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Quotes for
Ernest Shackleton (Character)
from Race for the Poles (2000)

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"Shackleton" (2002)
[Answering a question about his 1908-9 expedition]
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Thank you for your question. You are right, sir, we failed. We failed to reach the South Pole. I turned back. I chose life over death for myself and for my friends, which is why I am here to tell you about it tonight. But others follow in our footsteps Captain Scott, taking our route; the Norwegian, Amundsen, from the Bay of Whales. And if they should fail, then I will try again. Because I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure... would be not to explore at all.

Emily Shackleton: Well?
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Well, what?
Emily Shackleton: How did you do?
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Ahh, one invitation to go to the races, and a request from Mr. Morgan's office to keep in touch with developments. A zero, a naught, nothing.
Emily Shackleton: So what's next?
Sir Ernest Shackleton: I don't know. Rent an office and get started, I suppose.

[using the tea-things to demonstrate the planned expedition]
Sir Ernest Shackleton: And there we will, uh, make a base, and a smaller party will start a march towards the, um...
Janet Stancombe Wills: Scone.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Ah, ah, the scone, precisely. At the same time a second group will land on the other side of the continent, uh, the Ross Sea, and make their way across the Beardmore Glacier towards the Pole, I-I-I mean the, uh, scone, um, laying food depots
[he uses crumbs]
Sir Ernest Shackleton: as they go, so that my party will have supplies for the second half...
[and at this point the dog jumps onto the tableau and starts eating it]

Sir Ernest Shackleton: Yes, well, uh, thank you for seeing me, and, uh, perhaps you will be able to give some thought to the possibility of becoming a sponsor.
Janet Stancombe Wills: Sir Ernest, my contribution towards your exciting adventure is over there on the desk. Please. I'm not the sort of woman to waste a man's time.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Miss Stancombe Wills, I don't know how to thank you.
Janet Stancombe Wills: By succeeding, of course. And perhaps by addressing me in future as Janet.

Sir Ernest Shackleton: But grateful as I am for the generous contribution of this society, this committee must accept that scientists do not pay for science. I make no apology for seeking publicity. Without something that the newsmen can understand and support, there is no public; without the public there are no sponsors; without sponsorship there is *no expedition*.

Sir Ernest Shackleton: You think the threat of war makes it hard to raise money; it doesn't make any bloody difference! If it's not a war, it's a peace, or the stock market, or the weather, or the time of year. It is always hard, because what I do appears unreasonable to other men.

Sir Ernest Shackleton: First let me say that if war is declared, any man who wishes to leave the expedition to serve his country is free to do so. It is clear to me where our first duty lies, and this morning I telegraphed the First Lord of the Admiralty and put our ship, and every one of us, at his disposal. We now await his decision. I hope you will forgive me, but I particularly asked that if he saw fit to employ us in the service of our country, that might he allow us to stay together, erhaps aboard a destroyer. I did this because I can honestly think of no finer group of men with whom to serve.

[reading the telegram]
Sir Ernest Shackleton: From Winston Churchill. There's only one word; Proceed.

Sir Ernest Shackleton: How old are you?
Perce Blackborow: 19, sir, nearly 20. Please don't send me back.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Mr. Blackborow, have you ever been to the Antarctic?
Perce Blackborow: No, sir.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Those of us who have been there -- who have seen men starve, go mad, and die -- are not so BLOODY AMUSED!
Perce Blackborow: No, sir. It's just, I heard you were two men short, so I thought I could help out, like.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Oh, did you? Do you know what starvation is, Mr. Blackborow? Have you ever watched a man eat a biscuit, and want to kill him... for just one crumb of it?
Perce Blackborow: No, sir. I'm sorry, sir.
Frank Wild: We *are* a man short, boss.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Are we? Well, maybe he'll come in useful. If we do face starvation, the stowaway is always the first one we eat, isn't that right, Mr. Wild?
Frank Wild: Yes, boss.
Perce Blackborow: We'd get more meat off you, sir.

[arriving at Grytviken, South Georgia]
Thomas Orde-Lees: It feels like a pirate kingdom.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: They spend half their life on the ocean hunting the greatest creature on the planet, and the other half here, in this stench.
Expedition Member: What an extraordinary way to live.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Not for these men. Madmen, criminals, outcasts of every kind the Calibans of the Pole. But they know the ice.

[after discussing Shackleton's planned route and the ice conditions]
Jacobsen: There is no possibility to reach the bay at the moment. You must wait here for warmer weather.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Well, in England we're used to waiting for warmer weather, aren't we?
Capt. Thoralf: In Norway also.

Sir Ernest Shackleton: And don't expect much night from now on. In two weeks time it will be December 21st, the longest Antarctic day. The sun will be above the horizon for 24 hours. Do not let this affect your sleep; you're going to need it.

[as they prepare to abandon the Endurance]
Thomas Orde-Lees: At least it'll make your book more exciting.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Do you think so?

Sir Ernest Shackleton: My job now is to make sure you all live. Every single one of you. To do that, I cannot afford to be sentimental. If I am, you will die -- die frozen, die starving, die mad. I've seen it before; I do not intend to see it again.

