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Ice Station Zebra (1968)
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 1:32 pm    Post subject: Ice Station Zebra (1968) Reply with quote




Big-budget, all-star, action-packed adventure about an American submarine sent to the North Pole to retrieve a downed satellite which contains a roll of film both Russia and America desperately want to possess.

Rock Hudson is the sub commander, Patrick McGoohan is the cynical secret agent with a dry wit, Jim Brown is a hard-nosed Marine captain, Earnest Borgnine is a Russian defector working with the Americans.

Great sets, good special effects, a terrific score by Michel Legrand, and an action-packed screenplay by Douglas Heyes, based on Alistair MacLean's best-selling novel. Directed by John Sturges. Plus it was original released in Cinerama!

The various versions of the poster for this movie by artist Robert McCall are all spectacular.










McCall is famous for his stunning paintings depicting space scenes -- both factual and fictional, and many that combine the real and the imagined, with gorgeous results.



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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now there's a coincidence! We watched ISZ just last night. (And McCall is one of my favorite illustrators.)
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow!

That explains the strange visions I had while writing my post! I was being, like, telepathic I guess! Shocked

No, wait -- I had those strange visions while writing the post for The Illustrated Man and snacking on the mushrooms I found in the backyard.

My mistake . . . Cool

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Pow
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my fav films is ISZ. Never saw the magnificent poster for it,most impressive.

Also like the theme score for the movie.

Read that Irwin Allen utilized some of the sets for his TV productions.Believe it was ISZ itself.

Charleton Heston turned down the lead role of the submarine commander.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heston would have been good, but The Rock did a fine job. Very Happy
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Krel
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ISZ, the movie that proves that if he hadn't turned the roll down, Patrick McGoohan would have been THE James Bond.

David.
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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
Read that Irwin Allen utilized some of the sets for his TV productions.Believe it was ISZ itself.

That could also have been the waterfront set where the sub was docked prior to setting out on the mission. I think the Seaview was shown at the same dock.
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Krel
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Ice Station Zebra" was filmed at MGM Studios. Irwin Allen produced his shows at 20th Century Fox. I also believe that VTTBOTS was over by time they finished ISZ.

David.
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Rocky Jones
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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This film was the next Cinerama release after 2001:A Space Odyssey, as I recall. I think I may have even seen a trailer for it in summer of '68 when I went to see 2001. Impressed by seeing 2001 in Cinerama, my buddies and I had to come back this one the same way. They made pretty good use of the widescreen process, though not as much as some other films. For one thing, it was mostly shot on a sound stage and did look it, though the Arctic sets were pretty good.

In watching it more recently, it occurred to me that the plot point about recovering film from a spy satellite was very much a piece for the period. Today spy sat data is transmitted and intercepted instantly and probably often picked up by the other side with just an antenna and a computer.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Good trailer for a great movie! Very Happy
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________________ Ice Station Zebra - Trailer


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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Suposedly this was Howard Hugh's favorite movie in his later years. He had his caretakers show it over and over until he passed away.

Weird.....But true!
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Custer
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good movie, in its time, for sure. These guys obviously find it all interesting...

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

IMDB has 55 trivia items for this movie. Here’s a few of the ones I found the most interesting, in the blue text. Very Happy
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~ In the era before VCRs, Howard Hughes would call the Las Vegas TV station he owned and demand they run this particular movie. Hughes so loved this film that it aired on his Las Vegas station over 100 times during his lifetime.

Note from me: Hey, that's what All Sci-Fi needs! Our own TV station so that you guys can PM me with movies requests, along with when you want you selection shown. (Please include date and time, with you time zone).

I'll work out a schedule and post it on the boards, and all the folks who want to share the experience can meet in All Sci-Fi's Chatzy room!

~ Unique and innovative underwater camera equipment was developed for this movie by 2nd unit cameraman and cinematographer 'John M Stephens', a former U.S.A. Navy diver, who is billed in the credits for additional arctic photography.

The camera system enabled the first ever filming of a continuous submarine dive and this technical innovation produced some outstanding photography for the picture. This achievement was encapsulated in an accompanying MGM short promo film The Man Who Makes the Difference (1968) which is available on the DVD for this movie.


Note from me: And by gum, here it is!
Wink

_____ The Man Who Makes the Difference (1968)


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~ In one scene Patrick McGoohan was supposed to dive into the flooded torpedo room of the nuclear sub to rescue a trapped naval officer.

