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"Curiosity" What Sank Titanic? (2011)

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

One of the most frightfully inaccurate documentaries on the subject.

Author: J Kent Layton from United States
16 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was quite enthused to see this particular production, as it seemed to be coming at the story of the "Titanic" from a fresh direction. Sadly, as someone who has researched the history of this ship for thirty years, I was dumbfounded by the glaring historical errors it contained. Here are just a few of the mistakes I spotted, among many:

1. Thomas Andrews is reported to have told Captain Smith that the difference between "Titanic's" gross registered tonnage (46,329) and her displacement (52,310) as the '6,000 tons that keeps "Titanic" afloat.' This is a glaring technical error. GRT was actually a measurement of interior volume, not weight, and had nothing to do with the ship's flotation or balance. The two things are wholly unrelated.

2. Elizabeth Dowdell is portrayed as being in a bathtub at the time of the collision. According to her own accounts, she was in her cabin preparing for bed at the time. None of her accounts refer to being trapped under water; rather, she reached the deck without any serious incident and left in Boat No. 13.

3. Berthe Antonine Mayné (Madame de Villiers) left the ship in Boat No. 6. She was persuaded not to return to her cabin to retrieve her personal items by Margaret Brown.

4. The crewman stuck in the aft shaft tunnel. According to Greaser Frederick Scott, there was another greaser caught in the aft tunnel behind a watertight door. However, he did not mention that the man was injured in any way. There were escape hatches for the men to leave the shaft tunnels, should the doors have been closed with them inside. A second-hand newspaper account by Bedroom Steward Theissinger mentioned that "an engineer" had his leg caught in a watertight door in the Engine Room, and that he "begged to be shot to end his agony." Theissinger said: "His wish was complied with." However, the account is second-hand, and other details of Theissinger's account are suspect. There does not seem to be any supporting first-hand evidence of this entire storyline.

5. Water is portrayed as having reached C Deck far too early.

6. The ship's lights above the water were reported to have burned steadily, even under water. In this documentary, lights were portrayed as flickering and extinguishing even while above water.

7. Fourth Officer Boxhall is portrayed as sporting a full beard. He, Lightoller and Lowe were all clean-shaven; Third Officer Pitman sported a neatly trimmed mustache.

8. Bruce Ismay is portrayed as intimidating Captain Smith and Chief Engineer Bell into moving the ship forward after the collision. While the ship's engines were engaged again for a very short time, the evidence indicates that they were probably rung off for good by about the time that Ismay first arrived on the Bridge. Ismay never appears to have gone to the Engine Room, actually meeting bell at the top of the Grand Staircase. Also, there is no reason to think that Captain Smith moved the ship after the collision under Ismay's pressure.

9. Jack Thayer (John B. Thayer, Jr.) was not sharing a stateroom with his parents; they were in adjoining cabins. Jack had only just bid his mother good night, and had not yet climbed into bed at the time of the accident.

10. Fred Barrett clearly stated in his testimony at the British Inquiry that the actual stokehold of Boiler Room No. 5 was dry until the rush of water. This show gives the impression that No. 5 was partially flooded before the rush of water.

There are others, but even this short list should help to show that not everything (or perhaps even much) in this documentary should be believed without researching the matter further.

Now, a note about something interesting in the documentary: Someone portrayed First Officer Murdoch as ringing "Stop" on the Engine Room telegraphs during the evasive action. According to almost everyone except Fourth Officer Boxhall, this is the actual order he rang down on the telegraph at the time. At least this shows that someone was doing some digging on the matter.

In all, this documentary had many errors, and could have been much better. Very disappointing.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

This is trash!

Author: adpretty from Canada
6 May 2012

To real Titanic buffs who have read countless books, actual testimony from the inquiries etc. this movie is an insult. The producers failed to get the unquestionable standing facts straight.

For instance: 1. It is stated that the ship carried sixteen lifeboats; four more than the board of trade required for a ship with watertight subdivision.

In fact the Titanic carried sixteen standard lifeboats which met the board of trade requirement and she also in addition carried 4 collapsible boats, to a total of 20.

2. It is stated that the watertight doors were opened sometime after the collision and left open during the sinking. The captain said this would even out the flooding to make launching the lifeboats easier.

This is FALSE. Where do they come up with it??? The ship would have filled, listed heavily and capsized if all the water tight doors were left open. This was proved by several studies.

There are many more mistakes and inaccuracies, so it just goes to show that you shouldn't assume something is correct just because its shown in a documentary.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:


Author: pawebster from England
28 March 2012

This is a top-notch film. I can't understand how it's been buried away (on Channel 5 in the UK, under a different name), when it should be much more prominent and widely reviewed. There are some good actors in it, and it looks expensive: the sets and the CGI are of a very high standard - much better than in some much more high-profile versions.

The whole thing gives a fuller and more convincing impression of the Titanic as it really must have been than any of the many syrupy "Let's tack on a soap opera" versions - which are still being churned out. It also manages a real sense of danger, even though the story is so well known.

If you get a chance to see it, don't miss it.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Best Titanic doco ever!

