EALING STUDIOS PRESENT
SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC (1948)
AVAILABLE IN FULLY RESTORED 2K FOR THE FIRST TIME ON BLU-RAY
Those few lines really don’t sum up just how fantastic a restoration has been done on this 1948 classic. Thankfully though on the Blu Ray there is a seven minute featurette that takes us into how much of a nightmare it must have been to restore this film from what way it looked (starting in metal containers) and ending up in the beautifully crisp 2k restored version. There’s even an amazing lady wh’os role it is to remove dirty from the image. Now that is a time consuming job!
Does Scott of the Antarctic need to be ‘pitched’? Doesn’t everyone know the story at least? Perhaps not. Well. The film is based on the real life adventures of Robert Falcon Scott and his fellow explorers and their 1912 expedition – a race against a Norwegian team to discover the South Pole.
John Mills (Great Expectations; Ice Cold in Alex; The Big Sleep) stars as Captain R.F Scott, with Harold Warrender (Convoy; Pandora and the Flying Dutchman) as Dr William E.A Wilson, Derek Bond (The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby; The Loves of Joanna Godden) as Captain L.E.G Oates, Reginald Beckwith (The Titfield Thunderbolt, The Day The Earth Caught Fire; Thunderball) as Lieutenant H.R Bowers, James Robertson Justice (Whisky Galore!; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Moby Dick) as Petty Office ‘Taff’ Evans R.N and Kenneth More (The Yellow Balloon; Genevieve; A Night to Remember) as Lieutenant E.G.R ‘Teddy’ Evans R.N – his band of loyal men.
Also featured in the cast are Diana Churchill as Kathleen Scott (Jane Steps Out; Oranges and Lemons) and Sir Christopher Lee (The Wicker Man; The Lord of the Rings Trilogy; Star Wars: Episodes II & III) who was actually the only remaining cast member of the film. Until his death in 2015.
I remember seeing this film many times over the years.The first time would have been in the late 70s or very early 80s at school. It cropped up on television semi often and was always a pleasure to watch on what was probably a 24 inch square screen. To see the film this morning on a 43 inch HD restored into 2k was fantastic. It certainly doesn’t look like the 68 year old film that it is. I’ve seen films from the eighties that don’t match up to the picture quality of Scott of the Antarctic. I really dont want to delve into the storyline of the film because sadly there’s a lot of you out there who probably haven’t seen the film or who don’t know the story. But in some ways that’s a good thing because you get the best possible version in existence for your first viewing. You can find out just how tough Captain Scott and his crew were to take on an expedition like the one they did.
As a film and story its fantastic and definitely deserves the term ‘Classic’ and I’m surprised the film hasn’t been remade, although this version of the film will always be the definitive one in my eyes and ears As a restoration. Pinewood have done a brilliant job on the film and this Ealing Studios Classic can now sit proudly on your shelves. As much as we love films with big explosions and overblown budgets. I still prefer films that show us the human spirit, and no spirits are stronger than the sheer will of the 1912 South Pole expedition team who faced insane odds but who carry on regardless. ‘Stop’ wasnt a word they ever thought about. True human spirit.
There are also some pretty impressive special features on the disc. Totaling near an hour worth of footage including Interviews with Sir Ranulph Feinnes (27 minutes) ,another Sir Andrew Davies about the score (8 mins), we get an 8 minute featurette about Jack Cardiff’s cinematography for the film, and also a glimpse into some of John Mill’s home movie footage from the time. But my favourite feature has to be the one detailing the restoration of Scott of the Antarctic. even though the feature is only 7 minutes long, It gives you an insight into the process. Amazing stuff.
SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC is part of the ‘Vintage Classics collection’ – showcasing iconic British films, all fully restored and featuring brand new extra content: www.facebook.com/vintageclassicsfilm
The Digital Film restoration was funded by STUDIOCANAL in collaboration with the BFI’s Unlocking Film Heritage programme (awarding funds from the National Lottery).