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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The construction of the RMS Titanic at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast against the background of union riots, political and religious conflicts, and a romance between a young ambitious engineer and an Italian immigrant.
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
Thomas Andrews, the architect of the Titanic who was actually present on the disaster, doesn't appear on this film. He also didn't appear on Titanic (1953). See more »
The Titanic was built and fitted out in Belfast, not Southampton as shown in the film. See more »
Don't try to blackmail me. I could tell them a few things meself.
I've worked for the White Star Line for 12 years. I'm a trusted employee. Who do you think they're going to believe? Me, or Mr. Dickie, who isn't Mr. Dickie at all?
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This looks like a made for TV rush job; perhaps they heard a blockbuster version was in the works (Cameron's mega-hit the next year), and hurried to finish this before the release of it. These coat tail copies have been done before. In any event, this effort at relating the infamous maritime disaster of 1912 is big on ambition, but crippled by low budget.
There are distinct parallels to its more famous 1997 cousin. You get a Jack & Rose type romance, which is written very awkwardly. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Peter Gallagher did their best with it, but it really doesn't evoke the passionate emotion intended. Overall, the idea of the soap-opera entanglements of several characters is a good plan, and the actors mostly do well. However, the constant heavy-handed bashing of rich people is about as subtle as a repeated blows to the head with a tire iron; it really gets old. In particular, the slant on Molly Brown was so far afield it was just dumb. I thought George C. Scott was pretty good as the ill fated Capt. Smith, who inherits the lines of the Titanic's designer, a character that is in other versions, but deleted from existence here.
The film makes an earnest effort to portray the horror and sorrow of the tragedy, but one blunder really hurt the effectiveness: to show the gradually increasing listing of the ship, the director simply has the camera turned at a slight angle, but fails to have the actors lean in the direction. The painfully comic result is characters standing perfectly upright at odd angles where their center of gravity would force them to lean. Also a problem was the unnecessary house-thief crewman (Tim Curry) still wandering around burglarizing state rooms as the water gushes in all around him. Even worse, the character is played as a constantly giggling idiot.
The montage sequence was a good answer for the limited resources available, and the protracted epilogue aboard the Carpathia might have worked better had it been dedicated to giving fates of real survivors; instead, we get the schmaltzy and unrealistic fates of fictional people.
Just fair entertainment, and hardly a good source for the history of the event. If you want the best historical approach at the Titanic's story, see "A Night to Remember," and if you prefer a highly dramatic and fictionalized version, the 1997 Titanic is better than this one.
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