The Secret Land

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The Secret Land
The Secret Land FilmPoster.jpeg
Film poster
Produced by Orville O. Dull
Written by Harvey S. Haislip
William C. Park
Narrated by Robert Montgomery
Robert Taylor
Van Heflin
Music by Bronislau Kaper
Edited by Fredrick Y. Smith
Distributed by MGM
Release date
  • October 22, 1948 (1948-10-22)
Running time
71 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $216,000[1]
Box office $576,000[1]

The Secret Land is a 1948 American documentary film about a United States Navy expedition code-named "Operation Highjump" to explore Antarctica and to evaluate its potential for military operations in 1946.[2] It won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.[3][4]


The Secret Land, produced by Orville O. Dull, was filmed entirely by military photographers (both USN and US Army) and was narrated by actors Robert Taylor, Robert Montgomery, and Van Heflin.

It features Chief of Naval Operations Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz in a brief scene where he is discussing Operation Highjump with admirals Richard E. Byrd and Richard H. Cruzen prior to their departure.

The film has a wide range of scenes depicting the operation. These include the rescue of a crew of a crashed aircraft and the discovery of an Antarctic "oasis" which is free of snow.

The film has re-enacted scenes of critical events, such as shipboard damage control and Admiral Byrd throwing items out of an airplane to lighten it to avoid crashing into a mountain.

It won the 1948 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.


The film earned $395,000 in the US and Canada and $181,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $10,000.[1]



  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study 
  2. ^ "AFI: The Secret Land". AFI. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  3. ^ "The 21st Academy Awards (1949) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  4. ^ Chowther, Bosley. "NY Times: The Secret Land". NY Times. Retrieved November 7, 2008. 

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