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BBC – The Epic of Everest (1924)

BBC The Epic of Everest

A remarkable film record of the legendary Everest expedition of 1924, newly restored by the BFI National Archive.

The third attempt to climb Everest culminated in the deaths of two of the finest climbers of their generation, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, and sparked an ongoing debate over whether or not they did indeed reach the summit.

Filming in brutally harsh conditions, Captain John Noel captured images of breathtaking beauty and considerable historic significance, including the earliest filmed records of life in Tibet. But what resonates so deeply is Noel’s ability to frame the vulnerability, isolation and courage of people persevering in one of the world’s harshest landscapes.

The restoration by the BFI National Archive has transformed the quality of the surviving elements of the film and reintroduced the original coloured tints and tones. The original silent film is brought to life as never before by a haunting new soundtrack composed by Simon Fisher Turner. 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.

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