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Michael Palin - Pole to Pole

4.6 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Michael Palin: Pole to Pole (DVD)

Michael's journey along the 30-degree east line of longitude encompasses 17 countries and both hemispheres -- from Greenland in the north to Kenya, South Africa and Chile in the south. Along the way communism collapses, apartheid ends, and a civil war is sparked as Michael meets Santa Claus and Lenin, goes shopping for camels in Omdurman and makes a final hectic dash to the South Pole.

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Michael Palin, star of Monty Python's Flying Circus and A Fish Called Wanda, is in a comic race against time to get from the North Pole to the South Pole. Palin balks at nothing, tries just about anything, and always finds time for a spot of tea. En route Palin stars in a crayfish documentary in Novgorod, attends a baby-rolling ceremony at a Cypriot wedding, gets stuck in a Nile traffic jam, buys chicken in Wadi Halfa, goes camel shopping in Khartoum, and is prescribed tree bark by a Mpulugu witch doctor to get rid of his evil shadow. Even when things go according to plan, Palin travels in unusual ways--by dogsled on Spitsbergen, barge down the Dnieper, train roof across the Nubian desert, van through the Sudan, hot-air balloon over Kenya, and down Lake Tanganyika on the "African Queen." With curiosity, courage, and his standard aplomb, Palin plunges himself into the local cultures, beating himself with birch branches in a Finnish sauna and wallowing in mud in an Odessa sanatorium. Reminiscent of his Around the World in 80 Days, Palin once again brings some of the world's most inaccessible cities right into your home. An armchair traveler's delight, this collectors' edition of Pole to Pole is ideal for anyone interested in the funny world we live in. --Tara Chace

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Palin
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 9, 2007
  • Run Time: 393 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000R7I49K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,410 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Michael Palin - Pole to Pole" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After the success of Around the World in Eighty Days, Michael Palin embarked on a highly successful career as an adventure tourist. Each of his journeys has a hook: circumnavigating the Pacific Rim, going across the Sahara Desert, or in this case making the journey from the north pole to the south pole following as best as possible longitude 30 degrees.

Along the way, from snow to savannah, from Norway to Nairobi, the charm of Palin's travels comes from the unassuming way he interacts with the people he meets on route. His personality carries the relatively unstructured travalog along on a sea of well-meaning interest and curiosity. He tells us when he's tired, anxious, and bored. We are touched by the genuine friendships he makes, however fleetingly, and the partings are often touching. In Pole to Pole the meat of the journey is Africa and we travel from relatively cosmopolitan Egypt to what in politically incorrect days was referred to as Darkest Africa. Even in 1991 witchdoctors outnumbered the western kind, and random violence was never far from view. Indeed, at one point Palin stays with a European estate owner in Zambia and his family and after the visit is concluded we learn from the voice-over that they were slaughtered six months later.

I spent a few formative years in southern Africa and it was shocking to me to see how little had changed since last I saw it. If anything, most of the change was for the worse: the old trains and buses simply have grown older, the disorder greater. Only in South Africa did time seem to have moved on. For the casual viewer the sheer range of experience in Africa should be fascinating, even though we get the merest glimpse. How can one capture a continent in just a few minutes of video?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this, the best of his travel works (see also Around the World in 80 Days and Full Circle), Palin travels along the 30 degree longitude line, which takes him to many rarely-travelled places, including Chernobyl and parts of Africa where there simply are no roads to travel.
Throughout, Palin is witty and insightful, and one wishes they were with him (except for the scene with the maggots). While travel writing might seem boring, Palin makes it interesting, and exciting. I devoured all his travel books within a very short period of time, and was left wanting more.
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By A Customer on May 18, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
This time, avoiding the obvious too-much-time-at-sea problems of "Around the World in 80 days", Palin's team becomes a marvel of light travel and problem-solving in this somewhat dangerous, honest and good-natured tour of 1990 Eastern Europe and Africa. The music's better too. The best of his series, without a doubt, and possibly the best of this genre of travelogue.
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Format: Paperback
I actually purchased the book before seeing the series, noting the name Michael Palin on the cover, and remembering his adventures around the world in 80 days. The fact that I did not see the show somehow made the book more enjoyable to read. Palin has a very descriptive, yet easy-to-follow writing style, which helped me vividly imagine the exotic locales & various personalities. Of course, the photos by Basil Pao helped a lot. All in all, great work, so much so that it doesn't feel like a TV companion, but a travelogue that can stand strongly on its own.
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Format: VHS Tape
This review is based on watching the DVD version of "Pole to Pole", the BBC TV program made in 1991 that showed Michael Palin traveling from the North Pole to the South Pole.

The trip was based on several rules. The use of aircraft was only allowed when surface travel was not possible, and public transportation was used as much as possible. The trip attempted to follow the 30 degree east longitude line, down through Scandinavia, the then-existing USSR, Turkey and all the way down through the continent of Africa.

The trip took five months and was quite arduous at times. Transportation was almost non-existent in central Africa, parts of Africa had to be avoided due to civil war and Michael Palin was hit by several health problems including two cracked ribs.

The wonderful thing about Michael Palin's travelogues is the enthusiasm, wit and charm that Mr. Palin shows. There are many impromptu encounters with the local people that are humorous and interesting. And, of course, there's the beautiful photography showing the stunning nature that was found along the way.

On the down side it was depressing to see the poverty and hints of political repression and social unrest in parts of Africa. The AIDS epidemic in Africa was also mentioned, and Michael Palin visited an evacuated village near Chernobyl.

This trip was made in 1991 and already when the trip was over world history had changed the landscape, in that the USSR completely unraveled shortly after Michael Palin traveled through it. The years that have passed since 1991 can be noticed in other ways too. For example, the situation in most of Africa has unfortunately gotten worse rather than better.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Look, I like Michael Palin. He is the kind of guy I would love to hang around. Easy going company with a terrific sense of humor and abundant patience. All things I lack. And I love travelogues too. This is the first of a series - that even he might not have anticipated would have as long a run as they have over the years. This is also a very interesting time in history. I remember it well. I also have a couple of points of comparison too, so it makes me very nostalgic as I see him passing through the former Soviet Union, and through the port city of Odessa on the Black Sea - where I had passed through the year before in 1990. And it is incredible to watch as he makes his way through the Middle East and Africa - and then trying to imagine that same trip being made today. He'd probably be killed. Today's world is but 20 years removed, but it is world's away in terms of the new political realities. This also makes this interesting viewing - comparing and contrasting where we have come from and where we are now with some of these countries he passed through. Some of it was pretty touch and go at the time, but Palin handles it well - or if he didn't, then those moments ended up on the cutting room floor. What a great journey. And what a great guide.
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