Click here to return to the main site.

Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The Conquest of Everest (1953) (2023 Restoration)


Distributor: StudioCanal


Certificate: U
Release Date: 29 May 2023

To mark the 70th anniversary of the historic expedition, StudioCanal has released a new restoration of the British documentary, The Conquest of Everest. Telling the awe-inspiring story of the first successful attempt on the peak of Mount Everest, this thrilling and important piece of adventuring history features the mountaineers Sir Edmund Hillary, Wilfred Noyce and Tenzing Norgay. The documentary details the history, preparation and description of the route as well as fascinating footage of previous attempts and the social context of the achievement...

The Conquest of Everest is an interesting documentary which charts the conditions and challenges that faced the first successful team to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. It's pretty eye opening, for those not familiar with the conditions, when you witness the fact that these men were heading into uncharted territory. It might also be a surprise to learn how the process wasn't a simple case of making progress, building a successive line of camps and continuing ever forward. There was much back and forth between the camps and watching the Sherpa's carrying heavy loads between the camps, whilst the mountaineers make the same journey but without the same baggage, makes you realise that they were pretty much the heroes of the expedition.

In order to document the entire ascent, the producers had to rely on footage from the climbing team themselves. Select members were given rudimentary training and equipped with cameras and a variety of lenses, which they had to lug around in addition to the actual essentials, such as their oxygen tanks. They also carried a few experimental automatic cameras that were as small as cigarette packets and much easier to use. Original cameraman Tom Stobart fell ill at the lower level, so George Lowe, Hillary’s climbing partner, took over as director and came back with dozens of magazines of footage.

Extras include The Conquest of Everest British Entertainment History Project Interview with Producer John Taylor (1988) (15.28 audio interview); and The Conquest of Everest Premiere (1953) (1 min, 03 sec).

This is an incredibly important documentary which attempts to capture the thrill and jeopardy that the team faced. It's wonderfully informative and really is a must watch.


Nick Smithson

Buy this item online