Yesterday Digital Bits editor Bill Hunt reported that Warner Home Video has set the “cold war classic” Ice Station Zebra for Bluray release on 10.9. Those three words make Hunt sound like a kiss-ass. Shot in 70mm and released in a roadshow format with an overture and a general air of pomposity, Ice Station Zebra (10.23.68) was mostly regarded as a mediocrity. Read Roger Ebert’s review…read anyone’s. And don’t listen to any fanboy crap about it being a guilty pleasure.
Yes, any film shot in 70mm (Daniel L. Fapp delivered the stately, studio-house-style cinematography) warrants consideration as a Bluray, but the only truly good thing about this film is Michel Legrand‘s score.
John Sturges directed from a script based on by Alistair MacLean‘s 1963 novel of the same name, and co-written by MacLean, Douglas Heyes, Harry Julian Fink and W.R. Burnett.
Rock Hudson phones it in as a sub commander. He’s never seemed more narcotized and disconnected and bored. Hudson could deliver when motivated, but when he was bad he really stunk. He was sufficient in Giant and in those Douglas Sirk melodramas, and he peaked in those Doris Day comedies, but load him down with rote dialogue in a lead-balloon film like Ice Station Zebra, and he was almost the Rob Pattinson of his day.
Patrick McGoohan‘s played another perverse intellectual nutter, and was the only one with any snap or bite. Ernest Borgnine and Jim Brown were wasted.
Here’s Legrand’s overture:
And here’s the core of the exposition: