Vísir 19th January 1980

Behind the scenes during the filming of Út í óvissuna

Filming Út í óvissuna in iceland

“The special effects suprised me the most” says Ágúst Baldursson, assistant to the filmmakers.

Perhaps what surprised me the most were the incredible special effects used in the film. The most terrifying shots were just a few powder charges, and the bullet wounds, small ‘blood bombs’ that ‘victims’ triggered by pressing a button in the palm of their hand,

said Ágúst Baldursson, in a chat with Vísir about the film Út í óvissuna [Running Blind], which was filmed here in the summer of 1978. Ágúst worked as an assistant to the filmamkers and also drove the car for actors in awesome pursuits.

Now we get to see this film, which is based on Desmond Bagley’s book. The first part of the three will be shown on television on Wednesday.

Several Icelandic actors play roles in the film. Ragnheiður Steindórsdóttir plays Elín, which is one of the main roles in the film. Steindór Hjörleifsson, Flosi Ólafsson and Jón Sigbjörnsson also have roles in the film.

Everyone wants to scare the protagonist

The main character of the film is a British secret agent who comes to Iceland. He is hunted by colleagues as well as enemies who are evil Russians. Everyone wants him scared. Despite numerous attempts to catch him, the hero escapes unscathed from the drama, as it should be.

Ágúst said:

One of the first scenes that was filmed in this country was a fight between the main actor Stuart Wilson and Steindór Hjörleifsson, who plays a Russian. Although this scene is only two minutes in the film it took about eight hours to get it on film.

Summer house is blown up

One scene was filmed in the summer house in Þingvellir. It took a lot of effort, when it came to ‘blowing it up’. An exact imitation of the gables of the house was constructed, then special bombs were used to blow it to pieces. The ground was peppered with smoke and craters. After this, burned ruins were created to complete the scene.

Ágúst also told how the protagonist killed an enemy by throwing a knife at him.

The camera was first directed at the enemy as he held the knife, and it looked like the knife had been thrust into his abdomen. Then the knife was thrust into a mannequin. A string had previously been tied to the shaft. The camera was directly focussed on the mannequin when the string was pulled and the knife was pulled out of its abdomen. When this scene is shown backwards it looks as if the knife flies out of the protagonist’s hand into the abdomen of the intruder.

Chase in the Highlands

Some scenes in the film were taken up in the highlands. There is, for example, a great chase in the film, where a plane chases the car used by the British secret agent. There is, of course, a Russian villain in the plane, who in this case is none other than Omar Ragnarsson.

We had all kinds of adventures, for example in Landmannalaugar. There we went out into the river in a jeep across the fjord. As we went further out into the river, it got deeper and the journey ended in such a way that the jeep was submerged and we couldn’t reach the bank on the other side. A bus that was traveling there rescued the jeep from the river.

Towards the end, many had died by order of the director. But it did happen in the last few days, when time was running out, that some things were not able to be completed. It was not possible to shoot the scenes in many cases, but this was fixed during editing.

‘Standins’ played a major role in the film. They were actually two mannequins that were dressed up identically to the man that the spy had killed. The fate of another was to be thrown into Dettifoss.

– KP

Image titles:

From Svaðilför into the highlands (Landmannalaugum). SUV submerged in the river and the bus that recovered it. On the bank stand Ragnheiða Steindórsdóttir and Stuart.

Shooting at Reykjavík Harbour – Pictures Ágúst Baldursson.

Shots were fired at the car’s radiator, and to make it all look it has been hit, smoke is pumped under the hood, so everything looks realistic.

Ágúst Baldursson assisted the filming crew in different ways, e.g. He drove a car in a spectacular chase in the film.

Next: The aircraft, props and vessels used in the tv production


  1. ‘Að tjaldabaki við kvikmyndn á Út í óvissuna’: Vísir, 19 January 1980, p. 1,2; © DV ehf.