Sir Ernest Shackleton: Frank, we can't carry any more weight.
Frank Hurley: I'm not leaving them behind!
Sir Ernest Shackleton: I have 28 lives to consider.
Frank Hurley: So have I! And one year of each of those 28 lives is in these pictures. What's the point of our survival if there's no record of what's happened? And if we don't make it, then this will be all the life that's left of us! Without these we've done *nothing*, except get lost like a bunch of schoolgirls on a nature ramble.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: How many are there?
Frank Hurley: 520.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Well, perhaps we could take a box.
Frank Hurley: Not enough. 200, you make the selection.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: 100, we make the selection together. Deal?
Frank Hurley: 150. Deal?
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Deal.

Sir Ernest Shackleton: We'll strike camp tomorrow.
Frank Worsley: The men were looking forward to celebrating Christmas, boss.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Then we'll make tomorrow Christmas. I don't want to stay here any longer; it isn't safe. Now we'll have a feast tomorrow, and everything that's not going on the sledges can be eaten.

Sir Ernest Shackleton: What is going on here?
Frank Worsley: McNish, here, feels that there's--
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Get these men back to work, Captain. There's a base up ahead; Charlie's setting up a hooch tent. Now move, and that's an order.
Henry McNish: You've no authority!
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Don't talk to me about authority! Who gave you the authority to have 20 men standing still here freezing? Who gave you the authority to risk their lives while you discuss what you think?! You want to know WHY they're doing what they're doing? *Because I told them to.* If you think that's wrong, then you come to me!
Henry McNish: The cutter's being torn apart!
Sir Ernest Shackleton: I don't care about the bloody cutters! I care about the bloody MEN! THEIR LIVES! That's what I'm responsible for!
Henry McNish: We'll, I'm responsible for my life now, and that means I don't have to accept what some bastard who plants flags in snow for a living thinks I should do!
John Vincent: We haven't got a ship, we haven't got a contract. We don't have to do what you say.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: I'm the leader of this expedition, and your contract is with me, not the bloody ship! Now you do what I say and I will keep you alive. And I *will keep you alive*! But if you threaten my expedition, the lives of my men, if you become the danger... then I will have no hesitation in having you shot.

Sir Ernest Shackleton: After today, nothing will be hard, ever again.

Sir Ernest Shackleton: Chippie... I suppose there's no way we could make the Caird more seaworthy without wood?
Henry McNish: Who says we don't have wood? What do you want to do?
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Make her unsinkable.
Henry McNish: Cover her over, you mean? Like a deck?
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Yes... but I suppose that's impossible.
Henry McNish: Who's the carpenter around here, you or me?

Sir Ernest Shackleton: I'd like to have taken you with me in the Caird.
Frank Hurley: You've chosen a good team.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: You're the expedition photographer,
Frank: I think it right that you stay with the expedition. In some ways you *are* the expedition. I don't know what our chances are in the Caird; evens at best, I suspect. If we die, then what we've done lies with you and your pictures. You are our story. If I don't come back, I want to make sure there's someone there to tell it. I've drawn up this letter: it gives you back the rights to all your pictures and your films if I die.
Frank Hurley: Thank you, I appreciate it.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: It's a trick, of course.
Frank Hurley: Sir?
Sir Ernest Shackleton: I'm not intending to die.

Sir Ernest Shackleton: Incredible, so beautiful. Imagine what people would say in London if one of them came floating up the Thames.
Henry McNish: They'd say, "If there's an iceberg in London, what the bloody hell's happening to Scotland?"

Henry McNish: Where are we now?
Sir Ernest Shackleton: We're on South Georgia. But, unfortunately, the whaling station's on the other side of the island, and there's a mountain in between.
Henry McNish: I knew you shouldn't've been allowed to read a compass on your own!

[descending the snow-covered mountain, they slip and begin sliding down]
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Well, so much for cutting steps. Maybe we could get further on our arses!
Frank Worsley: We don't know what's ahead. There could be a precipice!
Tom Crean: Not according to the map.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: "Not according to the map!"
[laughter]
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Shall we?

[arriving back at Grytviken]
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Do you know me? My name is Ernest Shackleton. We have lost our ship, and come over the island.
Sorlie: Ernest Shackleton! My friend!
[They embrace.]
Sir Ernest Shackleton: I am afraid that we smell a little.
Sorlie: This is a whaling station. We all smell a little.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: We have been away so long. Tell us about the war. When did it end?
Sorlie: The war? The war, my friend, is not over. They've gone mad, Europe has gone mad. They've killed millions and millions of people. It's a war like... no other war.
Frank Worsley: Who is winning?
Sorlie: Well, whoever is left alive at the end. Won't you sit down, please? Please.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Mmm, thank you. I... I need to borrow a ship.

Sir Ernest Shackleton: [arriving at the whaling station] We should take a picture. Frank would want us to take a picture.

Emily Shackleton: What do you call her? What do you call her?
Sir Ernest Shackleton: What?
Emily Shackleton: Her nickname.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Mouse.
Emily Shackleton: Everybody has a bloody nickname with you. Everybody, except me. Do you know, one of your men asked me what mine was, and I had to say I didn't have one? And he asked, what would I choose? I said, 'Honey.' Isn't that pathetic?

Sir Ernest Shackleton: I love you. I couldn't go on without you, and that is the truth. But, I don't know what to do.
Emily Shackleton: You have to go, I know you do. If you didn't, who would you be?