The Wildest Dream: Mallory & Irvine coming to theaters in 2010

Posted: Dec 08, 2009 01:45 am EST

( Remember the Altitude Everest 2007 expedition?

Originally planning to film a documentary on Mallory & Irvine's last ascent, a big team led by Conrad Anker eventually achieved the peaks latest spring season summits - plus a controversy after they falsely claimed a first free climb of the Second Step.

Two years later, the resulting film is ready for screening, titled The Wildest Dream.

Following the premiere at Banff Festival and a charity preview screening in Bozeman (Montana) on December 20th, The Wildest Dream will be distributed by National Geographic Entertainment (NGE) in both 35mm and Imax® in the United States, as well as for Imax® and giant-screen theaters throughout the world.

Mallorys Wildest Dream?

"So what have we come to conquer, only ourselves," Mallory said upon his arrival on Everest. Question is how he would have liked the movie's interpretation:

The film explores Mallorys obsession with becoming the first person to reach the highest place on Earth, a press release by NGE stated. Mallorys incredible adventure lives again, told through the explorers poignant and evocative letters to his wife Ruth, previously unseen photos and film archive from 1924 (restored from the original nitrate especially for the film), dramatization and a modern-day expedition retracing the original route taken in 1924.

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Anthony Geffen, The Wildest Dream is narrated by Liam Neeson and features the voices of Ralph Fiennes as George Mallory, the late Natasha Richardson as Ruth Mallory, Hugh Dancy as Mallory s fellow climber Sandy Irvine and Alan Rickman as Noel Odell, the last person to see Mallory alive.

Ruths missing image a mystery clue

National Geographic describe the film as a tale of adventure and mystery, of challenges met and fears conquered, and of great love. The plot exploits the old M&Is; mystery - summit or not?

All of Mallory's belongings were found intact on his body, except the photograph of his beloved Ruth, which he promised to leave at the top of the world if he succeeded, the press release remarks, depicting the fact as the most heart-breaking clue.

XXIst century review: The 2007 expedition

Ankers team, also including British Kevin Thaw, Gerry Moffat and young rock climbing star Leo Houlding who played Irvines role - showed up in north side BC rather late in the season in order to film the mountains upper slopes with no one else around.

After climbing some sections outfitted like Mallory and Irvine, Conrad and Leo switched to modern gear and supplementary O2 for the final summit push.

The men removed the 90-foot ladder from the Second Step and claimed a first "free climb" of the section, outright ignoring at least two other climbers who had done exactly that - on their own and without bottled gas.

Read an ExWeb editorial on the subject here.

Conrad Ankers Altitude Everest Expedition originally included British climbers Leo Houlding, Kevin Thaw and Gerry Moffat, plus a filming crew focusing on a remake of Mallory and Irvines 1924 ascent.

Anker, starring as Mallory, hoped to climb in 1920s clothes similar to the ones the climber used when he set off for the summit in 1924. Leo Houlding would play Irvine.

Climbing with HiMex's logistics, the climbing team set off from ABC on a summit push mid June, accompanied by 18 Sherpas. On June 13 Anker, Houlding, Moffat, Thaw, and an uncertain number of Sherpas departed the expedition's C4 at 8,300 toward the summit. Guides Mark Woodward and Dean Staples, hired after the appointed cameramen quit, joined the summit group as well.

Summit was achieved at 10.45 a.m. local time, on June 14. The climbers used O2 but performed part of the climb in 1920s-like clothes. Upon return the team claimed they had also achieved the Second Steps first free climb ignoring at least two previous free-climbs of the section both done without oxygen.

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Mallory's wife Ruth pictured in the trailer, courtesy (click to enlarge).
Conrad Anker and Leo Houlding as Mallory and Irvine. Image courtesy of National Geographic blogs (click to enlarge).
Conrad Anker testing his supplementary O2 system during the filming and climbing expedition two years ago. Image courtesy of Altitude Expedition website - 2007 (click to enlarge).
Invitation to the film's charity screening in Bozeman (MT) on December 20th. Image courtesy of the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation (click to enlarge).

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