The Film Detective has released a restored Blu-ray of The Man Who Skied Down Everest. This film was the 1975 Academy Award winner for best documentary. Is the film a worthy addition to your library? Read on to find out!
The Man Who Skied Down Everest is pretty self explanatory. This film is about a Japanese skier Yûichirô Miura and his dream to ski down Everest. Now if you know anything about the mountain itself you will realize that is impossible. So basically this is a journey about him trying to ski down a particular section of the mountain. Of course it is still dangerous, which brings up what I consider to be the two main groups viewers of the film will fall into.
One group might look at the film as indicative of man’s ability to “conquer” nature and exemplify the spirit of trying to live your dreams. The other group will look at it and ask “Why so much effort to do something so unimportant”? This is especially jarring when the expedition results in several deaths. I would say that this is spoiler material but it’s written all over the back of the box and on the trailer. In any event I think this film can start an interesting discussion among friends about the very nature of the reasons behind doing the documentary.
Plus because of the tragedy they didn’t really have all the footage needed to make a feature length film. So, much like Nanook of the North, new footage was created and shots were re-staged to pad out the run time. This information could create more interesting discussions about the validity of such actions, suspensions of disbelief and if it deserved the Academy Award for best documentary.
The Man Who Skied Down Everest switches between different film stocks and it is noticeable when it changes but generally the picture quality looks good. Obviously this is not the level of BBC Earth or Samsara but I found it interesting to watch. The Film Detective did a good job on the transfer. The film is in 2:35:1 aspect ratio and because of the lenses used at times you can see distortion, mostly noticeable during pans, at the edges of the screen. This is part of the filming process and has nothing to do with the transfer.
The audio is mostly voice over work done by Douglas Rain (voice of HAL 9000) and a light score. There are also English and Spanish subtitles available. Nothing much in the way of audio fidelity is going on here, so if you expect standard voice over work from a 1970’s era documentary then you will be satisfied. Also please note that the film is pressed on a BD-R and is region free.
There are no special features on this release.
The Man Who Skied Down Everest Final Thoughts:
I thought this film was an interesting release and I am happy to have it in my collection. The history behind the film is as interesting as the documentary itself. It would have been a major bonus to have even a 10 minute modern discussion about it, especially considering the run time of only 86 minutes. However, what we have is a piece of cinema history presented in a nice restoration on home media.
The Man Who Skied Down Everest is not a film that will appeal to everyone but those who are interested in the subject matter will find a great deal to like in this release. If you have seen the movie before and were waiting for an upgrade then I am happy to report that this is the release for you. You can purchase it here on Amazon.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process