Eye For Film >> Movies >> South - Sir Ernest Shackleton's Glorious Epic of the Antarctic (1919) DVD Review
South - Sir Ernest Shackleton's Glorious Epic of the Antarctic
Reviewed by: Amber WilkinsonRead Amber Wilkinson's film review of South - Sir Ernest Shackleton's Glorious Epic of the Antarctic
Comments: The BFI has done itself proud with this restored version of Shackleton's ill-fated journey to the Antarctic wastes. The print has been lovingly restored along with original tinting by Frank Hurley and while it obviously bears the marks of the long road it has travelled - it was even submerged aboard their ship Endurance, for some days - it is remarkable that it has retained so much of its quality.
Hurley was a consumate photographer with an eye for imagery, so there are plenty of great shots on show here, from the crucifix-like shadow of the ship's bow, as it tried to break through the ice pack, to the fantastic still photography of the Endurance taken at night, with the help of 20 flash bulbs, making it look like a ghost ship rising from the ice. This is one film that you will want to watch with the commentary track on, as historian Luke McKernan fills you in on the history as you watch. The accompanying music is set at quite a high level, which means you may need the subtitles switched on too, so you don't become distracted.
The extras are a carefully collected selection, with the silent procession to Shackleton's monument offering a poignant reminder that death catches up with us all, even heroes. The additional footage is really more of the same for afficionados of the expedition. Perhaps the most interesting for the casual viewer is Kelly Tyler's commentary running over scenes of The Ross Sea Party. This second expedition set sail to provide food dumps for Shackleton on the south side of Antarctica to help them complete their journey. But it, too, ran into difficulty and is another tale of survival and bravery against the odds.
Shackleton Speaks is a short snippet of broadcast from the great man himself, but the recording is very hissy, meaning that it is best watched with the subtitles running.
The Stills Gallery is an enjoyable selection of 20 stills taken by Hurley while on the expeditition, though it would have been better if you could flick straight from one to the next without having to return to the main menu each time. The map is exactly that, but gives you some idea of the enormity of the challenge.
In an age when there is seemingly so little 'unknown' left for man to explore, this disc provides a telling insight into one of the last great expeditions and is a testimony to the fortitude and endurance of those involved.Reviewed on: 12 Jun 2002