Scott of the Antarctic (film)
|Scott of the Antarctic|
Original cinema poster
|Directed by||Charles Frend|
|Produced by||Michael Balcon|
|Written by||Walter Meade
Mary Hayley Bell
James Robertson Justice
|Music by||Ralph Vaughan Williams|
|Distributed by||GDF (UK)|
|Running time||111 min.|
Scott of the Antarctic is a 1948 film which depicts Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition and his attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole in Antarctica. John Mills played Scott, with a supporting cast which included James Robertson Justice, Derek Bond, Kenneth More, John Gregson, Barry Letts and Christopher Lee.
Produced by Ealing Studios, the film was directed by Charles Frend on location in the Antarctic (at the Hope Bay base of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey), in Switzerland and in Norway. It was filmed in Technicolor. The script was by Ivor Montagu, Walter Meade and the novelist Mary Hayley Bell, Mills' wife. The film is also known for its score by Ralph Vaughan Williams that was later reworked into his Sinfonia Antarctica.
The film is largely faithful to the real events of the ill-fated polar trek, with emphasis on the heroic character of Scott and the significance of their expedition.
Captain Scott is given the men, but not the funds, to go on a second expedition to the Antarctic. As his wife works on a bust of him, she tells him that she's "not the least jealous" that he's going to the Antarctic again. The wife of a Dr. E.A. Wilson whom Scott hopes to recruit has a very different opinion from Scott's wife, but Wilson agrees to go. Scott also visits Fridtjof Nansen, who insists that a polar expedition must use dogs. Scott goes on a fundraising campaign, and despite popular scepticism, manages to raise enough money to fund the expedition.
After a stop in New Zealand, the ship sets sail for Antarctica. Once there, a camp is set up at the coast, and a small contingent of men, ponies and dogs begins the trek towards the pole. About halfway, the ponies are shot and some of the men are sent back with the dogs. At the three quarter mark, Scott selects the five-man team to make the push to the pole. They reach the pole only to find the Norwegian flag already planted there and a letter from Roald Amundsen asking Scott to deliver it to the King of Norway.
Hugely disappointed, Scott's team begins the long journey back. Scott is very concerned about the health of two of his men: Evans, who has a serious cut on his hand, and Oates, whose foot is appallingly frostbitten. Evans eventually dies and is buried under the snow. Realising that his condition is slowing the team down, Oates sacrifices himself by walking out of the tent into a blizzard to his death after saying "I'm just going outside and may be away some time." Finally, just 11 miles short of a supply depot, the rest of the team dies in their tent after being trapped by a blizzard, with Scott writing the famous "I do not regret this journey…" entry in his diary.
Months later, a search party discovered the tent and the bodies. Scott's diary was also recovered, allowing the members to learn of the polar party's fate. The film ends with the sight of a large wooden cross with the five names of the dead inscripted on it as well as the quote : "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." (A line from the poem "Ulysses", by the Victorian era poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson.)
The film was the third most popular film at the British box office in 1949.
- John Mills as Captain R.F. Scott R.N.
- Diana Churchill as Kathleen Scott
- Harold Warrender as Dr. E.A. Wilson
- Anne Firth as Oriana Wilson
- Derek Bond as Captain L.E.G. Oates
- Reginald Beckwith as Lieutenant H.R. Bowers
- James Robertson Justice as Petty Officer 'Taff' Evans R.N.
- Kenneth More as Lieutenant E.G.R. 'Teddy' Evans R.N.
- Norman Williams as Chief Stoker W. Lashly R.N.
- John Gregson as Petty Officer T. Crean R.N.
- James McKechnie as Surgeon Lieutenant E.L. Atkinson R.N.
- Barry Letts as Apsley Cherry-Garrard
- Dennis Vance as Charles S. Wright
- Larry Burns as Petty Officer P. Keohane R.N.
- Edward Lisak as Dimitri
- Melville Crawford as Cecil Meares
- Christopher Lee as Bernard Day
- John Owers as F.J. Hooper
- Bruce Seton as Lieutenant H. Pennell R.N.
- Clive Morton as Herbert Ponting
- Sam Kydd as Leading Stoker E. McKenzie R.N.
- Philip Stainton as Second Questioner
- Scott of the Antarctic in the British Film Institute's "Explore film..." database
- Scott of the Antarctic at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Scott of the Antarctic at the Internet Movie Database
- Scott of the Antarctic is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
- Scott of the Antarctic film page