The true story of the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott and his ill-fated expedition to try to be the first man to discover the South Pole - only to find that the murderously cold ... See full summary »
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The true story of the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott and his ill-fated expedition to try to be the first man to discover the South Pole - only to find that the murderously cold weather and a rival team of Norwegian explorers conspire against him Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
The movie is slightly redeemed by John Mills's performance, also a great team of cinematographers. This was done at a time when Scott was still considered, in England, to be something of a hero rather than the bungling martinet he was. The film is rife with romantic inaccuracies. E.g., the schoolgirl who makes the touchingly brave effort to contribute her pennies represented, in reality, a concerted campaign by Kathleen Scott to raise money for the expedition from English schoolchildren after Scott was snubbed by the Royal Geographical Society; Oates, the cavalryman, was disgusted with the condition of the Manchurian ponies purchased by Meares, the dog expert, who warned Scott he had no knowledge of horseflesh; Lieut. 'Teddy' Evans did not *ask* permission for his 4-man party to leave their skis behind, his party was singled out and *ordered* by Scott to depot their skis--an order which Lieut. Evans questioned vigorously; on the ill-fated return journey, Scott was not nearly so solicitous of P.O. 'Taff' Evans's weakening condition as is portrayed and essentially abandoned Taff at the foot of the Beardmore Glacier; and, no mention is made of the rampant symptoms of scurvy that affected the second return party and the polar party--a touchy subject with the Royal Navy.
Perhaps the most offensive inaccuracy is the portrayal of the great Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen as a monosyllabic lout. "I like doogs", he repeats. In reality, Nansen never used dogs himself; it was Amundsen who learned to drive dogs from the natives of Arctic Canada on his Gjoa expedition through the Northwest Passage. What Nansen tried to impress upon Scott was: a) the foolishness of testing motor sledges in the relative warmth of a Norwegian snow field in spring; and, b) the importance of skis, which Scott, up to this point, had no plans to use. It was only by virtue of a demonstration staged by conspiracy between Nansen and Kathleen Scott (the two later had a brief affair), that Scott was persuaded to take the Norwegian skier, Gran, along to teach his men to use skis. Scott then equipped his expedition with skis, took Gran to Antarctica, but never gave him the opportunity to instruct his men.
For a more accurate and far less romanticized enactment, take the time to find and see "The Last Place on Earth", a 7-hour BBC documentary from 1985 based on Roland Huntford's book, "Scott and Amundsen".
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