The Great White Silence (1924)

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The Great White Silence is a 1924 English documentary that contains brief cinematograph sequences taken during the Terra Nova Expedition of 1910�1913. The principal filmmaker was photographer Herbert Ponting. Originally a silent film, the documentary was restored and re-released in 2011 by the British Film Institute with a musical soundtrack by Simon Fisher Turner.

The Terra Nova Expedition was an effort, by governments and concerned citizens of what was then the British Empire, to plant the Union Jack on the South Pole by means of men, ponies, dogs, and primitive snowmobiles hauling sledges from a base located on the Antarctic coastline. The documentary portrays expedition leader Robert Falcon Scott and his ship, the Terra Nova, and men as they leave Lyttelton, New Zealand, to sail into the Southern Ocean and its ice floes.

Safely landed on the icy coastline of Ross Island, the filmmaker follows the men as they set up tents, practice skiing, and prepare to probe southward toward the Pole. The film concludes with a sequence of the explorers pushing off from their base, and title cards reminding viewers of what, to the 1924 viewer, would have been the familiar story of the expedition's tragic conclusion. Scott and his immediate support group of four companions never returned from the Pole.

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