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Writer-director Charles Sturridge ('Longitude') presents his version of Sir Ernest Shackleton's epic South Pole adventure. Setting out in 1914, Shackleton (Kenneth Branagh) and his crew set sail for Antarctica, but get into trouble when their ship, the Endurance, becomes stuck in pack ice. Abandoning the doomed vessel, Shackleton then takes the only course of action available, and sets out on foot, determined to lead his ailing crew to safety.
Shackleton is not a biopic of the great Anglo-Irish explorer but a dramatisation of the failed trans-Antarctic expedition of 1914-16. As written and directed by Charles (Longtitude) Sturridge the production, filmed on real ice floes in Greenland, stays remarkably close to the facts, capturing the look of the surviving expedition photos of Frank Hurley (collected in the book South With Endurance) with great fidelity. Kenneth Branagh makes no attempt at an authentic accent but otherwise gives a powerful impression of a most commanding personality. When the expedition ship Endurance became locked in the Antarctic ice Shackleton vowed to bring every man home alive, and against virtually impossible odds, including a 700-mile journey in an open boat through some of the worst seas in the world, he did just that. This superlative mini-series realises the story with production values and cinematography which would not disgrace a big-budget feature (Hurley's own 1919 documentary film can be seen on video in South). Intense physical drama, strong performances and Adrian Johnston's fine score combine here to deeply moving effect, marred only a little by a rushed conclusion. With Roland Huntford, author of the definitive Shackleton biography, as production advisor, this easily stands as the benchmark for all future comparable films. --Gary S Dalkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The production takes the time to show Shackleton's character, showing the events in the years preceding the expedition, the germination of the idea, the fund-raising and the crew selection. This segment shows the flaws in Shackleton, his sometimes flighty and selfish nature. While some of the scenes of crew selection might seem far fetched and odd, these are in fact pretty close to the truth. When the expedition starts Shackleton the leader comes to the fore, and the film is relentless in its depiction of the year of suffering and survival in the most extreme conditions on earth that these men endured. Shackleton is brilliantly played by Kenneth Branagh, who brings all the essential traits of the man to screen.
This is largely Branagh's show and other characters do not get so much development (despite an almost 3.5 hour runtime), but they are played by a host of talented British character actors who do well with the limited material given to them, and almost all manage to bring their characters to life and make a memorable impression.
I am familiar with the expedition (I recommend ...Read more ›
The DVD is a two part series devised between Channel 4 and ABC - it is an excellent dramatisation and at no point in the 205 minutes does it become boring. Brannagh is simply brilliant as are the vivid effects and the rest of the crew and those who waited back home. Frank Hurley, Frank Wild, Tom Cream and all the other legendary figures are there. It has a delightful period feel to it, in fact one of the most dramatic parts is not related to the adventure but to the entry of Britain into the first world war. This film truly captures an age of Edwardian exploration and of Britain on the eve of change.
The story is an epic and anyone not versed in the polar exploration legends will find it fascinating, anyone with an understanding of the subject will feel gnawed by a restlessness throughout.
The DVD is a two part dramatisation with a break in the middle so can be watched over two nights if desired.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have replaced the video I have with the did version as I never tire of watching this story. Fascinating ...I highly recommend it.Published 2 months ago by Penny Atkinson
I bought this after reading Alfred Lansing's 'Endurance' and other material about Shackleton's ill-fated Antarctic expedition. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mrs. B. Aegerter
Fantastic. Purchased as a very important gift. Good value price and quick delivery. Thank you.Published 3 months ago by PJ
Haven't seen this since it was on the telly and I got the DVD at a bargain price.
The film is in 2 parts and really gets you close to the action in the Antarctic and back in... Read more
The true story of Ernest Shackleton - it has kept very close to the real events - and the way people reacted at the time - very good effort all round by the film makersPublished 4 months ago by Mr Christopher John Mercer
Excellent Video. My partner and I really enjoyed it. I would recommend this film.Published 4 months ago by Paul Hickman