Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The title tells all in With Byrd at the South Pole: part documentary, part "infomercial" for the man who made it possible. This filmed record of Admiral Richard Byrd's 1928 expedition to the South Pole (his second in three years) works quite well on an entertainment level, mainly because Byrd, a showman at heart, made certain that William Van der Veer and Joseph T. Rucker, the two Pathe cameramen who accompanied him on the journey were given carte blanche as to what they wanted to commit to celluloid. The Admiral had taken a film team along with him on his first expedition but had ignored and neglected them, later expressing regret that he hadn't realized the scientific and box-office value of the motion-picture medium. For the 1928 trip, Byrd made certain that his cameramen would have the best possible facilities at his disposal by bringing along state-of-the-art illumination devices, the better to allow filming to continue even during the six-month Antarctic winter. He also kept the crew happy by bringing along a movie projector and a full stock of comedy films! Expertly assembled and excitingly edited, With Byrd at the South Pole was enhanced by the enthusiastic narration by journalist Floyd Gibbons (of necessity, the film itself was shot silent).