The Island at the Top of the World

Synopsis: An Edwardian gentleman hopes to find his long-lost son, who vanished whilst searching for a mysterious Viking community in a volcanic valley somewhere in uncharted Arctic regions. The gentleman puts together an expedition team to go on the search, but when they reach their destination they must escape from some Viking descendants who will kill to keep their existence a secret.
Director(s): Robert Stevenson
Production: Walt Disney Productions
Rotten Tomatoes:
93 min

- Good evening.

- I'm Professor Ivarsson.

Yes, Sir Anthony

has been expecting you.

It's in your hands, Milo.

- Stand fast. They'll come to terms.

- Very well.

If problems come up,

consult with the board.

They know my thinking.

Ah, Professor Ivarsson.

I cannot tell you how grateful I am

you've joined me.

I haven't agreed to anything.

Someone woke me up

at 6.00 yesterday morning

saying he was the

British ambassador.

It was the British ambassador.

He'd arranged my passage

on a mail-boat to England,

and a large man packed my bags

and drove me to the dock.

- Your train leaves in ten minutes.

- Good. Come along, Ivarsson.

But the... Sir Anthony.

Expedition to the Arctic?

I'm hardly a professional explorer.

No, let me finish.

- I've had you looked into.

- Oh.

You're an American

from the University of Minnesota,

currently a guest lecturer

at the University of Christiania.

Your specialty is

the archaeology of the North.

In the past, you've led

several successful expeditions.

You've done interesting work

in Greenland.

Oh, no. You're the right man

for the job, all right.

For what job? What's so urgent

about it? What is it you hope to find?

My... son.

You see, my wife died

when Donald was a child.

I began to groom him

to take my place in the business.

I pushed him too hard, I think.

Anyway, we had words.

And suddenly,

Donald dropped everything

and went off on a whaling ship

as an ordinary seaman.

Three months later, I got word

that he'd left the ship in Bathenland.


I had no idea

until I received this from a trading post

at Fort Conger on Ellesmere Island.

Donald had left it with the factor

for safe keeping

when he had gone off

on some sort of expedition.

When he didn't come back,

the factor sent it on to me.

Hmm. It's an old page from

a Hudson's Bay Company journal.

Look at the entry for January 15, 1856.

"To this post, this day came

John Merchison with his Eskimos,

"who hunt the white bear

far beyond the land's end.

"He told of seeing a lone cloud,

as if lying on the ice,

"and hidden beneath it, an island.

"This island, he sought to examine,

but his Eskimos refused him,

"saying it's guarded by evil spirits.

"For it's the place

where the whales go to die."

- We're coming into Dover now.

- Thank you.

Sir Anthony, the graveyard of whales

is just a fantasy, a whaler's El Dorado,

where he thinks he's going to find a

fortune in whalebone and ambergris.

Fact is, it simply doesn't exist.

It's a legend, nothing more.

Legend or not, the graveyard

is what my son went after.

It's my son I'm looking for.

- Quarters?

- Take our luggage to the admiral DPO.

Sir Anthony, I'm afraid this has

to be the end of the line for me.

I'd help if I could. I know

how much this means to you.

But you're trying the impossible.

To try to find one man with nothing

more than a page from a journal...

There is something more.

Donald also left this with the factor.

I was hoping

you might know what it was.

It's a carved bone. It's Eskimo work.

It's quite common in the Arctic.

- This one's a kind of a map.

- Map?

If I had a chart,

I could show you how this works.

My yacht is at the pier.

You can have all the charts you need.

This pattern, hopefully, will correspond

to some part of the shoreline

here on the chart.


See how this matches.

It's not exactly to scale, of course.

Then this red mark could be

what we're looking for.

If there were such an island.

- Why shouldn't there be?

- There's no land here.

It's just a gigantic frozen sea.

All explorers agree.

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John Whedon

John Ogden Whedon (November 5, 1905 – November 22, 1991) was an American screenwriter. He is best known for his writing for the television series The Donna Reed Show during the 1950s. Whedon also wrote for The Great Gildersleeve on radio, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Leave It to Beaver. He and wife, Louise Carroll Angell, are the parents of television screenwriter Tom Whedon and Julia Whedon, and the grandparents of film and TV screenwriter and director Joss Whedon and screenwriters Jed Whedon and Zack Whedon. Whedon died in Medford, Jackson County, Oregon, on November 22, 1991. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Island at the Top of the World" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 25 Jul 2021. <>.

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