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
I have to thank CBC, actually, for making this movie. Before a visit to Halifax on the QE2, I had never heard of the Explosion (typical American - although, in fact, I'm Canadian-born). But even seeing the great memorial didn't really register the extent of the disaster until I saw the movie. Yes, characters were combined or fictionalized in some cases, but that is absolutely secondary to the portrayal of that horrific episode in Canadian history. The effects of the blast were particularly well done. I hope it plays again, as indeed it should every couple of years or so, to remind us all of both the losses and the bravery incurred that day.
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