This film is part of Free
Wings Over Everest
Released by British-Gaumont in 1934, this film documents The ‘Houston Mount Everest Expedition’ organized by Major L V Stewart Blacker, to fly over Mount Everest
Released by British-Gaumont in 1934, this film documents The ‘Houston Mount Everest Expedition’ organized by Major L V Stewart Blacker, to fly over Mount Everest. Blacker persuaded the Royal Geographical Society, Air Ministry, India Office and Nepali government to let the flight go ahead. Financed by Lady Lucy Houston D.B.E., an aviator whose sponsorship also led to improvements in the Merlin engine and ultimately the development of the Spitfire. The film contains footage from three flights, two by Lord Clydesdale over Everest and one over Kangchenjunga by Air Commodore Fellowes.
Inspiration first came from novelist John Buchan, dismayed to see Americans fly first over the North and South Poles; he determined that a British flight should be first over Everest. Flying Westland PV-3 biplanes, the two aviators were 28-year-old Flight Lieutenant David Fowler McIntyre and 30-year-old Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, Marquis of Clydesdale. They wore specially designed electrically heated suits. The stills photography and film advanced knowledge and understanding of the Himalayan region and would be important to the planning for the 1953 ascent of Everest. The American release of the film narrated by Lowell Thomas, won an Oscar in 1934.