This first Italo-Russian co-production deals with the 1928 rescue of an Italian Polar expedition stranded by a dirigible crash. Some spectacularly beautiful Arctic footage, plus an exciting personal story of survival, make the production compelling and suspenseful.
Framework of the script is metaphysical; a sort of rugged adventure yarn in a Jean-Paul Sartre setting. Peter Finch plays General Nobile, an Italian Arctic explorer who is lost in the North Atlantic wastes. Years later, his nightmares about the incident summon up phantoms of those involved with him.
Sean Connery plays Roald Amundsen, a fellow explorer who died in search for Finch; Claudia Cardinale plays a nurse who was in love with one of Finch’s crew; and Hardy Kruger is a daredevil rescue pilot whose motivations in rescuing Finch before his men creates an international scandal.
Connery plays an aged man very convincingly. Kruger and Cardinale supply key plot motivations, but the heaviest burden is on Finch; he is excellent in a characterization which demands many moods, many attitudes.