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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 4 August 2011
If you enjoyed 'Touching the Void (2003)', 'The Beckoning Silence (2007)' or 'The Endurance (2000)', then you will love this. Narrated by Liam Neeson and featuring the voices of Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson and Alan Rickman, this tells the story of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine's ill-fated conquest of Everest in 1924.

The story is told through the eyes of top American Mountaineer Conrad Anker, who in 1999 discovered the body of George Mallory on Everest. He, along with his climbing partner Leo Houlding, are shown attempting to recreate Mallory's route to the peak, starting from Tibet in the north. This involved scaling a dangerous rock formation near the top, the 'Second Step', in the way Mallory and Irving would have had to have done it in 1924, without the aid of the metal ladder attached by Chinese climbers in 1975.

As you would expect the photography is spectacular and the modern day scenes are exhilarating and majestic but it is the account of Mallory's life, featuring rare film footage from the 1924 expedition, that really takes this documentary to the heights. Mallory's letters, read by Ralph Fiennes, show him to be a fascinating character and a deeply passionate man. Although he was obsessed with Everest he was totally devoted to his wife Ruth. The readings of the couple's correspondence are very touching, and are overflowing with passion, love and affection. Ruth's are read beautifully by Natasha Richardson and are given added poignancy by the fact that Natasha tragically died shortly after.

An emotional adventure well worth seeing if you are fascinated by personal sacrifice, courage and endurance, underpinned by deep passion and love.
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on 5 October 2011
I entirely agree with the previous reviewer about the soundtrack.
The music is so loud that the narrator and voices are scarcely audible and entirely incomprehensible.
Anthony Geffen's wonderful film has been ruined.
I have written to 2Entertain about this since there is no point in returning the video to Amazon and getting an identical replacement.
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on 27 October 2014
The making-of of this film, a one-hour report pretentiously titled "Shooting the impossible", about how they managed to film Conrad Anker's adventure, starts with an early mistake that should warn everybody. The famous photo of the nine members of the Everest's 1924 expedition, in which Irvine & Mallory are respectively first and second from the left in the standing file, in the making-of, both heroes are shown first and second from the right. This is simply because somebody inverted the photo, and amazingly nobody involved in the movie was aware of that. Too bad that there are no letters in that picture: it would look like Russian!
But this is nothing compared with the Potala fiasco. The superb image of this magnificent palace located in Lhasa, the Tibet's capital town, appears not just one time but twice, subtitled "Kathmandu, Nepal". Hooray! It reminds me John Landis's wonderful Kentucky Fried Movie, where they showed always the same view of a city, but changing every-time the underwritten name of it!
At the end of the day it makes me wonder: where they really approaching from the north or the south face of the Everest summit? Went they to Tibet to hire Nepalese Sherpas? Wasn't Mallory & Irvine story enough mysterious?
Finally I am glad to read so many comments quoting the nasty soundtrack. I initially thought it was time to renew my poor DVD player, but no, it's just that it's horrible.
Too bad, such an interesting movie, ruined by the general lack of interest of its creators...
Albert Cadirat
Vilassar de Mar
review image
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on 18 September 2011
Most British heroes of the twentieth century are long forgotten. The story of George Leigh Mallory, however, still fascinates, probably because the question of whether or not he and his climbing partner, Sandy Irvine, reached the summit of Mount Everest before dying will almost certainly never be answered.

This film is superbly photographed, and cleverly intertwines the tale of Mallory and Irvine with that of modern-day climbers Conrad Anker and Leo Houlding, as they retrace - sometimes in period climbing gear - the route of the 1924 expedition. Anker and Houlding cannot, of course, prove that their predecessors made the summit, but they do show that it was possible for them to have free climbed a difficult precipice and thus could well have done so.

I would have given the film five (rather than four) stars, except that the balance of sound on the DVD, particularly during the first half of the film, spoiled my enjoyment. The music is far too loud, so much so that the narration is often nearly impossible to hear clearly, which in a documentary film is a fatal flaw. There were even times when I wished that there had been no background music whatsoever, so that what was being said could have been fully appreciated.

