10+ years ago I read Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. For those not familiar, it tells the true and well-documented story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated trans-Antarctic expedition in the early part of the 20th century. Short version:
-ship caught in pack ice, slowly crushed/sunk.
-men offloaded tons of supplies and equipment before it sank, then lived on the ice for over a year before piling into a couple of small boats and heading for (uninhabited) Elephant island.
-From there, Shackleton and five others took one of the small boats on an 800-mile journey across the open ocean to South Georgia Island.
-They came ashore on the opposite side of the island from the whaling station they need to reach, so they made the first crossing of the island on foot, taking several days to cross a treacherous mountain range and summon a rescue for their fellow men back on Elephant Island.
It’s an amazing story. In spite of unbelievably harsh conditions and long odds, out of 50+ men on the expedition, not a single one of them died. My dad read the same book and was so enamored of the whole affair that after he retired, he and my mom went to visit Shackleton’s grave on South Georgia Island (Shackleton had died a few years after the expedition).
So here’s my question:
I see that an IMAX movie exists about this story, and I’m sure there are one or two PBS documentaries out there about it as well. but if Tom Hanks can extract award-winning drama from a bloodstained volleyball, why has Shackleton’s odyssey not been made into a mainstream motion picture? Is there some obvious reason? I mean shit, a group of men missing for several years near Antarctica, and in the end they get rescued with zero fatalities? Talk about intense drama and a perfectly happy ending - this story seems made for Hollywood.