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The Epic of Everest (1924)

Not Rated | | Documentary, History | 1924 (UK)
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The official record of Mallory and Irvine's 1924 expedition.

Director:

J.B.L. Noel (as Captain Noel)

Writer:

J.B.L. Noel (as Captain Noel)
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Cast

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

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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Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site | YoVideo (French)

Country:

UK

Release Date:

1924 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

L'Epopée de l'Everest See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Connections

Featured in Introducing the Epic of Everest (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fascinating footage of the fateful Mallory/Irvine Everest expedition
20 November 2015 | by Red-BarracudaSee all my reviews

This early documentary chronicles a British funded expedition aimed at climbing the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, for the very first time. More specifically, this was the famous doomed expedition of 1924 where George Mallory and Andrew Irvine lost their lives somewhere just short of the summit. It remains unknown if they ever made it to the top. Mallory's body was found over seventy years later in 1999, Irvine's body has never been found, his ultimate location remaining an enduring mystery.

This is one of those documentaries that you know in advance is going to end in a very bad way. The fate of the climbers is so well documented and was such big news at the time that the vast majority of people approaching this film will be only too aware of the downbeat nature this expedition ended on. The footage was taken by Captain John Noel with a hand cranked camera, which I am sure was a fairly bulky device, making it all the more impressive that this footage was shot at all considering that this heavy equipment would have to have been heaved so far up this most imposing mountain. Much of the climbing material was, by necessity, taken on a long range lens and is consequently quite limited; yet the long distance we see the climbers from gives the imagery a slightly haunting perspective. Nevertheless, there is a considerable amount of stunning photography of mountain vistas and, in general, it captures a feel of what the men saw there. In addition to this, there is some very valuable material captured of the isolated Tibetan people who live in the shadow of Everest. This was the first time they had been captured on film and so this is very nice time-capsule stuff. In fact, most of the smaller more personal details captured in the film are moments from the lives of these people, with actually very little of the climbers themselves. This is a shame, especially considering that this would be the final testament to Mallory and Irvine.

As was probably unavoidable for a silent documentary it relies fairly heavily on title cards to convey information. But this is kind of what you would expect, nevertheless, it doesn't detract too much and the content generally is fascinating. Visually it has been beautifully restored by the BFI so that the imagery with its expressionistic colour tints can be appreciated in all their glory. Also pleasingly, a modern score has been composed too. For me, this is always a welcome addition to a silent film and in this case it is no different. It's a subtle minimalistic soundtrack with some live sounds added too for extra atmosphere and ambiance. On the whole, this is a very good bit of restoration work on a very fine old documentary. This is the kind of historical adventure that deserves to have some kind of visual documentation and even though we know it has a sad conclusion; it's beautiful in many ways.


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