"The Mystery of Britannic" - a historical docudrama that reveals a unique scenery on the terrible fate of the sister ship of the famous Titanic, whose final destiny was to be lost while at ... See full summary »
Marysia S. Peres,
On May 17th 1915, the Lusitania was holed by a single torpedo from a German U-boat. Just 18 minutes later, the liner had sunk. 1,200 of the 1,900 passengers and crew perished. Bitter controversy surrounded the sinking.
The physical appearance in this production of Kenneth Cranham is probably more influenced by the appearance of White Star Line Captain Edward John Smith (famous as the captain of the Titanic) than by the appearance of the real Lusitania captain William Turner, whom Cranham is portraying. Unlike Smith, who's white beard is famous from still photographs and from Bernard Hill's portrayal, surviving photographs of Turner invariably show him as clean-shaven. See more »
The Lusitania's dining salon was a two-story setting with a dome, and its walls and ceiling were painted white. See more »
Adrian Topol's character name is pronounced Voegele in the German dialogue and is spelled this way in the accompanying English subtitles. However in the credits it is spelled Vogele. Correct German spelling uses either "ö" (o with an umlaut) or else "oe". See more »
"Lusitania, murder on the Atlantic" may well be considered as a cheaper version of the 1998-blockbuster "Titanic", starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. Although the Lusitania-film provides good entertainment, it leads you on false tracks when it comes to history.
The big question with Lusitania, unsolved to this day: the ship was too big to sink with only one torpedo. However, historically it is beyond doubt that she was sunk by just one torpedo. Even more so, after being hit she sank pretty fast.
Every fisherman at Ireland's Southern coast can exactly point out the location of the Lusitania-wreck, about 100 meters down. So the wreck has already been investigated by several diving parties, among them one led by Robert Ballard in 1993. Ballard is the American who discovered the wrecks of the "Titanic", as well as that of Hitler's famous battleship "Bismarck". Ballard thinks that the torpedo hit one of Lusitania's coal-stores, making the coal-dust explode. Carrying this explosion on to neighboring coal-stores. Later on another diving party found considerable quantities of unexploded ammunition inside the Lusitania.
Given its status as a passenger-ship carrying civilians, Lusitania's sinking in May 1915 did the German cause in World War I no good.
The film states that this disaster marked a turning point in the history of warfare, by dropping humanity and chivalry completely. This is wrong: for instance, when the German army invaded Belgium less than a year before, their behavior against defenseless Belgian civilians still evokes horror to this day.
Nevertheless Lusitania's sinking functioned well to win over the USA for their military participation in World War I. In Belgium people do not speak English, so German atrocities over there had been missed by the people of the distant USA.
Another false understanding widely current in the Anglo-Saxon part of the world: in shipping-disasters Lusitania comes only second after Titanic.
Counting in lost human lives, the greatest shipping disaster of all was the torpedoing of the German vessel "Wilhelm Gustloff" by a Soviet-Russian submarine. This happened in January 1945, when the Hitler-vessel carried about 10.000 refugees from Germany's threatened Eastern provinces westwards to safety. Nearly all these people drowned in the icy Baltic Sea, making their number of casualties at least four times as big as that of the Titanic.
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