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To the Ends of the Earth (1983) Review

In 1972, Ginny Fiennes envisioned an incredible expedition: a longitudinal circumnavigation of the Earth, using only surface transport and following the Greenwich Meridian. It was a dangerous undertaking no-one had attempted before, and few would be brave or mad enough to try. Luckily for her, Ginny happened to know the perfect candidate for the job: her husband, noted adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes. After years of careful planning, the so-called Transglobe Expedition began, with the team- consisting of the two Fienneses, their dog Bothie, Oliver Shepard and Charles Burton- setting off from London in 1979; not to return until 1982. As they battled the elements across continents, the team inspired millions with their courage; securing for themselves places in the annals of history's greatest explorers to boot.

Directed by William Kronick, 'To the Ends of the Earth' is an inspiring documentary detailing the expedition, with narration provided by Richard Burton throughout. A riveting watch from start to finish, the film is a fascinating account of travel and adventure, through lands rarely captured on screen. As well as being a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit, the film also provides audiences with a biographical history of Sir Fiennes' life and achievements, while also highlighting how integral Ginny was both to him and his adventures. Without her masterminding the endeavors, manning the radio equipment back in their makeshift HQ and tending to all manner of other duties, the expeditions that made her husband so famous would have never occurred. In this way, 'To the Ends of the Earth' functions as a love story of kindred souls who supported each other no matter what, through thick and thin.

Together in life and love since they were mere children, Ran- as he likes to be known- and Ginny come across as intelligent, good-humored, endlessly likable folk for whom personal wealth and fame is immaterial. 'To the Ends of the Earth' shows us how they spent years securing nearing 30 million pounds in funding for the expedition, living hand to mouth; focused entirely on their shared goal. Alongside Burton, Shepard and little Bothie, they endured countless hardships in their quest to traverse the globe, from tsetse flies to frostbite and everything in-between. Driven by a desire for knowledge and the spirit of adventure, their mission captured the hearts and minds of an entire nation; and continues to inspire millions to persevere, no matter how great the odds.

'To the Ends of the Earth' features stunning cinematography that lingers in the mind long after the credits have rolled. From the biting desert sands of the Sahara, to the vast wilderness of ice in Antarctica and the tumultuous waters of the Northwest Passage, the photography is continuously epic in scale and scope throughout the Fiennes' 37,000 mile journey. That the team handled the camera-work makes the images even more incredible, considering they were captured whilst in a race against time to complete the expedition on schedule.

A fantastic documentary showcasing the power of perseverance, 'To the Ends of the Earth' should be sought out by anyone even vaguely interested in exploring. Informative, tense and thrilling, the film details the true grit of the Transglobe teammates, who- against overwhelming odds- rose to meet every challenge that fate threw their way. Featuring spirited narration from Richard Burton and stunning cinematography on countless continents, William Kronick's account of Ranulph and Ginny Fiennes' Transglobe Expedition 'To the Ends of the Earth' is enthralling, entertaining and endlessly inspirational.


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