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The Wildest Dream (movie)

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The Wildest Dream (movie)

Postby Palisades79 » Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:36 pm

Saw "The Widest Dream" in San Francisco last evening. It is very good , is low-keyed compared to most recent Everest t.v. and movie shows, and has outstanding views of the Second Step from different angles.I now think that in Noel Odell's last sighting of Mallory & Finch they were ascending the Second Step as he first thought.
Does anyone know whether Mallory had any pitons with him ?
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Re: The Wildest Dream (movie)

Postby Ejnar Fjerdingstad » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:07 pm

Palisades79 wrote:Saw "The Widest Dream" in San Francisco last evening. It is very good , is low-keyed compared to most recent Everest t.v. and movie shows, and has outstanding views of the Second Step from different angles.I now think that in Noel Odell's last sighting of Mallory & Finch they were ascending the Second Step as he first thought.
Does anyone know whether Mallory had any pitons with him ?


I never understood why they had to climb this difficult step. Why couldn't they have traversed across the face lower down as Messner did in his solo climb?
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Postby Diggler » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:32 pm

Saw this in SF 2 nights ago & enjoyed it. It had all the ingredients for a classic mountaineering documentary/adventure flick:

* Mt. Everest
* the conquest of a big Asian mountain by a colonial superpower
* archival footage of what was so close to being a 1st ascent
* handsome Western heroes ready to make the (modern) conquest
* friendly & obedient native porters
* a modern-day, psuedo parallel story line that didn't quite do what was originally proposed (oh well)
* Mandatory summit hug
* obligatory 2-minute tribute to ex-partner Alex Lowe (necessary to draw parallels between Anker & Mallory)

Some observations I made whilst watching:

Early on, Brit rockstar Leo Houlding is shown casually soloing some sick roof route in the Peak District (looked like at least 5.11 to me, whatever that is over there- E9 VHDS, or whatever :) ). This leads one to naturally presume that he's going to be the one dispatching the 2nd step. Not so fast, though. When they get there, Houlding gets cock-blocked American style as big mountain veteran Anker makes him his belay bitch & sends it ('I know you're a badass, kid, but I'm the MAN around here...'). It seemed to me that during this time Houlding's brake hand was a bit sleepy ('I'd be delighted to belay, along with an extra side of penalty slack.'). This in turn was returned as Anker belayed Houlding up.

A theme was emphasized early on about how the modern protagonists would be attempting the climb with Mallory-era equipment. There was a good shot of them crossing a glacier with their funny glasses, pants, leather boots, cotton rope, etc. When they were up ready to send the 2nd step, though, these items had mysteriously been replaced by puffy orange North Face & red Berghaus gear, wraparound sunglasses, etc. Afterwards, in the post-climb interviews, Houlding suggests with a straight face that it would have definitely been possible for Mallory/Irvine to free the 2nd step (as they had just done). This after professional climbers (mind you Mallory was a complete badass, but a school teacher nevertheless!!) pull it off with modern boots, harnesses, ropes, & (here's the clincher) cams. That's a good one!

Early on, Anker walks into the dining room in his vintage climbing clothing & asks "Well, what do you think? Am I going to summit Everest in these, or is it a Halloween costume?" Apparently it was the latter. It was never explained what happened to the ill-fated idea... As a result, this portion of the film felt a bit contrived, trying to do the parallel story line, then having it vanish without an explanation. Props to the boys, though, for doing it without sucking Os.

I think that I enjoyed most the insight into Mallory & Irving's lives before & outside of the mountain. It really made them seem like real people, & more than just 2 names attached to the Big E. Mallory's connection to his wife, & struggle with choosing either her or the mountain, was well presented.

Overall grade: B
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Postby nartreb » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:57 pm

When they get there, Houlding gets cock-blocked


I asked Anker about this at the Boston showing. "You recruited a young, talented climber, why didn't he lead the second step?" I understood his answer to mean that Anker always intended to lead the step himself; the young "sidekick" was just there to create a parallel narrative to the Mallory expedition.
This parallel narrative conceit irked me, as did the whole "period gear" nonsense. They wore the old stuff twice, briefly. This clearly proved (no disrespect here at all) that Mallory was a hell of a lot more of a badass than Anker; Anker and pal worried about getting frostbite in that gear ("[Mallory & co] would have been OK as long as they kept moving, but if they stopped they'd be in big trouble"; we know that Mallory camped (ie, stopped) in that gear but we also know that the frostbite rate on those expeditions was high.)

