The extraordinary story of Shackleton's doomed Trans-Antarctic expedition has captured audiences for over 100 years. It's not just because it's a dramatic tale of survival, but because there's visual evidence of it. Some of the greatest moments of history in the last century are etched into our minds because someone was there with a camera; for Shackleton's expedition, it was the tough and tenacious Australian photographer Frank Hurley. His photographs and footage became world-famous on the crew's return to England when they were turned into a remarkable feature-length film. 'South' told the story of the destruction of the Endurance and the survival of the men on the ice without a ship.
Even today, the expedition footage remains breathtaking; to see the frozen world the Endurance crew found and the daily habits and behaviours of the men whose names are so well known in history books is nothing short of remarkable. The film has been remastered by the BFI and now for the centenary of Shackleton's death, 'South' is available to watch on BFI Player and is currently in cinemas. It will be released on DVD and Blu Ray at the end of February.
In this episode, Dan speaks to BFI curator Bryony Dixon about how Frank Hurley managed to get the astonishing footage seen in 'South' and why it endures.