Superlatives are a dime a dozen. The best superlative on Earth is Mt.Everest. At 29,029 feet above sea level, it is the highest place on the planet.
Fleeting or not, human beings vie for records.Being “the first” commands a special appeal. Edmund Hillary, with Tenzig Norgay, reached Everest’s summit first …maybe.
Before Hillary in 1953 and several others’ attempts in between, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine died close to the summit in 1924.People can only speculate whether they were on their way up or down.
The film, “The Wildest Dream” chronicles Mallory’s life in general and his Everest climb in particular. This includes Mallory’s two scoping missions, also involving a great deal of expense, manpower, and some loss of life.The film benefits from asurprising amount of photographic and film documentation from the 1920s, plus endearing letters between Mallory and his wife Ruthe.
Adding dimension to the film, Conrad Anker and Leo Houlding climb to the summit, recreating various issues Mallory may have faced.For instance, they used the same kind of hobnail boots Mallory wore, and they free climbed a tricky rock face above 28,000 feet that modern climbers circumvent by using a ladder.
In 1999 as part of a search party, Anker discovered Mallory’s body semi-preserved where his slide to death came to rest. Seventy-five years had passed. (Irvine’s body was never found.)
Anker knows death in high places.His best friend died a climber’s death. Anker knows the difficult family challenges strained by months away engaged in such dangerous deeds.Look for a subtly profound moment in the film when Anker’s adopted son responds to a question, answering softly, “I wouldn’t climb Everest.”
“The Wildest Dream” builds on grand cinematography of the highest place on Earth and intriguing images from the life of the man who was asked “Why?” and famously answered, “Because it’s there.” Stories about Mt.Everest are a dime a dozen, but this film tweaks the fascination and finds a way to be superlative.