Drama / Foreign (1960) 97 minutes ~ Black & White
Original Title: Neotpravlennoye pismo
Alternate Title: Letter Never Sent
A group of Soviet geologists are deposited by plane in Siberia to search for diamond beds. Konstantin Sabinin, the group leader, spends the bleak days and nights composing an interminable letter to his wife back home. The other members of the party include Andrey and Tanya, who are in love, and Sergey, the guide, who also falls in love with Tanya, creating tension within the group. After months of backbreaking work and fruitless searching, Tanya finds a tiny crystal. Rejoicing in their discovery, the four forget the hardships of their search. On their way home, however, they are trapped by a forest fire, and Sergey dies saving the supplies. The others resume their trek through autumn rains which turn to mud the trails that might have led them out of the forest. Andrey becomes seriously ill, and, to avoid placing an additional burden on Tanya and Sabinin, he slips away to die alone in the woods. With the coming of winter, Tanya also dies. More dead than alive, Sabinin makes his way to a river, fashions a makeshift raft, and, with a map of the diamond beds fastened to his chest, gives himself to the mercy of the current. He floats unconscious among the ice floes until at last he is spotted by helicopter and rescued.
Director: Mikhail Kalatozov
Writers: Grigori Koltunov, Valeri Osipov and Viktor Rozov
Stars: Tatyana Samojlova, Yevgeni Urbansky, Innokenti Smokunovsky