Friday, September 17, 2010

Adventurer's Eye: The Autobiography of Everest Film-Man Tom Stobart, by Tom Stobart; page 77

This is the first book I've reviewed on this blog that has not started in the middle of a climb, and it's a little refreshing. Stobart begins with his childhood, growing up in England and generally being uninterested in school. He works towards a career in film, writing reviews for film journals, before being accepted as an apprentice to a documentary film maker. He works on his first film about rivers and meets the girl of his dreams, a dark-haired Rumanian named Kara. She has to return home, and stricken, he decides to follow her. He discovers that the only English language film on Rumania is very poor, and sets about to remedy Rumania's problem as well as his own. On his way out, Germany and Russia make an agreement about Germany's invasion of Poland, and the upheaval of World War II begins. Stobart is only able to make a brief visit to the country and to Kara, without shooting any film, before he must return. His journey is made difficult by the closing of Switzerland's borders and his lack of cash. By the time he arrives in France, he has five shillings left for his meals. Still determined to be with his love, he joins an international charity run by the Quakers for service in Rumania. He is able to spend a short time there before Rumania takes the side of the Germans, and he is expelled from the country. Stobart begs Kara to come with him, but she insists she must stay with her family. He can no longer return by way of Italy and France, and can only leave Rumania by traveling east. He works his way through Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq to catch a boat to India. First and second class are booked for six months solid, so he and a Czech companion travel third class on the deck of the ship, and find themselves unprepared without their own food, bedding, or cooking wares. They convince the captain to allow them to pay a second class fare in exchange for food and beds. Without money, Stobart find himself trapped in India. He helps some locals put together some films without pay, and has trouble finding any work. After a time, a military officer approaches him and asks him to teach military men how to make films for military use. He enjoys the work an works very hard, so much so, that the doctor prescribes him 6 weeks vacation to recover from multiple illnesses. It is here that we find out that Stobart knew Odell of Everest fame as a child, and loved listening to his stories and looking through his pictures. With six weeks vacation and some money in his pocket, he naturally heads straightaway to the Himalayas! (This book continues here.)

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