October 17, 2013 7:25 pm

The Epic of Everest – film review

A newly restored film records Mallory and Irvine’s doomed expedition
The Epic of Everest

The Epic of Everest

A newly BFI-restored official film record of the legendary 1924 Everest expedition, The Epic of Everest, accompanies the doomed mountaineers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine on the trip. Here they are standing in touchingly modest tweeds against the harsh-glittering ice. “See how tired he is,” says a title card of a sleeping baby donkey, born on the trip and forced to wake and stand for the camera. “On his first day of life he walked 22 miles. On his second, 16.” Generally restored to look pristine, the film occasionally uses damaged stock and tips marvellously into the surreal – in one moment, the mountain itself appears flickering and dream-like, coloured the red of dried blood.

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