1997’s Titanic for The Greatest Film I’ve Never Seen Blogathon

I know that 1997’s Titanic was a film that several of my husband’s nieces saw over and over and over again.  I know that the film was directed by James Cameron.  I know that it starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.   I know that Celine Dion sang the hit song for the movie, “My Heart Will Go On“, and that it won an Oscar for Best Song in 1998.  I also know that the elderly lady in the film was played by Gloria Stewart, an actress from the early 1930s, who played The Invisible Man’s fiancee in that 1933 film.   Those facts are about all I know of this film as I’ve never watched it.

Being a fan of classic movies, I admit that I am a bit of a snob if a film was made after 1969.   I also confess that if a film comes out today, I am likely to wait until it is available to rent on dvd or via a streaming service instead of going to the theatre to see it.  So, when Cameron’s monster hit arrived in theatres across the US in 1997, I decided to wait and see it via renting it.  However, at the time of the film arriving on dvd,  I was just too busy raising 3 kids, ages 6, 4, 2 and another one due in February of ’98 so viewing the film was put to the back burner of my life.

I am also not ignorant as to what happened on April 15, 1912.  That is the date that the luxury ocean liner hit an iceberg and sank in the icy waters of the North Atlantic, on it’s maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City.   Also, having lived in Missouri since 1993, I have heard about Molly Brown, the subject of the musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown, she being the feisty lady born in Hannibal, MO,  who became rich due to mining and survived the Titanic, doing all she could to help other passengers into the lifeboat that she was on.

Hollywood and Great Britain have actually produced two other movies about the Titanic’s sinking and those I have seen.  1953’s Titanic and 1958’s A Night to Remember.     I do recommend both movies that depict the tragedy in two different ways.

 

 

1953’s Titanic was made by 20th Century Fox.  Jean Negulesco directed and he had an excellent cast to work with: Barbara Stanwyck, Clifton Webb, Robert Wagner, Audrey Dalton, Thelma Ritter, Brian Aherne, and Richard Basehart. The plot of this film revolves around an unhappy wife, Julia(Barbara Stanwyck) who secretly buys passage on the Titanic for herself, and her two teenage children.  Julia is tired of living as an expatriate American and wants to move her children to her hometown of Mackinac, MI.  Julia’s husband Richard(Clifton Webb) finds out what she has done, and rushes to the ship, managing to buy a steerage-class ticket and gets on board.  He finds his wife and despite his efforts at reconciliation, the marriage looks to be truly broken.  There is a side plot, where the bitter couple’s teen daughter Annette(Audrey Dalton) falls in love with college student Giff Rogers(Robert Wagner) on board the ship. Thelma Ritter portrays a Molly Brown like matron, Brian Aherne is  the Titanic’s  captain, E.J. Smith, and Richard Basehart portrays a recently defrocked priest, George Healey, alchoholism being the reason he has lost his priestly duties.  Near the finality of the tragic event, forgiveness and love win out, bravery and courage are on full display, and I can sum up that it is a very moving film.

 

1958’s A Night to Remember, was made by The Rank Organization with Paramount Pictures taking on the US distribution of the film.  Directed by Roy Ward Baker, and with a very good cast to work with: Kenneth More, Honor Blackman(Goldfinger, The Avengers) Ronald Allen, Robery Ayres, Anthony Bushell,  John Cairney, and David McCallum(Man From U.N.C.L.E., NCIS), among others.

A Night to Remember was based upon a screenplay that was written by Eric Ambler, based upon the book Titanic by Walter Lord.  The film is very much told in the docudrama format and it follows with excellent detail the actual happenings on board the ship before it finally sank; the details as to what the employees of the ship were doing pertaining to their jobs on that fateful night.  The producers asked and found cooperative survivors of the Titanic disaster who agreed to be consultants on the film.  For some reason, the film didn’t do as well at the box office however, critics praised it.  I watched it and found it compelling and a film where the viewer will be thinking “if only” as there were so many of those during this event.  For example, if only the nearby ship, The Californian‘s radio operator had been on duty to receive the distress call from the Titanic, how many more lives could have been saved?

With a nice Christmas break approaching, I do plan to find Leo and Kate, and watch the film, finally!  If you are interested, Turner Classic Movies will be airing the 1953 Titanic on December 29th.  They have aired A Night to Remember in the past, so you’ll just have to be intrepid and search the monthly schedules to see if they’ll be airing it in 2019.   Be sure to visit Moon in Gemini for other great posts about films not seen before by classic movie bloggers.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by badfinger20 on December 27, 2018 at 2:25 AM

    ” I admit that I am a bit of a snob if a film was made after 1969.” I go further in the seventies but I feel that way. I liked A Night to Remember over Titanic…the atmosphere of the film and of most older films are more to my liking. Great Post

    Reply

  2. Dear Jenni,

    This is a really good article! I like the way you compared different films about the Titanic. I want to see the Barbara Stanwyck film soon. I have heard a lot about it.

    By the way, I just nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. I look forward to reading your response! Here is the article: https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2018/11/29/the-versatile-blogger-award/. Near the end of this article, I described a new series which we are going to be starting on the website in 2019. It is called “What the Code Means to Me,” and it is a series of guest articles. I would like to invite you to participate in it! We could really use your talent.

    Yours Hopefully,

    Tiffany Brannan

    Reply

  3. I think Cameron’s film gets a bad rap mainly because its mega-popularity was driven by teenage girls. It certainly has its flaws, but it’s a compelling, stunning film and I recommend it. Hope you enjoy it when you finally get to see it.

    Thanks so much for contributing to the blogathon!

    Reply

  4. […] by Jenni still hasn’t caught up with James Cameron’s Titanic but is happy to recommend other classic films about the ill-fated […]

    Reply

  5. Having watched the 1953 Titanic and A Night to Remember when I was a teenager, and the 1979 TV movie S.O.S. Titanic (Cloris Leachman was Molly Brown), and the 1996 TV mini-series (George C. Scott was Capt. Smith), by the time Cameron’s epic came along I was done! Maybe one of these days, but I don’t think so.

    Reply

  6. I think you’ll enjoy Cameron’s version as much as the two classic ones, Jenni. Nice post!

    Reply

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