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The Great White Silence (1924)

| Documentary | 1924 (UK)
In 1910 the British Antarctic Expedition, led by Capt. Robert F. Scott, embarks from Lyttleton, NZ on a quest to become the first to reach the South Pole.

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Robert Falcon Scott ...
Himself
Herbert G. Ponting ...
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This early full-length documentary from filmmaker Herbert G. Ponting follows Captain Robert F. Scott and his famed expedition to be the first to reach the South Pole. The expedition left New Zealand in 1910 and arrived at the Antarctic shelf some three months later. Ponting not only shows many sites along the way - sea life, their ship cutting through the ice pack - but also manages to explain some of his techniques by showing how he obtained a particular shot. The climate is harsh and the trek to the Pole is arduous. Disappointment lies in store for Scott and his men when they arrive at the Pole and the arduous return proves deadly. Written by garykmcd

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1924 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El gran silencio blanco  »

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(tinted)

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1.33 : 1
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

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Important film but dull viewing
13 September 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I'd like to be able to say this was a great film but in all honesty I can't. At least half of it is taken up by Ponting anthropomorphising about the animals he filmed. Scott's push for the pole and tragic end are depicted from footage by Ponting but he did not go with them so it isn't any better than modern reconstructions in documentaries. The best bits are the contemporary footage of the early preparations and passage to Antarctica. The choice of music for the soundtrack is pretty dire – the Vaughn Williams score for the John Mills film would have been predictable but would have been better.

This is the film as released in 1924 and as such is an important historical artefact so I shouldn't complain too much. However, a better treatment would be to use the best material in a documentary and release it on DVD/Blu-Ray with the full original as bonus material for those who really want to see the whole thing. As a viewing experience for a modern audience it's pretty dull and doesn't tell you what you really want to know.


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