Big budget epic of a cold-hearted Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer (Pitt) who becomes a WWII POW in a British internment camp in India. When he and fellow climber Peter Aufschnaiter (Thewlis) escape, they travel to Tibet where Harrer bonds with and becomes a tutor to the young Dalai Lama (Wangchuk). Sweeping vistas and snow-capped mountain scenery does little to aid the sluggish and unfocused narrative, which tries to cover too many subplots and doesn't really get going until halfway through. Pitt's screen presence is forceful and his performance capable but hampered by a somewhat labored Austrian accent. Based on Harrer's memoirs, film ran into numerous problems, including the revelation that Harrer had Nazi ties, China's sensitivity to the storyline, and India's refusal to allow filming. Director Annaud wound up substituting the Argentine Andes for the Himalayas.
Sony Pictures Home Video, Sony Pictures Plz., 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232, Phone: (310)244-7306, Fax: (310)280-2485, URL: http://www.spe.sony.com, Remarks: Formerly Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
Available on VHS, DVD
Running time 131 minutes.
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