The bonus feature, a documentary about the making of the film, is also well worth watching, not least because it emphasises just what a challenge Everest remains, and also the achievements of all those involved with making the film in such an extreme environment.
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on 18 April 2013
The subject matter was great, it was well acted but the soundtrack was dreadful.. The music overwhelmed the people talking. In the backup film it was fine, well balanced. A pity really. As usual the purchase and delivery worked beautifully.
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on 17 September 2011
Having read about George Mallory and also seen part of the documentary on TV I was keen to have this DVD to re-watch the film. My only gripe is that the background music, particularly for the first 20 or so minutes is far too loud and completely drowns out the narrative at times, which defeats the object, seeing as it's the narrative that one wants to listen too and not the music !
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on 18 October 2011
I'm sorry to say I was very disappointed with this DVD. The problem is the soundtrack which at several times throughout the film drowned out the voiceovers. It was very frustrating.
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on 21 November 2013
I should say 'Tragic Dream' instead of 'Wild Dream'...

My personal point of view doesn't let me feel much about these 'Scenarios' because ( I will only say it once ) Nature cannot be conquered! So if someone dares to defy It, just do it... but don't complain!

Anyway it is an interesting Movie for all the reasons already explained by other reviewers.

From a Filmmaker's perspective it can also be a Cruzade!
The professional climbers Conrad Anker and Leo Houlding playing George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, try to 'follow their steps' recreating the scenery as best as possible even wearing the same type of clothes for periods of time, and feeling in their Flesh and Blood the same difficulties of those climbers of the 20ies under frozen temperatures!

The Crew also tried the pains of Altitude sickness, the almost impossibility of filming in such tough conditions of decreasing Oxygen, rough Terrain and the menace of the deadly Monsoon.
For Crew and Climbers the purpose was climbing and simoultaneously filming, but on Everest it was proving far more difficult than anyone had imagined! Even for Filmmakers the Mountain was merciless and hit them for several times. So, ironically the climax of the Movie had to be filmed by two Mountain Guides...
Very interesting!

It is no doubt an impressive view, that one from the 'Top of the World'...
I could almost understand them! Though I think so much pain and dangerous situations are to avoid.

Yes, I've just summerized the 'Making Off', for me the technical and most interesting part of this Project.

As Dead don't talk, I prefer the experience of 'Touching the Void'. The Story of Someone who didn't die, and struggled to Survive and face his Demons... to the rest of His Life!
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on 7 July 2013
I love the mystery of Mallory and Irvine, it really is a fascinating story. I have read a lot of books on the subject and therefore watching this film leaves me taking the claims with a pinch of salt. You do feel the producers are trying to over romanticise the story as other accounts try to put events in a clearer context. The climbers claim at the end of the film that they feel Mallory and Irvine could have climbed the mountain with their primitive equipment but in other books you read that they tried to climb the route in the year after they found Mallory's body and decided then it was impossible. The film makes a great deal of the fact the climbers will wear the clothes of the time, but they still climb the perilous 2nd step with all the modern gear they have. I'm giving the film 5 stars because even with the flaws in the claims the scenery is amazing and it is one of the best films I've ever seen that is related to climbing. Watch the BBC documentary on youtube called 'Lost on Everest - The search for Mallory and Irvine' to see the real finding of Mallory's body and another insight into the mystery.
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on 4 January 2014
Another Leo Houlding trek into the mountains this one being Everest. A bit disappointing really as a lot of the old footage has been shown on TV in various documentaries and the like. I followed this climb on the video feeds when the climb was actually on going and thought that this would be a film of that. It starts off with the discovery of Mallory's body and then progressively moves through old film clips and news items until we reach the climax of the 2nd step. There is nothing to excite me in this film unlike the one of the Ulvetanna Peak in the Antarctic 'The Last Great Climb'.

An OK film but could have done without it.
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