The Great White Silence

BFI   |   UK

A hundred years ago the British Antarctic Expedition led by Captain Scott set out on its ill-fated race to the South Pole. Joining Scott on board the Terra Nova was official photographer and cinematographer Herbert Ponting, and the images that he captured have fired imaginations ever since. Ponting filmed almost every aspect of the expedition: the scientific work, life in camp and the local wildlife. He used the footage in various forms over the years and in 1924 he re-edited it into this remarkable feature, complete with explanatory maps and inter-titles and coloured with vivid tinting and toning. The BFI National Archive has been custodian of this historical document of global significance since the 1940s. It has always been our ambition to restore it fully but we lacked the means and the technology to do so until now. The coincidence of the centenary of the Scott Expedition will enable us to make partnerships with other national institutions concerned with Polar exploration and the Scott legacy to bring the restoration of Great White Silence to a much wider audience than would be usual for a silent film in the UK and abroad.