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This documentary, filmed entirely by military photographers, recounts the U.S. Navy's 1946-47 expedition to Antarctica, known as Operation High Jump. The expedition was under the overall command of Admiral Richard E. Byrd, no stranger to the Antarctic. This was a large undertaking involving thirteen ships and over four thousand men. The fleet departed from Norfolk, Virginia traveling through the Panama Canal and then southward to their final destination. The trip through the ice pack was fraught with danger and forced the submarine that was part of the fleet to withdraw. The trip was a success meeting all of its scientific goals. The film is narrated by three Hollywood stars, all of whom served in the US Navy: Robert Taylor, Robert Montgomery and Van Heflin.Written by
Footage of U.S. Navy ships identifiable in this documentary include the U.S.S. Mount Olympus (AGC-8), U.S.S. Pine Island (AV-12), U.S.S. Currituck (AV-7), U.S.S. Cacapon (AO-52), U.S.S. Brown (DD-546), U.S.S. Philippine Sea (CV-47), U.S.S. Sennet (SS-408), U.S.S. Merrick (AKA-97), U.S.S. Yancey (AKA-93) and the U.S.S. Brownson (DD-868). Also featured is the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker U.S.C.G.C. Northwind (WAGB-282). See more »
Back in the day when documentary film making was more than some obnoxious twit sticking a video camera in front of celebrities and then editing the content for a political agenda, MGM contributed this classic about Admiral Byrd's post World War II expedition to Antarctica. The film was narrated by three WWII veterans with MGM, Robert Montgomery, Van Heflin, and Robert Taylor.
The men here are assigned some of the most hazardous peace time duty the United States Navy ever had to perform. The polar regions are some of the most forbidding area on our globe. The film captures some real dangers the Navy faced. We see a submarine caught in a frozen ice flow, a rescue of a man being transferred from ship to ship via breecher's buoy when the line snaps and he's tossed into the frozen sea, a crash of one of the planes. This film captures all the hazards of the expedition and the forbidding beauty of Antarctica.
From his transatlantic flights and his early polar expeditions Admiral Richard E. Byrd was a genuine American hero. We probably know more about the geography of the polar regions due to his work than any other individual. After this expedition, Byrd in fact did return to the South Pole as late as two years before he died in 1957.
When TCM broadcasts this, catch it by all means. This is what reality TV is all about.
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