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 <email@example.com>
The first I ever saw or heard of the sinking of the Titanic, was one Saturday evening, when my family sat to watch this film on the old Saturday Night at the Movies. I have been captivated by the subject ever since. Of course, since seeing this version,back in the early sixties, I have read Walter Lord's book A Night To Remember, saw the movie A Night To Remember based on that book, painfully sat through two terrible TV movies on the subject, was incredibly bored by the fictional, Raise The Titanic, and totally enthralled by James Cameron's definitive (for me) version. This movie remains, on it's own terms, solid big studio Hollywood entertainment.
Right at the start we're given a good fictional story, with Barbara Stanwyck taking her two kids on The Titanic, to get them away from her snooty husband, wonderfully played by Clifton Webb in one of his best roles. In order to get on the ship, Webb must pay a steerage passenger a great deal of money for a ticket, and agreeing to make sure that the steerage passenger's wife and kids make the voyage okay. This set's up a great scene later on, as the ship is sinking, but it is also about as much of the people on the lower decks that you'll see in this version.
The scenes between Clifton Webb and Barbra Stanwyck are outstanding, There is one scene in particular, when they are arguing about the fate of they're children, that she tells him a long kept secret, that though brief in nature, is played to perfection.
As for the supporting cast, they are not wasted either. Thelma Ritter, one of the truly great character actors, is excellent as usual. A young Richard Basehart, as a priest questioning his faith, is not on the screen a lot, yet is quite convincing. A young Robert Wagner does just fine trying to win the hand of Audrey Dalton who is equally as good as Clifton Webb's snooty daughter. There are several real life passengers portrayed, such as Isador and Ida Strauss, and their big scene where she refuses to leave her husband behind, is touching and heartbreaking.
If you are looking for a realistic account of the sinking of the Titanic, you won't get it here. What you do get, is excellent acting, tight drama, and some heart wrenching moments that you won't ever forget. Spectacular it isn't, good film making it is.
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