Being a strong swimmer, he insisted on doing the scene himself rather than use a stuntman. A change was made to the script so allowing Olympic swimming champion Murray Rose, who'd been cast in another role, to do the scene with him in case anything happened.

It was only after the scene was completed that Rose revealed that whilst he and McGoohan were standing up to their necks in the rising water just before the cameras rolled, Pat had whispered to him "Now I've done it, my foot's stuck". Rose dived down and freed his foot which had become wedged tight in the torpedo rack.


Note from me: Can't you just hear McGoohan saying that in his wonderful British accent? Laughing






~ Rock Hudson said this was his personal favorite film.

Note from me: I guess part of the reason for Rock's high opinion is the fact that his character is so macho. If is so, that's kinda ironic, ain't it? Wink

~ The movie's plot has similarities with the real life 1962 CIA Project COLDFEET aka Operation Coldfeet. Conducted in May and June of that year, the assignment purpose was to gather intelligence from an abandoned Soviet arctic research ice station.

Two agents parachuted from a B-17 Flying Fortress and searched the facility and were collected three days later via the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system.


Note from me: If was abandoned by the Russians it seems unlikely there was anything of value left behind. Rolling Eyes

~ The film's story has similarities with the real life events, reported in the media in April 1959, of the Discoverer II experimental Corona satellite capsule that went missing and was recovered by Soviet intelligence agents after it crashed near Spitsbergen in the Arctic Ocean.

Note from me: Read about the Project Corona here. It was actually very similar to the concept presented in Ice Station Zebra.

Project Corona: America's first photo reconnaissance satellite

~ The production began with shooting the film in Ultra Panavision (2.76), but soon switched to Super Panavision (2.21). This can be seen in the shots of the Lear jet near the start of the film. The engine intakes which are round have a slight oval shape. This is because the Ultra Panavision was scaled down horizontally to match the Super Panavision aspect ratio.

Note from me: It seems odd that they didn't just crop the ends off the wider image, rather than distort the full Ultra Panavision image to the size of the Super Panavision image to make it fit.

I can always tell when an image on TV has been squeezed or stretched, even slightly. It drives me crazy. Rolling Eyes

~ To do the orbital plane change from an equatorial to a polar orbit described by Jones (Patrick McGoohan) would require an enormous amount of fuel, certainly more fuel than could ever be carried on a practical satellite. Even the tiny orbital plane changes carried out during the Gemini and Apollo programs were extremely costly in fuel, and mission planning always sought to minimize the necessity of such maneuvers.






Note from me: Boy, those science fiction writers always cheat a little, don't they? Gosh, I NEVER do that . . . much. Embarassed

~ In early casting news for Ice Station Zebra (1968), Peck was announced to play the submarine Commander James Ferraday (played by Rock Hudson), while Niven was going to be the British agent David Jones (played by Patrick McGoohan).

Note from me: I can sort of see those two in the roles played by Hudson and McGoohah . . . but I'm glad the casting change was made.

~ When they are waiting for the approaching planes, the first shot is of 5 MIGs in a V, then they become 4 MIGs in a right echelon and then back to a V, but they are F-4 Phantoms in a V.

Note from me: The unimpressive special effects of the miniature MIGs is a distraction for folks who love fine FX and dislike sloppy ones. Those scenes are good examples of why I feel like CGI is capable of doing scenes like those much better — even when it's the kind that some folks might call "poorly done CGI".

The problem here is that it was so painfully obvious the miniatures were anchor to a piece of glass in front the typically shaky aerial photography which bounced around, while the planes were rock steady! Rolling Eyes






Thankfully the underwater scenes were done to perfection!





I was inspired by this idea of a submarine going through an "ice canyon" when I wrote Sail the Sea of Stars in the early 1980s, so I took my starship, the G.S.C. Candlelight down into a canyon on a barren planet to shield it from a bizarre hurricane-like storm on the surface.





~ In an interview, given in 1990 to french student Michael Laborie, director John Sturges said that he did not like Michel Legrand's music for this movie.

Note from me: Hmmm . . . I actually like it quite lot. Different strokes for different folks, I reckon.

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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Sat May 23, 2020 7:18 am; edited 2 times in total
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Pow
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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my favorite lines from the film is by secret agent David Jones to the submarine captain played by Rock Hudson: "The Russians put our camera made by our German scientists and your film made by your German scientists into their satellite made by their German scientists."
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

That's my favorite, too! Very Happy

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