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Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday History Movie "The Secret Land" (1948)

The Secret Land is a 1948 American documentary film about an American expedition code-named "Operation High Jump" to explore Antarctica. It won the Academy Award for Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

This documentary, filmed entirely by military photographers, recounts the U.S. Navy's 1946-47 expedition to Antarctica, known as Operation High Jump. The expedition was under the overall command of Admiral Richard E. Byrd, no stranger to the Antarctic. This was a large undertaking involving 13 ships and over 4000 thousand men. The fleet departed from Norfolk, Virginia traveling through the Panama canal and then southward to their final destination. The trip through the ice pack was fraught with danger and forced the submarine that was part of the fleet to withdraw. The trip was a success meeting all of its scientific goals. The film is narrated by three Hollywood stars, all of whom served in the US Navy: Robert Taylor, Robert Montgomery and Van Heflin.
It should be noted that there are enough "conspiracy theorists" who view Antarctica as something "special." This includes questioning why Byrd had over 4000 men in his force - however, if you think about the number of crew members of 13 ships, plus scientists, it's not all that hard to figure out where that number some from.

In any event, this documentary is history in the raw - and points out the very real risks undertaken by the men of the operation some 69 years ago.

I don't know if the opening with Admiral Nimitz could have been more awkward, but it's nice to see that none of the leaders were as "media savvy" as some are today.

RADM Byrd was about 58 when this expedition was set up. There appear to be some questions about his health.

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