Scott Of The Antarctic

Blu-Ray Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Scott Of The Antarctic
Scott Of The Antarctic

It's not easy to fill an Extras package for a movie almost 70 years old. Here you have an interview with Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Sir Andrew Davies, what they call John Mills's home movies, a featurette about Jack Cardiff's cinematography and the restoration team talking about how they made it all look better.

The interviews are monologues. There are no questions asked. Fiennes, an experienced Antarctic explorer, attempts to reinstate Scott's reputation after it had been rubbished by Rowland Huntford, a Scandinavian sports correspondent, in The Last Place On Earth, published in 1985. He does an excellent job of it, explaining that those who criticise in hindsight Scott's use of horses and snow tractors over dogs don't know what they are talking about.

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He blames the failure of the expedition on foul weather and bad luck. Amundsen, on the other hand, coming from a different angle, had good weather and a team of skilled skiers, while the Brits knew nothing about skiing. Scott chose unfit scientists with heavy equipment which was manhauled over ice on massive sledges.

Fiennes called Scott "the world's greatest polar explorer of all time." He should know. He did the journey himself and tasted the fear and then wrote a book to counteract Huntford's character assassination.

Davies on Vaughan Williams's score is less than fascinating, while John Mills's home movies are silent, showing actors, film crew and hangers on cuddling up to the horses and patting the huskies. Jack Clayton's piece is excellent as far as it goes, which isn't far enough, and the restoration techies confuse as well as impress.

The Extras package is dominated by Fiennes, which is fienne, because he is always interesting. Cynics will tell you he is promoting his book on Scott, which may or may not be true. The fact remains he knows what he's talking about and speaks with authority without ever sounding pompous or self-important. Clayton is just as good but doesn't have the screen time. The same can be said for the restorers.

Reviewed on: 10 Jun 2016
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Scott Of The Antarctic packshot
The story of the ill-fated South Pole expedition

Product Code: OPTBD2829

Region: B

Extras: Interview with Sir Andrew Davies about the score, interview with Sir Ranulph Fiennes, John Mills home movie footage, featurette on Jack Cardiff’s cinematography, stills gallery, restoration featurette, booklet by Ian Christie

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