For this week’s assignment, I chose to watch The Hunt for Red October, starring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin. As the film started, typing came onto the screen with the sound of a typewriter. I immediately knew that this film would have some interesting sound effects that would really pull the narrative together.
Sound is essential to this movie because the entire plot revolves around trying to search for the “sound” of a potentially lethal Russian submarine. They try to use sonar to track it, but the “caterpillar” technology makes the newer submarine essentially silent. Thus, it is nearly impossible to track it using traditional sonar technology.
Both diegetic and non-diegetic sound was used throughout this movie. Below are two notable scenes in which the sound had a notable impact on the narrative.
The first scene I noticed was when the caterpillar technology broke down: Non-diegetic sound was first used as viewer sees the submarine gliding through the water. It had heavenly sounding music that really emphasized its majesty and power as it gracefully drove through Thor’s twins.
However, then the scene switches to inside the sub, and diegetic sounds overwhelm the viewer with a loud thud. Suddenly, it appears that the submarine has perhaps hit something, and banging noises and other sounds get louder and louder, almost to the point where you can barely hear the dialogue. Some non-diegetic music also seems to be present, which creates a sense of “danger” or “urgency.” All of these sounds really make you feel as if you’re in the submarine.
Another notable sound scene was when the Russians are trying to destroy the sub by dropping the torpedo. You can hear the hatch screech open on the plane, and then a splash as the torpedo hits the water. As the torpedo approaches the sub, sonar (or some warning device) begins to beep. This beeping intensifies and correlates with the proximity of the oncoming torpedo, and then a “collision” warning is sounded. These sounds, combined with the up-close shots of the fearful faces of the crew, put me on the edge of my seat and built incredible suspense within the narrative.
Overall, I thought this movie had a lot of twists and turns, and it was definitely packed full of action. It was a great movie!