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The first filmed ascent of the Matterhorn North Face in Winter by highly acclaimed adventure film maker Leo Dickinson. Winner of "Grand Prix" at the Les Diablerets Film Festival in 1976.
The Matterhorn is everyone's idea of what a mountain should be. It has a classic outline, awesome outcrops, treacherous slopes, and commands the respect of every climber. The film follows the fortunes of three mountaineers as they tackle the difficult North Face in the cruel grip of winter. To set the scene, the catastrophe which struck Edward Whymper's first ascent party where four of his companions tragically plunged to their deaths, is expertly reenacted. The modern expedition is also plagued by problems: Eric Jones was hit by an avalanche and only manages to stop perilously near the edge of a 1,000 ft cliff edge. Then one of the worst storms ever recorded in Zermatt strikes the Matterhorn. Blazing sunshine can turn to blizzard in minutes making climbing appallingly arduous. The climbers have no alternative but to retreat. Battered but not beaten and with time and bad weather against them, the climbers launch a second attempt. They climb in the dark while thunderstorms r! umble around them. Given the conditions, the camerawork of Leo Dickinson was of remarkable quality; breathtaking photography despite appalling weather conditions. This film is a mountaineering classic.
52 minutes, color, NTSC format, originally filmed in 1975, digitally remastered.
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Leo Dickinson is a pioneer film maker of extreme sports in a class of his own. Described by the American Alpine Journal as ".... unquestionably the world's leading adventure film-maker." Leo Dickinson is probably the most highly acclaimed adventure sports cinematographer of our time, if not the most intrepid!
For three decades now, Leo has been at the forefront of extreme adventure sports, travelling the world to capture adventures on film as they happened. He has made over 50 films of his own and has helped in many others. His films have been shown all over the world and have won major awards in every mountain and adventure film festival world wide.
If his name is not immediately familiar, it's probably because he instinctively eschews publicity for himself. Whether mountaineering, ballooning, skydiving, kayaking or cave diving, Leo has traveled the world to record many historic 'firsts'. He has filmed Messner's first ascent of Everest without oxygen; canoed down the raging torrent of the world's highest river, the Dudh Kosi; hauled a sledge across the desolate Patagonian ice-cap; acted as ballast in Julian Nott's successful attempt to break the balloon altitude record; floated over the Sahara dangling from a cushion of hot air. He has also taken part in hundreds of highly intricate formation freefall sky-dives.
Climbing was Leo's first adventure sport. In 1966, as a teenager, he ventured on his first alpine climbing trip in the Dolomites, climbing with Layton Kor, among others. Shortly after graduating from art school in 1968, where Leo distinguished himself as a prize winning photographer, he decided that there would be more scope for his artistic and creative talents in movies.
Not short on ambition or confidence, he decided that his first film would be nothing less than a first hand view of climbing the North Face of the Eiger. With infectious optimism and in spite of his lack of experience, he managed to persuade Yorkshire Television to back him. In 1970, where other cameramen failed, he succeeded with a team of three other climbers in scaling the Eiger's vicious North Face in appalling conditions. Leo brought back the first ever film of this notoriously dangerous climb. He made history with his debut film and went on to win over 30 major international film awards thereafter.
Leo later branched out into other adventure sports - from sky diving in thin air to cave diving in deep waters. His head for heights was to prove a useful asset. In situations that look insanely dangerous to most people - dangling from balloons or helicopters, or strung in a Tyrolean traverse across a precipitous gorge above treacherous white water - he has the amazing ability to calmly carry on filming in what he likes to call "completely controlled circumstances."
Over the years, the world's leading adventurers have sought him out for his special talent. Leo's special talent lies not only in his expert skills in cameramanship and in his creativity and ingenuity in where to put his cameras. And you mustn't forget that Leo is as much an adventurer as he is a film maker. Leo has an intuitive alertness to those moments of unexpected poignancy that so characterizes adventure documentaries. Like a master story teller, Leo also has that rare talent of being able to communicate to the audience in subtle ways the spirit that moves behind the physical and mental ordeals undertaken by those who test themselves to the limit in the remotest places on earth. This is probably what distinguishes Leo's films from other action films.Review:
Given the conditions, the camerawork of Leo Dickinson was of remarkable quality. -- The Daily telegraph
Spectacular, ambitious film which provides the first visual record of the ascent of the treacherous North Face. -- The Observer
The camerawork on the mountain's north face frequently ignored the advice given to timid climbers - "Never look down". -- The Sunday Times
This film is literally a stunning cliff-hanger. -- Daily Mirror
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