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Comments about the soundtrack for The Hunt for Red October (Basil Poledouris)

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Re: English or Russian
• Posted by: Dylan Clements   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Tuesday, February 17, 2004, at 11:54 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: English or Russian (Jennifer)

> I noticed that at the beginning of the movie those aboard the Red October
> are speaking in Russian. A few moments later they are speaking in English.
> Is this switch for the benefit of the English audience? I don't know if
> this question makes sense but... When I hear the Russians aboard the Red
> October speak in English are they actually speaking in Russian? It does
> not make sense to me that the Russian crew members speak English. I would
> appreciate anyones input.

If you will recall the sequence, the russian political officer Ivan Putin (played by Peter Firth) is reading an excerpt from Ramius' copy of the book of Revelations:

(spoken in Russian, subtitled) "Behold, I come like a thief!...Then they gathered them... together in a place ... called"

(spoken in english) "Armageddon. And the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a voice cried out from heaven, saying, 'It is done!'"

Meanwhile the camera zooms in to a close up on the political officers mouth stopping at the name Armageddon and then returning to it's orignal view.

I remember thinking at the time that it was a rather elegant way of shedding the constant need for subtitles throughout the rest of the film. Of course they are speaking Russian; this was a Soviet Ballistic Missile submarine. However, given that it was a largely, if not entirely, an english speaking cast acting in a American production, adapted from a book written in English, and was being released to an English speaking audience, I don't think the decision to drop the subtitles was confusing.

As a interesting aside, when the Americans arrive on board the submarine, the Russians return to speaking Russian with subtitles, which allows Jack Ryan to explain that he speaks a little Russian and also allows Ramius to demonstrate that he speaks e\English. From that point on, the few Russian characters with lines are actually speaking English, which explains why the Americans can understand them. Remember that the Russians who remained on board, with one notable exception, were planning to defect to the United States, so it is reasonable to imagine that many of them would have learned to speak some English.

Comments in this Thread:     Expand >>
  • English or Russian  (12492 views)
       Jennifer - Saturday, November 15, 2003, at 9:43 p.m.
    •    Re: English or Russian  (10828 views)
         Tony - Wednesday, May 4, 2005, at 8:36 p.m.
    •      Re: English or Russian  (12052 views)    We're Here
         Dylan Clements - Tuesday, February 17, 2004, at 11:54 p.m.
    •    Re: English or Russian  (11153 views)
         Chris - Thursday, November 27, 2003, at 8:06 a.m.

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