Tuesday, March 17, 2020

1089. Great White Silence

Great White Silence
Directed by Herbert Ponting

Before we talk about the movie, I would love to hear how any or all of my readers are doing. I am an introvert, so I am holding up reasonably well under lockdown. I suspect I'll get some writing done, but that's what Jack Torrance thought too so make of that what you will.  I definitely want to hear how everybody else is holding up, so be sure to leave a comment.

Now to this 1924 movie, which wasn't on my edition of the List and I had never heard of before. I also didn't know anything about the Terra Nova Expedition, so had no idea that I was watching footage of a doomed mission. For those of you who, like me, have trouble earning the yellow wedge in Trivial Pursuit, the Terra Nova Expedition was an attempt by the British Empire to place the Union Jack on the South Pole. Everybody on the expedition died, except Herbert Ponting, apparently. He shot some footage of Antartica and the explorers and then peaced out of there.

So obviously a very chilling (pun not intended, but always celebrated) documentary once you realize the circumstances, which might take some of us, ahem, longer than others. Of course, that doesn't add a whole lot to the enjoyability of the movie, it just makes the whole experience morbid.

I will defend its place on the List, but definitely not the movie I would recommend to make this whole lockdown thing go faster.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Read about the Terra Nova Expedition here.


  1. Good to hear you are doing all right, Amanda. I have been in lockdown since Wednesday, but since I am used to working from home this is, almost business as usual. There is a general feeling here that this is the quiet before the storm and then numbers in intensive care has already begun to rise.

    There was a period around 10 years ago when I was very much into the Antarctica explorations of the beginning of the century and I read a lot of stuff. The Terra Nova expedition was maybe the most famous, not there was a lot more to it that Scott and his team trying to beat Amundsen to the pole. I read a brilliant book by Apsley Cherry-Garrard called "The Worst Journey in the World". Curiously, it was not about Scott's fatal journey, but a much smaller journey Cherry-Garrard, Bowers and Wilson made to Cape Crozier in the middle of winter to look for penguin eggs. It was a completely insane journey, but miraculously they survived. On Scott's journey Cherry-Garrard was on one of the early relays who returned to base camp and therefore survived. Not so Bowers, Wilson and Oates, who died with Scott.
    I mostly enjoyed the movie because it was an eye witness to all this. Also you should not forget that although it was only released in 1924 it was filmed 1910 to 12, at a time where film making was very primitive indeed.

  2. I work at home and am a bit of a homebody so I am doing ok with this worldwide pandemic. I have supplies & plenty of books. Really interesting review and it was also interesting to read TSorensen's comments!

  3. Glad to hear you two are doing all right! And agreed, TSorensen, it is incredible that it was filmed in 1910.

  4. George RR Martin is apparently getting some writing done at last, so it's not all bad.

    A few weeks ago, living here in east Asia felt like being a zoo animal or a curiosity exhibit as the rest of the world looked at us in disbelief. And now, as we appear to be over the worst, we look to Europe and (soon to be) the US in the same way. Trying to supervise online lessons and homework for an eight-year old is a hassle, but otherwise it's not so bad.

    Glad to see that you're picking up the handful of older movies that were added in the fuller revision of the book that came out some years back. Other than that one time, only recent entries get changed. I keep meaning to take the time to go back and fill them in, but other times figure I should complete one set of 1,001 first before adding extras.