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Josef von Sternberg
Anna May Wong
This documentary picked up a Best Cinematography Oscar and rightfully so as some of the shots are just downright breathtaking. The documentary covers the year-long journey of Rear Admiral Richard Byrd as he tracks down to the South Pole where he attempts to become the first person to fly over it. The documentary picks up as the ship leaves New York and we pretty much see their not so good life for the next year as they struggle to build up their shelters as well as having to deal with the low temperatures and of course actually building the plane to try and make it fly. I think history buffs are certainly going to get a kick out of seeing this footage as there's no question that it's pretty remarkable getting to see this historic event. The cinematography really puts you right there as there are some terrific shots of the wildlife and some footage showing how dangerous everything is. Just take a look at some of the shots during the two blizzards that are shown and you're really amazed that no one was killed. There's also quite a bit of humor added in the title cards (the film is silent) in regards to the low temperatures and there's a funny sequence where we see some spring cleaning and we get to see how they get a hot bath. The Aeriel footage is another major plus. The film starts off with a talking sequence with Byrd delivering a speech about his journey. This is probably the worst sequence because of how badly he struggles to read the cue cards. His eyes are constantly looking over to the cards and even worse is how he has to break sentences up to look over and see where to pick up again. Still, the actual images is what makes this film so special and worth viewing.
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