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The Epic of Everest (1924)

 -  Documentary  -  1924 (UK)
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The official record of Mallory and Irvine's 1924 expedition.


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Title: The Epic of Everest (1924)

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Credited cast:
Andrew Irvine ...
Himself (mountaineer)
George Mallory ...
Himself (mountaineer)


The official record of Mallory and Irvine's 1924 expedition. When George Mallory and Sandy Irvine attempted to reach the summit of Everest in 1924 they came closer than any previous attempt. Inspired by the work of Herbert Ponting (The Great White Silence) Captain Noel filmed in the harshest of conditions, with specially adapted equipment, to capture the drama of the fateful expedition. Written by BFI

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1924 (UK)  »

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The Epic of Everest  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Compelling Account of a Failed Bid to Conquer Everest
11 November 2013 | by (London) – See all my reviews

Newly restored by the British Film Institute with a specially-composed score, THE EPIC OF EVEREST recounts the failed attempt to scale Mount Everest by Mallory, Irvine and their cohorts. Dating from 1924, the film offers a fascinating insight into attitudes at that time. It begins with a description of arriving in Tibet, and the filmmakers' impressions of the locals; there is a combination of strangeness and colonialism that seems typical of Britain and its people at that time. They considered themselves at once superior to yet somehow inhibited by the presence of different ways of life. As the action unfolds, however, so the tone changes, as the members of the expedition discover just how difficult the task of conquering Everest actually is. Judging from the film, their equipment was rudimentary, to say the least; the mountaineers' outfits of puttees and parkas seems more suited to the Scottish Highlands rather than the Himalayas. In the end the two brave mountaineers who made an assault on the Everest's peak fail to return: the film concludes that perhaps they were thwarted not so much by their own hubris, but by the presence of Everest itself, that resisted any attempt at colonization. This is a fascinating conclusion, perhaps suggesting a gradual dawning in the filmmakers' minds that territories (and peoples) do not automatically submit themselves to imperialist rule. Some of the photography is simply breathtaking, given the equipment available at that time. THE EPIC OF EVEREST is well worth watching as a period-piece as well as an insight into mid-Twenties attitudes and how they could be re-evaluated.

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