The fierce cold and awesome isolation of Antarctica is evoked in this 1980 NFU survey of scientific projects and life on New Zealand’s Ross Dependency. Geological and wildlife work is counterpointed by domestic details: a “housewifely” cleaning regime, an impressive liquor order, time-marking beards, and radio chatter at odds with the desolation. There’s poignant footage of one of the last sightseeing flights before the Erebus disaster; and the doco grapples with the uneasy possibility that research may lead to exploitation of the continent’s natural resources.
In this 1956 reel, Sir Edmund Hillary and colleagues describe their mission to set up bases in advance of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Ed meets Everest mate George Lowe in Uruguay to board The Theron, and they smash and use explosives to blast their way through ice, then unload supplies (including the soon-to-be-famous Ferguson tractors). Sections of the footage were shot on 16mm film by Hillary himself. Lt Commander Bill Smith and Dr Trevor Hatherton narrate pathfinding with sledges in McMurdo Sound, on the other side of the continent.
Michael Keir-Morrissey's stage CV ranges widely. On screen, starting with the policeman on 1972's An Awful Silence, he has played his share of authority figures. But it hasn't all been kings and cops: on Gloss, he was ex-husband of magazine baron Maxine Redfern; in Came a Hot Friday, he was "desperate drunk" Morrie Shapelski; and on Shortland Street (in one of two roles to date) Keir-Morrissey played a murderous surgeon.