Legendary Everest film to be restored

The BFI National Archive is pleased to announce plans for a definitive restoration of a legendary film of Everest exploration.

Updated:

The Epic of Everest (1924)

The Epic of Everest (1924)

The Epic of Everest (1924) is the official film record of the third attempt to climb Mt. Everest and features ill-fated climbers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, who died on the expedition. Debate still rages over the question of whether they actually reached the summit.

The film was shot by Captain John Noel, a heroic, pioneering explorer. In 1919, in the course of a paper to the Royal Geographical Society, he made the first public suggestion that Mount Everest should be climbed. The first reconnaissance trip was undertaken in 1921 and no moving images are known to exist. The second Everest expedition took place in 1922 and was the first ever film shot in Tibet. For the third Everest expedition in 1924, Noel bought the rights to all still photography and moving image material and was himself the official cameraman. The tragic end to the expedition – when Mallory and Irvine disappeared - continues to be the subject of debate and remains an enduring mystery.

We have negotiated to acquire worldwide rights with Captain Noel’s daughter, Sandra Noel, and plan to release the film in Autumn 2013. Simon Fisher Turner, who scored our restoration of The Great White Silence (1924), has been commissioned to compose an appropriately atmospheric soundtrack.

Sandra Noel said:

This is a fitting tribute to my father and his pioneering spirit. It is also a commemoration of those stoic men who ventured into an icy wilderness to challenge Chomo-lung-ma, Goddess Mother of the World. I am delighted, and I know that the result will vividly tell the story of man’s battle against the elements.

Composer Simon Fisher Turner said:

It’s a real privilege to be asked to work on such a stunning and historic film. The archaeology of sound and vision has become my greatest passion.

We are appealing for support to undertake this delicate and time-consuming work, using the earliest known prints to make a definitive restoration. If you, your trust or company would like to get involved with our Epic of Everest project, please contact us on supportus@bfi.org.uk or call 020 7815 1387.

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