The official film record of the third attempt to climb Mount Everest has been meticulously and definitively restored by the BFI National Archive. Shot by the daring explorer Captain John Noel, it features the climbers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, who died on the mission. Whether the expedition reached the summit or not has been the subject of great and continuing debate.
Filmed on a specially adapted camera in the severe conditions on the Himalayas, Noel’s footage is both historically important and strikingly beautiful, featuring some of the earliest known footage of Tibetan life. A newly commissioned score from Simon Fisher Turner combines electronic music, found sounds, western and Nepalese instruments and vocals to haunting effect, while the restoration has transformed the quality of the surviving elements of the film and reintroduced the original coloured tints and tones. (Notes By Micheal Hayden.)