Houlding provided most of the best moments of the film: as a newbie to high altitude, he did a much better job of verbalizing his experience re: cold, lack of breath, etc.

By the way, Anker not only used cams and pitons to climb the step, he also carried up a block of wood just to protect (in combination with a cam) the wide crack to the left of the step. (you can see the block hanging from his neck in a scene just below the step.) That cam-wood stack is what caught him when he slipped as he began the climb up the step. (I *really* didn't like that his voice-over implied he was unprotected there.)

Trivia: the climb of the second step was done in a single take shot from both above and below; in some of the shots the other camera has been digitally edited out.

Props to the boys, though, for doing it without sucking Os
Anker and Houlding did carry O2, though Anker didn't use it during the actual climbing of the second step.
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Postby welle » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:41 pm

I saw the premiere with Conrad in NY and had the same sentiments as Diggler's. A lot of cheese, but great cinematography and good historical insight. It was great to see it on a big screen, but the film material is more of a PBS or Discovery Channel special worthy rather than a feature film.

And I disagree with Natreb about the period clothes and gear, as Walter Bonatti said "No mountain worth one's life" after abandoning his Eiger attempt (I'm sure I'm butchering the quote), certainly no film is worth risking people's lives or toes for that matter. You have to remember, they had to climb really late in the season so they could shoot the film when crowds were gone. They also had to go and remove Chinese ladder, and after free-climbing Second Step, put it back up. So understandably they were racing time before monsoons, they could clearly climb faster with more modern equipment. I also don't think any insurance company would've written a policy for them and the film crew to climb the mountain in antiquated gear.
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Postby nartreb » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:51 pm

welle wrote:
And I disagree with Natreb about the period clothes and gear, as Walter Bonatti said "No mountain worth one's life"


No disagreement from me, though Mallory probably would. What bothered me was the extended tease, where Anker repeatedly implied he'd climb the second step in period gear.
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Postby welle » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:45 pm

^^^ True, I expected more. I once met a guy who does a lot of Revolutionary War reenactments, he told me he also does old Adirondack Trapper thingy up in Adirondacks during winter - in wool pants, canvas tents and 100lbs. packs. That's hardcore!
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Postby CindyAbbott » Sat Aug 28, 2010 8:16 pm

nartreb wrote: Houlding provided most of the best moments of the film: as a newbie to high altitude, he did a much better job of verbalizing his experience re: cold, lack of breath, etc.

By the way, Anker not only used cams and pitons to climb the step, he also carried up a block of wood just to protect (in combination with a cam) the wide crack to the left of the step. (you can see the block hanging from his neck in a scene just below the step.) That cam-wood stack is what caught him when he slipped as he began the climb up the step. (I *really* didn't like that his voice-over implied he was unprotected there.)

Ditto: I saw that too.

Trivia: the climb of the second step was done in a single take shot from both above and below; in some of the shots the other camera has been digitally edited out.

Props to the boys, though, for doing it without sucking Os
Anker and Houlding did carry O2, though Anker didn't use it during the actual climbing of the second step.


In the summit shot you can see the O2 hose coming out of his pack.
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Re: The Wildest Dream (movie)

Postby radson » Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:21 am

Diggler, great review. I watched the movie at IMax sydney yesterday I too thought it was a mostly great movie and and I too completely disagreed with Anker and Houlding's notion that based on their efforts that Mallory could have climbed it. Very interesting about the block of wood Natreb, I hadn't noticed that.

It seems like apart from their modern boots and clothes, the ability to 'dry-tool' on the rock with their crampons, a shitload of cams, a 2:30 departure so that they could be at the 2nd step in relative warmth, Mallory and Irvine could have made it. I just don't believe it.
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Re: The Wildest Dream (movie)

Postby PAROFES » Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:28 am

Does anybody know a torrent file to that movie? I'm crazy to see it but here at my country i can't find it, not even at the cinema...
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