NEW RELEASE from the British Film Institute:
THE EPIC OF EVEREST
With Intertitles. Dual Format Edition: DVD and Blue-Ray discs.
Black & White and tinted. Year: 1924. Historical Documentary.
Running Time: approx 88 mins.
Filming in brutally harsh conditions with a specially adapted camera, Captain John Noel captured images of breathtaking beauty and historic significance. The film is also among the earliest filmed records of life in Tibet and features sequences at Phari Dzong (Pagri), Shekar Dzong (Xegar) and Rongbuk monastery. Noel’s ability to frame the vulnerability, isolation and courage of people persevering in one of the world’s harshest landscapes is very powerful. The deaths of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine sparked an ongoing debate over whether or not they did indeed reach the summit.
The restoration by the BFI National Archive has transformed the quality of the surviving elements of the film and reintroduced the original coloured tints and tones. Revealed by the restoration, few images in cinema are as epic as the final shots of a blood red sunset over the Himalayas.
The film features a newly commissioned musical score by Simon Fisher Turner and a reconstructed version of the 1924 score.
The story is told through intertitles between the images. Footage of the Tibetan villages and their people; preparation for the expedition and the construction of base camp. From here the camera, which was too heavy to carry further, captured sweeping shots of the majestic landscape, the return of climbing parties and life in camp. Some of the most moving footage shows the Sherpas scanning the horizon for the missing climbers and the search party displaying a tragic, hopeless signal.
“One of the most remarkable treasures in the national film archive… A largely unseen masterpiece” The Guardian