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Titanic (1953)

Not Rated | | Drama, History, Romance | 13 July 1953 (UK)
An unhappily married couple struggle to deal with their problems while on board the ill-fated ship.

Director:

Jean Negulesco
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Clifton Webb ... Richard Ward Sturges
Barbara Stanwyck ... Julia Sturges
Robert Wagner ... Gifford Rogers
Audrey Dalton ... Annette Sturges
Thelma Ritter ... Maude Young
Brian Aherne ... Captain E. J. Smith
Richard Basehart ... George Healey
Allyn Joslyn ... Earl Meeker
James Todd James Todd ... Sandy Comstock
Frances Bergen ... Madeleine Astor
William Johnstone William Johnstone ... John Jacob Astor
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Storyline

Unhappily married and uncomfortable with life among the British upper crust, Julia Sturges takes her two children and boards the Titanic for America. Her husband Richard also arranges passage on the doomed luxury liner in order to let him have custody of their two children. Their problems soon seem minor when the ship hits an iceberg. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

TITANIC in Emotion...in Spectacle...in Climax...in Cast!

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Basque | French | Spanish

Release Date:

13 July 1953 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Nearer My God to Thee See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,805,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Of all the movies Barbara Stanwyck appeared in, Titanic was the only one to win an Oscar. See more »

Goofs

Maude Young makes a sarcastic remark to Mr. Meeker in the lifeboat, suggesting that he is a coward. Mr. Meeker is dressed in a woman's overcoat and scarf. It has been a long-established fact that the "men dressed as women" to survive the disaster was a hoax. This was a rumor started by one survivor's business competitor to discredit him. See more »

Quotes

Annette Sturges: Mama, you should have protested. It's a really bad table. There's not a person we know at the end of this room.
Julia Sturges: Be brave Annette. These tragedies happen sometimes in life.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Bionic Woman: Assault on the Princess (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

The Glow Worm
(1902) (uncredited)
Music by Paul Lincke
Played by the band on the Titanic
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Visually stunning and with very few special effects
18 July 2009 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Titanic (1953)

Visually stunning and with very few special effects

It's hard to be any other Titanic movie than the whopping colossus of 1990s, but once upon a time the best movie about the event was A Night to Remember (and still is in many of our eyes). This is the first of three well-known American versions (there are a number of others, including a slew after Cameron's 1997 Titanic). The 1953 movie not a classic, but it's interesting, with enough subtlety, drama, and really fine beauty to hold it up. For one thing, the photography by Joe MacDonald is stunning, rich and filled with light and shadow without being distracting. Director Jean Negulesco draws out the beauty of the ship less with details than with ambiance. A whole slew of great actors are included, namely Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb. And it clips along in well under two hours, so never flags.

While the story details are largely fiction, the basic framework is of course not. And this bears on how you watch. At the start, for example, when the snotty Webb character Sturges convinces (for selfish reasons, of course) an idealistic young immigrant couple to separate, leaving one of them ashore, we know they might never see each other again. The impending doom of the ship appears again and again in little ways, and it's a fabulous backdrop for drama, if a tragic one.

For awhile, the plot seems almost inconsequential, with the usual upper crust intrigues, sophistication going awry, glimpses of human feelings here and there (the defrocked priest is an untapped resource). If Webb is his usual brilliantly annoying (and amusing) stuffiness, Stanwyck is stately to the point of iciness, no pun there. If her upper crust poise is real, it's also not so interesting, though she does melt a bit by the end. Thelma Ritter is Thelma Ritter, wonderful and purposeful (a counterpoint to the others). There is partying and cardplaying and bickering, the usual cruise ship socializing. There is some singing by a collegiate male choir that is hard to stomach, but it might have been reasonable for the time. And there are iceberg reports, inobvious warnings of trouble. We wait for the event, and then everything tips toward survival, toward reevaluation. The first hour before the iceberg justifies itself in the thirty minutes when all hell breaks loose.

There is little romance, cloying or otherwise, and almost no laboring over the unfair deaths of those in steerage. In fact, if there's a retrospective flaw to the film, it's that it had no qualms telling the story only about the rich, and of their oblivious separateness, and of the false security implied by ponderous wealth.

If you are a true fan of Cameron's Titanic and you really enjoyed the astonishing special effects in it, you might find this tame and stiff and unbearable. If you loved A Night to Remember this one is a good comparison, and if obviously weaker, still an interesting film and visually powerful.


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