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.
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
I feel like a defence lawyer who has been hired to defend an impossible case because despite what I wrote below, I bought a copy of this video as part of my extensive film, book and media "Titanic" collection.Where do I begin?Well, let me first list the failings of this TV mini-series:
1.As stated by other reviewers below, this was an ill-judged subject on the tv budget available.It would have required an enormous amount if one wished to do it justice and was obviously outside the scope of the money available.Even so, a lot was spent but the special effects look phoney now and ineffective.
2.Once again the scale of the ship made on set is far too small, see my critique of "SOS Titanic" (1979) another tv disaster of this ilk.Even Cameron made "Titanic" at about 70% of the real size for his cinema version the following year.
3.Must we endure these sloppy unconvincing fictional love stories wrapped up with the actual facts?."Titanic"(1953) and Cameron's (1997) both had them.At least "A Night to Remember (1958) had two low key lovers on their honeymoon.We all know why film producers have them, - to amuse those not interested in history or the actual facts and so rope them into the cinemas or video shops.I found Catherine Zeta Jones' character irritating as she prepared to renounce her lovely daughter for some ex-boyfriend and go galavanting off to Bolivia with him.She certainly changed her tune when she landed safely in New York and discovered her husband had not received the cablegram stating she was leaving him.
4.Must we endure grating American accents portraying British officers?This is a point I have made here before e.g. (see "Love Letters (1945)).There is always a great pool of authentic British acting talent available for these roles!!
5.Lazy research.How different from the late Walter Lord in his famous work "A Night to Remember (1955)".This was the product of the extensive research he did in his own time while working as an advertising copywriter in New York.See my critique "A Tribute to Walter" in the film mentioned before.A few examples will suffice.Titanic is seen to leave Southampton with her starboard side nearest to the dock whereas it was actually the port side.Anyone could have gleaned this from the easily available photos showing "Titanic" moored at the "Ocean dock" Southampton.One in particular is famous (taken 10th April 1912 on Good Friday) with flags bedecking her from stem to stern.The captain is seen to be holding the ship's wheel.Never!!This was the job of the coxain e.g. Robert Hichens who incidentally was notionally in charge of the same lifeboat as Molly Brown.No passengers would have been allowed on the bridge and certainly not allowed to turn the ship's wheel!!Ridiculous!!
6.There was no evidence this was Captain Smith's last voyage - only speculation and Ismay did not descend to the boiler room ordering more boilers be lit.The only documeneted fact is that Mrs Candee claimed she was in the 1st class lounge drinking a beverage with a friend and thought she heard, at an adjoining table, Ismay request Capt. Smith to better the "Olympic's" maiden voyage time if possible.
7.None of the music heard was easily recognised from the White Star music list.Each song and tune had a number which the ship's band had to know by heart.At least we were spared "another rendition of, "Nearer my God to Thee" which is itself debatable as the last song heard as the ship took her final plunge.
8.The rape scene as mentioned by my learned colleagues below was completely unnecessary to the plot and highly unlikely even in this fiction.
9.The reason the lookouts did not have binoculars was because they had been removed at Southampton.The water-tight doors were closed before, not after the collision.It was Thomas Andrews, not Capt. Smith. who explained the ship's architectural drawings and the effect of the inrush of seawater to the officers, I could go on but I'm boring myself.
10.Again I stress.When will film producers listen to the experts when dealing with actual historic matters and not carry on with their own stupid agenda?It is also an insult to that army of clued up intelligent viewers who also know the facts having read the official testimony, books and evidence etc.We have had this before when a recent film claimed it was an American submarine who captured the German "Enigma" codes in WWII and I was aghast to hear recently that there is soon to be a film starring Tom Cruise who passes himself off as a hotshot WWII fighter pilot who wins the Battle of Britain in 1940 virtually single-handed!!.Hollywood agenda again - urgh!!
Now to the film's good points.Are there any? I always hope I will learn something new from a film like this which deals with actual historical facts but sadly I was deliberately mis-informed.It can only therefore be judged as a work of fiction to entertain a less discerning audience.On that basis it was average.The final denouement of the ship sinking was portrayed as a rapid pastiche of overlaid images, a neat way of avoiding having to go to the expense of actually "sinking" the Titanic!
I rated it 4/10 on entertainment value alone.
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