Author: Dee Dee from Australia
1 May 2012

I was so impressed by this doco that I just sent an email to the production company. The email sums up what I felt (so am providing it as a review as I can't be bothered to retype it into a review format). By the way in Australia this was called "Inside the Titanic" So here is what I said in my email:

I recently watched your doco "Inside the Titanic". I wanted to say thank you for finally providing the information that I've vainly searched for on the Titanic. I've found every documentary that I've seen on the titanic quite frustrating because they always solely focus on the engineering and the facts of how it sank. Naturally that's important information and your doco also provided this info, however so far yours is the only doco I've seen that actually recreated some of the passengers and workers stories. Usually the passengers stories in other docos are very limited or they might only mention 1 or 2 people, and usually the focus is on the crew (as in the captain and seamen). However you had a broad range of stories from the crew, the workers (such as the stokers) and the passengers. Obviously you wouldn't have time to explore everyone's stories but at least you explored some. Even when I went to the Titanic exhibition in New York it focused on the artefacts found, hardly any info re the actual people on board, any info provided about the people was very brief.

Some of the stories you showed of the people were so fascinating I have no idea why on earth the James Cameron movie made up such a ridiculous story when there was plenty of real life fascinating stories to be found. I love Kate Winslet but deplored that movie. For instance he could have easily used the real life story of Bertha Mayne and her lover. All of the other stories you showed are equally fascinating. It was wonderful (though horrible) to see the stories of the workers (stokers?) who must have worked (and unfortunately died) in terrible conditions. Their stories are too often ignored. And of course the crew stories were fascinating too.

Regarding the James Cameron film I'm over filmmakers making movies about a real event then making up the story. If the movie is so far removed from the real story, then they should have the decency to call the movie "Shipwreck" rather than "The Titanic".

Of course having said this I realise that it's not possible to be completely accurate, no doubt even with your own doco you couldn't always be sure exactly what happened to each passenger so you would have to had to have used some artistic license in recreating the events. That's unavoidable and therefore understandable. I just dislike when filmmakers decide to make up some absolutely huge lie (like a fictitious love story between passengers that never existed in the case of James Cameron's movie), and in the case of the real Titanic there were plenty of fascinating real stories that could have been used. I also think it was crazy he only focused on one story when he could have used several, Jack Thayer's story, Elizabeth's etc.

I have just watched Julian Fellowes Titanic mini series which I thought was far, far more enjoyable than James Cameron's movie, partly because it focused on more than one passengers story, but I've no doubt that probably a lot of that is highly fictitious too.

Anyway thank you for making something that has finally satisfied my curiosity as to the passengers stories.

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Inaccurate? Perhaps. Entertaining Docudrama? Most Definitely!

Author: James Donnelly ( from Leicester, England
18 October 2014

Broadcast on Channel 5 in the UK as Titanic: 3 Hours That Shook The World, This is an amazingly well produced documentary as told by stories reported by the survivors of the tragic sinking. The CGI is better than most films I've seen, and if I'm honest, its drama is on par with it's Hollywood superior counterpart. I agree with another reviewer that the movie, fantastic though it is, would have been better if we heard more about the people that were featured in this, rather than the fictional relationships that were the focus of the 1997 movie.

True historians may find some of the technicalities false, but for those that don't know, or are just enjoying the drama, won't mind. After all, I'm sure there were many inaccuracies in James Cameron's film! Wonderful 2hrs of escapism on a very real and tragically sad tale of Titanic's maiden voyage!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Hidden Gem

Author: grunsel from United Kingdom
23 April 2012

Agree with the first poster, this an underrated, but top notch film. Obviously a low budget compared to the more well known films, but I subconsciously never questioned a single shot for fake details or CGI, the boat and effects are superbly done.

I thought Lawrence Naismith was the definitive Captain Smith, but Christian Rhodska may have taken over that mantle now? and its hard to believe he once played a carefree,greasy biker in the series Follyfoot, and he was just part of a great cast of relative unknowns. We all know how its going to end, but the editing and acting keep the tension and air of impending doom going from start to finish, and something you could easily watch again and again.

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7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Best Titanic ever

Author: mwm-5 from United States
28 August 2011

This is the best depiction of the tragic sinking of the unsinkable Titanic I've yet seen. Kudos to the uncredited (on IMDb) director, cast and crew of this remarkable re-creation. The documentary style of the film makes one feel we're seeing the actual facts of this much-dramatized event. It far surpasses the three fictional depictions I've seen: "A Night to Remember," the Academy Award-winning film of "Titanic" and the abysmal Tony Award-winning musical "Titanic." The mixture of what I assume are cold hard facts with dramatic recreation is unparalleled. And I say this as one who has read extensively on the subject, and who enjoyed enormously the New York City exhibition a few years ago on 43rd Street, where one received a passport of a passenger, saw actual items recovered from the sunken ship, witnessed full-scale recreations of elements on the ship such as state rooms and the grand staircase, and discovered upon exit how your assumed identity had fared. Some of us died, a few survived. And we were given details of our surrogate passengers' previous lives and future plans. But this television production surpassed everything I've seen or read. I hope a DVD of this production will be made available. I will watch it again, and share it with anyone who shares my own curiosity about this dreadful event, made even more vivid by the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

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