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Catching The Cold War: The Culture of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Posted November 28, 2011 to photo album "Catching The Cold War: The Culture of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"

The Cold War paranoia that permeates TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY was a focus of a series of fascinating books and films created in post-war Europe and America.

Taking the Temperature of Cold War Culture
The Moral Quagmire: THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD
Potential Fallout: FAIL SAFE
Paranoia Pulp: KISS ME DEADLY
Sex and the Soviet: From Russia with Love
Peace in a Pod: INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS
Cold War Campaign: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE
At Long Last: POINT OF ORDER
Cold War On The Rocks: TOPAZ
Cold War Meltdown: THE FOURTH PROTOCOL
The Cold War Capsized: THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER
The Cold War Capsized: THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER

The Cold War Capsized: THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER

The last film of the Cold War era was John McTiernan’s THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, released in 1990 just as Eastern Bloc revolutions and the glasnost-era caused the Communist Party to formally relinquish its hold on Soviet State power. (Fearing audience’s confusion over the sudden geopolitical shift, the film’s producers tacked on opening titles explaining that the film is set in 1984, during the Cold War.) In THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, based on John Clancy’s novel, a Soviet commander, Ramius (Sean Connery) goes rogue, steering his submarine towards the North Atlantic where he plans to defect, turn over the sub’s sophisticated “first strike” technology to the West, and slow the arms race. (The film’s “Red October” was based on a new fleet of Russian nuclear subs that could fire missiles from beneath polar ice sheets undetected by satellite.) The Russians, meanwhile, fear that Ramius may launch the sub’s missiles on the U.S. and implore the American military to help destroy it. CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) is the only one who believes that Ramius may be defecting and works to save Ramius and the sub. But while the Cold War may have wound down in the early ‘90s, as in the U.S., Soviet defense department procurements moved at a slower pace. The typhoon-class submarine that inspired the movie was only scrapped in 2011, reports The Telegraph. The aging fleet was a victim of budget cuts as well as the most recent START treaty, which limits the size of nuclear fleets.