Off The Edge

Off The Edge - 1977

Pentacle Films - 73 min

DVD UPC/EAN # 9418212010907

Cast: Jeff Campbell, Blair Trenholme; Original Narration: Ron Hajek, Ron Roy; Video Narration: Peter Maclean.
Screenplay: original - Molly Gregory, video - Thomas F. Horton; Photography: Michael Firth, Geoff Cocks, Geoff Steven, Tony Lilleby; Original Editor: Michael Economou, video editor: Lee Osborne; Music: Richard Clements, 'Higher Trails' composed and sung by John Hanlon; Producer and Director: Michael Firth.

This 1977 Academy Award nominee for best documentary feature was filmed in Mount Cook National Park. It features the skiing and hang-gliding skills of Canadian Blair Trenholme and Colorado native, Jeff Campbell. The original film was shot on 16mm with an original length of 77 minutes, but was re-edited down to 57 minutes when produced for its US video distribution. Given the gear used, including the wearing of jeans, it is a rather remarkable visual product. It is spectacularly filmed from skis, helicopters and hang gliders. Well worth viewing, especially since it has found its way to dvd with its full 77 minutes.

Censor Rating: PG - Review Rating: C+

Off the Edge
Official MP4 Trailer


PAL DVD copies are available from New Zealand sources for about $20nz. Used NTSC copies are very difficult to find and may cost up to $40us. It is presented in its original 1.33:1 format with 2.0 dolby digital English sound. The DVD is the full original 73 minute length, unlike the vhs which is about 20 minutes shorter. DVD extras include a interview with Michael Firth - 23:30; an interview with Jeff Campbell - 13:30; and the 'Higher Trails' music video by John Hanlon - 4 minutes. There are no subtitles.
It is available on a PAL R0 dvd, selling for about $15nz. However, as of October 2017 it is OOP.

Aro Video of Wellington has rental copies available to any NZ address

Alice in Videoland of Christchurch has rental copies available for New Zealand addresses


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Reviews at

Clarke Fountain Review

User Reviews at IMDB

"Visually, Off the Edge is a stunner, with one amazing vista following another. There's no question that Firth and his cameramen - who ranged in number from one to three - as well as Campbell and Trenholme repeatedly risked their necks to achieve one stupendous sequence after another. Why then allow such banal narration to intrude on such imagery and physical daring? Fortunately Richard Clements' apt and varied score takes over in key sections. Despite the self- indulgent narrative, the film is a thoroughly exhilarating experience..." - ( Kevin Thomas, "Hang- gliding and skiing mystique", Los Angeles Times, March 10, 1977)

"Off the Edge is a supremely beautiful picture about alpine mystery and the freedom to excel in its midst [...] In every shot and sequence, whether filmed from the ground or the air, the grandeur of the Alps is an integral part of daring exploits by the men. No postcard views; no travelogue publicity. Off the Edge is the record of an experience that constantly merges with the poetic" - (Catherine de la Roche, The Dominion, September 19, 1977)

Like an expanded travelogue with variable sound and image quality and a sometimes facetious voice-over commentary. But generally amiable and a surprising commercial success. Nominated for a 1977 Academy Award (Nicholas Reid - 'A Decade of New Zealand Film').


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