The story of the 1912 sinking of the largest luxury liner ever built, the tragedy that befell over two thousand of the rich and famous as well as of the poor and unknown passengers aboard the doomed ship.
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Joan Van Ark,
The plot focuses on the romances of two couples upon the doomed ship's maiden voyage. Isabella Paradine (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is a wealthy woman mourning the loss of her aunt, who reignites a romance with former flame Wynn Park (Peter Gallagher). Meanwhile, a charming ne'er-do-well named Jamie Perse (Mike Doyle) steals a ticket for the ship, and falls for a sweet innocent Irish girl on board. But their romance is threatened by the villainous Simon Doonan (Tim Curry), who has discovered about the ticket and makes Jamie his unwilling accomplice, as well as having sinister plans for the girl. Written by
Produced in advance of the imminent James Cameron film on the same topic, this made-for-TV movie was rushed into production and very hastily completed in order to cash in on the latter's before-release hype. The film aired over two nights on CBS in late-November 1996. The first part received high Nielsen ratings but experienced a huge drop during the second part, because most viewers got thrown off by the lackluster production. Since the film was so rushed, it included mistakes and historical inaccuracies which Titanic enthusiasts found inexcusable given the wealth of knowledge about the liner and its occupants available by the mid-1990s. See more »
The Titanic's lookouts did indeed have to work without binoculars, but not because they had been taken to the bridge for use there. See more »
The thing with this film is it had good points and it had bad points. Some of the good points are that there were aspects to this film that were far more realistic than James Cameron's. For instance, the young rogue that sneaks onto the ship does so not by winning a suspensful hand of poker, but by stealing the tickets when his drinking buddy has passed out for the evening. This is also the same young rogue who steals a jacket to get into the first-class dining room and then procedes to pick-pocket some of the passengers, starting with John Jacob Astor. The crooked crew member (played by Tim Curry) was a nice touch. And the rape scene was a gritty touch of realism, though painful to watch. And yes folks, stuff like that does, and did happen in real life. This film DID focus on real people that were on the ship, though not neccessarily the same ones as James Cameron. That is neither a good or bad thing, that is what you call a creative decision. For instance, we get a casual glimpse into JJ Astor's Young wife's life through Catherine Zeta-Jones' character, who is in a similar situation. They are friends and have a conversation about it. This makes it feel much more natural than Rose's hurried pointing around the room under the thin guise of gossip.
The thing with the Allisons' maid was interesting- the maid did, in fact, take the baby and get in a life boat, without the mother's consent, causing the parents and their little girl to roam the ship looking for them until it went down. Whether the maid was actually crazy was anybody's guess, but it was an interesting choice of plot in this film. Though just a touch too ridiculous. Captin Smith, though he had a famous actor behind him, was a little off character I thought. He had too much initiative. I'm not using James Cameron's portrayal as a basis for comparison, but Captain Smith, though he had years of sea-faring behind him, had had very little experience with intense situations of that sort and was actually very unprepared for the disaster. He didn't think anything could possibly happen on that voyage. I like Molly Brown better, I don't know why. And I really like the last shot of the first part (cause this was a TV flick)- when the people are kicking the ice around on deck, the camera focuses to the forground where someone has placed a champagne glass on the railing. It slowly slides down the now slight incline and smashes to pieces on the deck. When I saw that, I felt it was worth watching. Overall, this film, was, well, a TV film. Meaning it wasn't that great. But it wasn't that bad either.
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