Dagblaðið 23rd January 1980

‘Out into the unknown’ – television 21.15 Wednesday: Killing and fighting on Icelandic soil


The most impressive show on television next week is undoubtedly the British intelligence series ‘Out into the unknown’, which was filmed in Iceland during the summer of 1978. In addition to the characteristic Icelandic landscape in this spy movie are Icelandic actors who undoubtedly play a major part in making the movie of interest in this country.

The story starts in England. A former employee of British intelligence, Alan Stewart, is forced to deliver a parcel to Iceland. He is threatened that his old enemy, a Russian spy named Kennikin, will be told his location if he does not do what he is told. Also he will be told where to find his Icelandic girlfriend, who lives in Reykjavík.

Immediately Alan Stewart’s arrives in Iceland strange events start to happen. On arrival he is told to go to Reykjavík by way Krýsuvík. The fighting begins on this journey and the action continues from end to end across the country.

The film is distinguished by further violence, murder and fighting. This fairly accurately describes the rest of the film. Out Into the Unknown received mixed reviews in the British press. Despite this, we should still be able to enjoy the series since so much is familiar to the viewers.

The series is in three episodes and is based on the best-seller by Desmond Bagley, which has been released with Icelandic translation. The film’s director is William Brayne and the main parts are played by Ragnheiður Steindórsdóttir and Stewart Wilson.

In addition some Icelanders are also involved, e.g. Steindór Hjörleifsson, Harald G. Haraldsson, Arni Ibsen, Jóna Sverrisdóttir, Lilja Þórisdóttir, Jón Sigurbjörnsson and Flosi Ólafsson. Then there are many other Icelanders who were also involved in scenes in the street and inside restaurants. More will be reported on the series from Wednesday.


Image title: Filming of ‘Out into the unknown’ in Austurstræti during summer 1978. Image: DB Hörður

Gangster action is not my speciality

– says actress Ragnheiður Steindórsdóttir who plays the main female role in ‘Out into the unknown’.

First I rehearsed several scenes here at home, then it was decided that I would travel abroad to start filming. It was the very last scene in the series that was filmed first. We were filming for two months at home, said actress Ragnheiður Steindórsdóttir in an interview with Dagblaðið.

Ragnheiður plays the female lead in the three-part spy thriller Out into the unknown, the show is televised this evening.

-How did you get on using English?

I was at drama school in England for two years and so English was no problem. The Scottish spoken by the filming crew, did however puzzle me, said Ragnheiður.

Ragnheiður said that much fun had happened during the filming here at home. For example, when they filmed at Dettifoss.

There was a group of Germans heading out to see the waterfall. We created so much attention that they completely forgot to look at the waterfall, said Ragnheiður.

-How was the series reviewed abroad?

It is not really worth writing reviews about this type of show. The series was intended and produced as exciting entertainment. The Icelandic landscape was spectacular, and it worked well within the show and I think they have also been well-intentioned with regard to me.

-Are you anxious about criticism here?

No, I don’t think so. It will be interesting to see what the locals think. This can hardly be classified as drama victory for me as gangster action is not my speciality and I cannot think of a gun whilst showing happiness. It’s not possible to have an idea of how it will look whilst the work is in progress. It’s done at great speed and out of sequence, said Ragnheiður.

-Can you imagine acting in other such films?

Yes, I would like to. Although I prefer to act in movies where there is not as much violence. I’ve played roles on television here, mainly in the studio, but it was very different from acting in Out into the unknown, said Ragnheiður.

-What are you doing currently Ragnheiður?

I am currently rehearsing a comedy play to premiere on Saturday night at Austurbæjarbíoí. It is called Clerics in trouble.

-Finally, which is more enjoyable, to act on stage or in front of the cameras?

Well, in my experience acting on stage. Maybe being given the chance to act in this film might change my attitude, said Ragnheiður Steindórsdóttir.


Image title: Ragnheiður Steindórsdóttir: enjoys acting both on stage and in front of the cameras.

Image: DB Jim Smart.

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1. Dagblaðið (1980) ‘Morð og handalögmál á íslenzkri grund’ (23rd January 1980 p. 23) © DV ehf.