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The Epic of Everest 15

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DIRECTOR J B L Noel

The official film record of the 1924 attempt by George Mallory and Andrew Irvine to climb Everest is one of the most remarkable films in the BFI National Archive.  Captain John Noel’s film of that ill-fated expedition captures the mountain at its most majestic and alluring, as well as fascinating details of Tibetan life.  The BFI have restored the film to its full glory with Noel’s original coloured tints and tones, and a beautiful new score from Simon Fisher Turner.  (1924 UK 82 minutes Black & white Silent)

BBFC advice:  Contains references to mountaineering deaths
Detailed advice from the BBFC (click on BBFC insight)

AUDIO DESCRIPTION AVAILABLE – Please contact the cinema in advance info@saffronscreen.com

The official film record of the third attempt to climb Everest is one of the most remarkable films in the BFI National Archive. This legendary expedition culminated in the deaths of two of the finest climbers of their generation, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, and sparked an on-going debate over whether or not they did indeed reach the summit. Filming in brutally harsh conditions with a specially adapted camera, Captain John Noel captured images of breathtaking beauty and considerable historical significance. The restoration by the BFI National Archive has transformed the quality of the surviving film elements and reintroduced the original coloured tints and tones. Revealed by the restoration, few images in cinema are as epic – or moving – as the final shots of a blood-red sunset over the Himalayas.

Despite the lengthy inter-titles and the meticulous detail of altitudes and temperatures, it’s actually easier to watch this as an art film as opposed to a documentary. This movie is all about the awe-inspiring visuals, mist rolling off the mountain top, glaciers twinkling in the evening light – and the crowning glory is the blue-tinted Fairyland of Ice sequence. Everest almost-pristine, with our hardy faithful tiptoeing around doing some genuine, light-touch exploring, snapping off icicles and dwarfed by the glaciers. The BFI restoration, combining the best shots from the two best prints in its archive, replicating the tints straight from the nitrate originals, plays right up to that gorgeousness. Feast your eyes, even as you weep.  Silent London

UK RELEASE 1924, re-released 18 October 2013
RUNNING TIME 82 minutes
COUNTRY UK

Black & white, silent

Official film website and trailer
IMDB film information