31 May 2011
Polar Exploration has given us some of the most iconic and inspirational imagery ever imaginable. The crews, the ambition, the outfits and sense of adventure. This isn't the first time I've mentioned it, it certainly won't be the last. Even in the modern day with the highest spec gear and equipment available, with advanced technology and communication it seems an unbelievable slog, striving for survival in the face of adversity and the most unforgiving of nature at it's most fierce. So it almost seems a preposterous thought that the likes of Scott and Shackleton were going off out into the unknown in hand made boots and wrapped in sheepskin all those years ago.
The BFI have restored Herbert Ponting's record of Captain Scott's tragic expedition to the South Pole for this year's London Film Festival which was the film to see, recently released at selected theatres, this, I'd imagine would be an awe-inspiring event in cinema. A hundred years ago the British Antarctic Expedition (1910-1913) led by the courageous Scott set out on its ill-fated race to the South Pole. Joining Scott on board the Terra Nova was official photographer and cinematographer and all round hero of One-ups' Herbert Ponting, the famous imagery captured all those years ago have fuelled our imagination for many years. Ponting filmed almost every aspect of the expedition: the scientific work, life in camp and of course the local wildlife - including the characterful Adélie penguins. This is one of the most humbling stories of history, as the Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen pipped them to the most vital of posts, so near, yet so far. Captain Scotts tragic story left a lasting legacy for all in the ultimate battle between man and nature.
Most importantly, Ponting recorded the preparations for the assault on the Pole, giving us a real sense of the challenges faced by the expedition. In 1924 he re-edited it into this remarkable feature, complete with vivid tinting and toning. The BFI National Archive has restored the film; the alien beauty of the landscape is brought dramatically to life and the world of the expedition revealed in brilliant detail. Restored with exquisite tinting and toning which adds a new depth combined with added intenisty from a score by contemporary composer Simon Fisher Turner.
The Great White Silence, Directed by Herbert G Ponting, is currently showing in selected cinemas.
Watch trailer here. The Secrets of Scott's hut.
Posted by One-up at 10:38