The Great White Silence

May 21, 2011   

Last night was the premier in the UK of The Great White Silence which is a movie that the British Film Institute restored. The film was made 100 years ago on Scott’s last expedition by Herbert Ponting’s and first shown in 1924. When Alastair heard that it was going to be shown in the UK last night he got in touch with the British Film Institute and asked that it be sent down to us here on station so we could watch it as well on the premier night. Alastairs great great uncle was on the expedition and died with Scott in a tent 11 miles from food supplies. Unfortunately he is off doing some science with Katie on a ship so will watch it when he gets back in 4 days or so. For him I am sure it will be a very moving movie to watch. How many of us in the world get to see video footage of our great great relatives? It simply doesn’t exist unless they were part of an expedition or a movie star.

None of us realised that footage existed it was absolutely stunning the quality was so good one had to remind oneself that it was shot 100 years ago. At that time as well this was probably the first footage ever taken of the wildlife – penguins, killer whales etc. what a commotion it must have caused. Down here we just take it for granted that we can look out the window and see penguins and seals on the shoreline.

The ‘special’ effects were quite funny for us from the perspective of movie making now. We laughed in the penguin scenes as they are very comical. And made lots of comments about their method of cooking and how our equipment is not any different today. The same primus stoves, the same sledges and the same pyramid tents. I guess if it is not broke why fix it. Many other things have changed – no dogs which is such a shame but then we don’t have to kill seals to feed the dogs which is a large benefit! We have skidoos that work most of the time and merino wool instead of huge itchy wool trousers and jumpers. Down sleeping bags instead of reindeer hide – we commented on the debate of sleeping with the fur in or out! The musical score stopped very quickly so everyone had to adjust to watching and reading but there were so many comments and discussions about the content that there was noise enough!

There are some clips on you tube


One Response to “The Great White Silence”

  1. Amazing, did not know about Ali’s relative. Do want to see it all love Mum