ming movie reviews

in about 100 words or less

The Great White Silence (1924)

UK 108m, Silent, B&W/tinted
Director: Herbert Ponting; Cast: Robert Falcon Scott, Herbert G. Ponting

The-Great-White-SilenceThe Great White Silence is a grim documentary about Scott’s ill-fated 1910-13 expedition to the South Pole. As cameraman, and filmmaker, Herbert Ponting documents the preparations and life aboard the Terra Nova and its voyage to Antarctica. Though not actually accompanying Scott to the Pole, Ponting captures the beauty of the region, its wildlife and activities at base camp. The ill-fated overland portion of the expedition is portrayed as a series of still photographs and inter-titles. A captivating story, Ponting’s recreation of the journey remains both a lesson, and a haunting tribute to Scott and his fellow explorers (Klaus Ming December 2015).

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4 comments on “The Great White Silence (1924)

  1. Hoosier X
    12/27/2015

    I saw this last year and found it to be a delight, not at all hard to watch despite being a 90-year-ol silent documentary. It probably helped that I had just read a book about Scott. I consider it one of the best films I saw this year, and certainly the best silent film.
    Warning to people who are thinking about watching it: Lots of animals are slaughtered, including ponies, dogs and penguins. I’ve been wondering if the mascot, a cat with an inappropriate name, survived.

    • Klaus
      12/27/2015

      Indeed. It is surprising how quickly this one moves along. I’ve long had an interest in accounts of arctic/antarctic exploration and have read a good number of books on the subject. And i’d always planned putting together an anthropology of exploration course in my teaching days. Definitely would have shown this film. And yeah, cool cat – unfortunate name.

  2. TSorensen
    01/02/2016

    Maybe you have read “The worst Journey in the World” by Cherry-Garrard. It is actually not so much on Scott’s fateful journey (well, it is also, but as a secondary item), but on the winter expedition he, Bowers and Wilson undertook to Cape Crozier. A crazy trip and a crazy story, well worth a read.

    Ponting later made a version with himself narrating. Droning may be a better term. Much prefer the silent version.

  3. Klaus
    01/03/2016

    I haven’t yet read “The worst Journey in the World” by Cherry-Garrard, but will probably do so now. Interesting stuff! Thanks the recommendation.

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This entry was posted on 12/27/2015 by in 1001+, 1920s, All and tagged .
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