Here, Biagi, the radio.

Come on, there's no time!

You fool, come on!

Throw everything clear.


You are Valeria.

He asked me...

I had hoped to give you this sooner.

He's dead.

He asked me to give it to you.

I'm sorry.

Finn would have said a general has no right to be sorry.

Malmgren, if he were able to talk, would exonerate me to you.

You cracked like the ice, General Nobile.

You have no reason to say that.

You know nothing about it.

The ground rising up to meet us, the screaming of the ship... the unconsciousness of the crash.

A general in this situation... were he Napoleon, would sit and wait.

But this is not true! You allowed them to leave.

I understand you're deeply hurt.

You brought them all in and could only bring yourself out.

Yes, I am hurt, General.

You and I will never meet again, I hope!

And I hope you never forget.


It's a ship.

Troiani.

It's a ship.

They've come.

A ship. We're saved.


I'll be going to see my daughter.

Already safely on board the Krassin... were Zappi, Mariano, and the Russian airmen.

They were all safe.

And you'd been safe for two weeks, General.

Now, the charges are... failure to exercise command... desertion, and cowardice.

What's the verdict?

Samoilovich?

We judge a man by his actions... and action by its results.

He left his men and went to Kingsbay... where he radioed to me.

The result of his radio call to me... was the rescue of the survivors.

The action, therefore, was correct.

Now, how would you describe Chuknowski's action?

Heroic.

A second-in-command is allowed to be heroic.

The rank and file are required to be heroic.

But their leader has no right to risk the lives of his men... by personal acts of heroism.

A leader must be correct.

Then the ideal leader would be a computer.

Samoilovich, your verdict.

In our opinion, we have no right to judge General Nobile.

Just too bad.

They don't want to take any part in the jury.

But the others have to judge.

Guilty.

Guilty.

Guilty. Guilty.

The jury is unanimous.

But I discount the verdict.

What? Why do you discount the verdict?

Take yourself, for instance, Captain Zappi.

You are clearly an officer of great initiative... and perhaps you should have led an expedition of your own.

Thank you.

But as a second-in-command...

I personally wouldn't take you on an expedition across a municipal park.

'Tis a thousand pities that the merely reliable Captain Romagna... was not in your place.

Thank you.

And a million pities that Captain Zappi was not in yours.

Lieutenant Lundborg... why did you so urgently persuade the General to save his own life first?

Daren't you answer?

You disappoint me.

Yes.

Yes, I've heard it said that I was paid a lot of money.

Yes? By whom?

By an insurance company who would have had to pay a lot more... if the General had lost his life.

You did it for money, then.

If I did, I wouldn't be ashamed of it.

Men are risking their necks for fame, a medal... promotion, or money. What's wrong with money?

Just a means to happiness.

But you don't look like a happy man, exactly.

More like a man who's learned to be indifferent to unhappiness.

I'm glad you know it all, Mr. Amundsen.

But you see, a man who is indifferent to his own unhappiness... is indifferent to everything.

That is why she preferred Dr. Malmgren... but Dr. Malmgren was in love with purity, as I was once.

And purity is sterile. Nothing can grow in it... not even love.

She would have been a lot more happy if you had been less pure.

Finn... you should have given her a fortnight's ordinary pleasure... and left her with a pleasant memory.

But as it was, you left her to a lifetime of regret.

And now she is... as you all are, bitter... and unfit to judge.

It seems the jury is dismissed.

I don't want to be misunderstood, General... and I wish you... a very good night.

I have enjoyed this session, General. Ask me again, anytime.

You know, you haven't helped me, either. You discount the verdict.

But I cannot sleep. Look...

Samoilovich pointed out the good result of what you did.

But it doesn't help.

What keeps you awake is why you did it.

Yes.

Yes.

Why did you do it?

To help my men.

Of course.

But when you got into Lieutenant Lundborg's aircraft... you were thinking of... what?

I can't remember. Try.

Good heavens, I was thinking of 1,000 things.

For example... were you thinking that by deserting your men... you could possibly save them?

Yes.

And you were also thinking of the possibility of your disgrace.

Of course.

There were 50 good reasons for staying and 50 for leaving.

No.

There were 50 for staying, 51 for leaving.

You left.

Which was the 51st reason? I can't say.

At the moment of takeoff, which reason was most vivid?

Not the most important now, but the most vivid then.

I can't remember. Try. You're in the air.

You're thinking of Lundborg's promise. Six flights, and they'll all be safe.

And the weather?

If the weather doesn't hold, the Krassin is still the best chance.

You're thinking of me?

You, the three on foot... the men in the keelson.

The planes must cover the map square by square.

Yes. They need you back in Kingsbay.

Ground parties must be organized, and Captain Romagna must...

Go on.

Oh, my God!

I was thinking of a hot bath at Kingsbay.

Of course.

And that was the reason for not going.

You made a mistake.

Just a mistake. But, my friend, what a moment to make it.

You despise me? Despise you?

If you'd said anything else, I wouldn't have believed you.

You'd been four weeks on the ice.

There was a hot bath 50 minutes away.

No. It wouldn't have been human not to have thought of it.

But you see, when we take up leadership, we forfeit the right to be human... and nobody who's fit to lead can do that.

Perhaps leadership is a crime. If it is, then we are both guilty.

The only difference between us is that...

I had the good luck to die soon after Guilbaud.

And if I had the misfortune to be still alive...

What would you do? Forgive myself... and sleep.

Sleep, my friend.

That's the proper thing.

And dream.

Of what?

Of all the things that we attempted.

Great things.

And of the things that we saw.