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The Real Story Behind the Movie Against the Ice

Explore the untold story behind the film 'Against the Ice.' Delve into the historical 1906 Denmark Expedition, its tragic challenges, and Ejnar Mikkelsen's gripping journey, as depicted in the film. Uncover the real events, hardships, and survival that inspired this Netflix release.

"Against the Ice" is a 2022 historical survival film directed by Peter Flinth, depicting the true events recounted in Ejnar Mikkelsen's "Two Against the Ice." Released on Netflix on March 2, 2022, the film received mixed reviews from critics. Before delving into the plot, let's explore the ill-fated Denmark Expedition, as it forms a crucial link to this narrative.

 

In 1906 a two-year expedition known as the “Denmak Expedition” was organized to explore and map the uncharted northeastern coast of Greenland. The expedition sought to investigate Robert Peary's claim of a non-existent "Peary Channel" separating northernmost Greenland from the mainland further south.

 

"Against the Ice" on my Lenovo Legion screen

The expedition, aboard the ship Danmark, arrived at southern Germania Land in August 1906. Ten sleds, led by Mylius-Erichsen, began their journey in March 1907. Confronted with challenging ice conditions, they explored the coastal ice of Jokel Bay, Hovgaard Island, and Mallemuk Mountain.





Mylius Erichsen


Tragically, the expedition faced a devastating setback with the loss of Mylius-Erichsen and two other members during a separate winter sledding expedition. They perished while attempting to reach a previously established supply depot but were unable to return due to worsening weather conditions.



Ejnar Mikkelsen's "Two Against the Ice"

 

Driven by the desire to retrieve crucial data from a previous Danish expedition and fueled by a sense of national pride, Ejnar Mikkelsen embarked on a journey that pushed him and his sole companion, Iver Iversen, to the very edge of survival. Their gripping journey is meticulously narrated in Mikkelsen's book "Two Against the Ice." Their travels aimed to uncover traces and locate the maps and journals of the ill-fated Denmark Expedition's previous explorer, Mylius Erichsen. After a hazardous journey, they managed to find these documents in a cairn. Taking the journals with them, they eventually made it back to their ship, only to discover it crushed in pack ice, with no sign of the other expedition members.


Ejnar Mikkelsen


The recovered journals, including Brønlund’s diary and Hagen’s cartographic drawings, played a crucial role in settling the question of whether Peary Land—a vast area explored by American Robert E. Peary for the first time around 1892—was a peninsula or an island. By confirming it as a peninsula, the expedition affirmed Denmark’s claim to the land, rather than potentially America’s.

 

Enduring great hardships, the two men survived two additional winters in Greenland and were ultimately rescued by a Norwegian sealer when nearly all hope for them had been abandoned. Their remarkable tale stands as a testament to resilience and determination in the face of extreme adversity.

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