Saturday, July 2, 2016

Now That You Know Who Saul Goodman is, Go Watch Ice Station Zebra

Kim Drexler’s favorite movie in Better Call Saul and the name of Saul Goodman’s shell corporation, (“you can make the check out to Ice Station Zebra Associates,”) Ice Station Zebra (1968) is a Cold War submarine movie about recovering data from a downed satellite in Greenland before the Commies get to it.
There’s an unapologetic, mid-century, all-male cast with Rock Hudson as Commander James Ferraday, professional bully Ernest Borgnine as Boris Vaslov, the Russian defector (he played so many loudmouth braggarts, but check out his sensitive and Oscar winning performance in Marty, 1955), Patrick "Number 6” McGoohan as Jones, the shadowy MI-6 agent, and Jim Brown from The Dirty Dozen (1968) and 100 Rifles (1969 with Raquel Welch) as Captain Anders, the USMC officer in command of the recovery operation.
The atmosphere is tense and claustrophobic, but with a surprising amount of action for a submarine.  Trust issues, power struggles and a lack of shared information lead to disastrous results.  Oh, and did I mention there may be a saboteur aboard?  Directed by the legendary John Sturges, who you know from classics like Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), The Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Great Escape (1963).   From the novel by Scottish writer Alistar MacLean, The Guns of Navaronne (1961) and my favorite war movie of all time, Where Eagles Dare (1968).

This is your saturday series of quick movie picks designed to both entertain and up your cinematic street cred.  You’re welcome.