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Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion (2003)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama | History  -  19 February 2005 (Hungary)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 235 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 2 critic

A true story about the tragic explosion at Halifax Harbour, Canada, in the early hours of December 6, 1917.

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Title: Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion (TV Movie 2003)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Captain Charlie Collins
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Dr. Barbara Paxton
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Francis Mackey
...
Beatrix Collins
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Ernest 'Ernst' Masterson
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Constance 'Connie' Collins
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Courtney 'Court' Collins
Paul Doucet ...
Captain Le Medec
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Millicent Collins
Richard Donat ...
Patrick Collins
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Sergeant Sam Barlow
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Capt. Horatio Brannen
...
Naval Officer McNabb
Leon Pownall ...
Commander Frederick Wyatt
Graham Harley ...
Mr. Cleese
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Storyline

Shattered City, an epic two-part mini-series, dramatizes a compelling piece of Canadian history. It is the story of how a tragic incident at the height of the First World War became a living metaphor for the worldwide conflict, and how Halifax arose from the ashes after severe destruction and devastation. In the early hours of December 6, 1917, the Mont Blanc, a French-owned freighter loaded to the gunnel's with thousands of tons of TNT, collided with a Belgian relief ship and exploded in the Halifax Harbour. The explosion was so vast that it killed more than 2,000 people, injured 9,000 more and completely flattened two square kilometers of northern Halifax. The series settles mostly on one family, the Collins, who's eldest son Charlie, a captain in the Royal Canadian Army, who tries to find the rest of his family including his fatally injured father, as well as his mother, and other siblings among the rubble, and later finds himself as a lawyer defending the Mont Blanc's captain, Le ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

19 February 2005 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Touchée en plein coeur  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

199 people were blinded See more »

Goofs

The town hall scenes are filmed in Grace United Church in Dartmouth. Visible is a brass plaque on the wall which recognizes the efforts of the congregation in the rebuilding of the church after the explosion - Grace United having been destroyed in the Halifax Explosion. See more »

Crazy Credits

This film is dedicated to the spirit and the memory of Constance "Connie" Bond Young August 9, 1911 - February 22, 2003 See more »

Connections

Followed by City of Ruins: The Halifax Explosion (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An interesting but flawed miniseries.
7 June 2005 | by (St. Albans,VT) – See all my reviews

My commentary: First and foremost, while the emphasis was on human error in the movie, the fact is war is a very fertile breeding ground for accidents on top of the deliberate carnage. "Saving Private Ryan" noted this with the mention of the glider that was fitted with armor plating - but no one thought to tell the pilot. So it crashes and six soldiers are killed needlessly. Accounts of war proliferate in tragic incidents such as that one. The Halifax Explosion must be the biggest war-related accident in history.

The Great War featured incomprehensibly vast usage of artillery shells, and artillery shells need TNT and other explosives. A lot of this had to be imported from the U.S., and by ships. Ships had to be gathered in ports. Ports will then see a lot of ships coming and going, and harbor masters are going to be pressed to keep all this traffic moving. The odds were considerable something like the incident of Dec. 6th, 1917 would happen someplace in Allied ports sooner or later.

Captain Le Medec probably wasn't the greatest or bravest mariner of all time. But how many ship captains who have seniority or pull are going to agree to captain a massive floating bomb at the height of the U-boat menace? Second, did anyone notice that the movie exonerates harbor pilot Mackie while making Le Medec and the Belgian captain look like total dolts at the helm; and has Mackie trying to avert disaster while the Frenchman funks off with his crew? Considering it is a Canadian and not a French production, what a surprise.

Then there is the almost defeatist speech Capt. Collins gives to the war rally in the church. Excuse me, an *officer* in HM forces blurting out like that? It simply wouldn't have happened at the time. Contrary to what he later tells Barbara, Germans weren't close to suing for peace at the time, and the war wasn't kept going only because the Allies wanted another year of war profits. Indeed, with the Western Front stalemated and Russia close to surrender, Ludendorff et al were convinced victory for Germany was just around the corner. And a lot of people on the Allied side feared the same thing.

On the plus side, I was impressed by what the production did with a limited CBC budget.


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