Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Wagner star in this gripping re-enactment of the tragic 1912 sinking of the Titanic in which over 1,500 people lost their lives. Supposedly an unsinkable ship, the huge British luxury liner met with disaster on its maiden voyage when its captain ignored numerous warnings of impending danger. Though based on facts culled from eyewitnesses, fictional characters depict the men and women, many of them international celebrities, who courageously faced this unexpected tragedy in the icy, bleak waters of the North Atlantic. This tremendously moving and extraordinary film continues to captivate audiences around the world.
Jean Negulesco’s 1953 telling of the Titanic story may sometimes get lost behind A Night To Remember
and James Cameron’s Oscar-winning epic, but it’s got a human core to it that makes it still worth seeking out.
The film is headed up by Clifton Webb, Robert Wagner and Barbara Stanwyck, and the story is, as you might expect, quite familiar. Titanic recounts the demise of the luxury ship as it hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage. It grounds its narrative by centring on a family, who are having no shortage of issues as they eventually set sail. In particular, it’s the relationship between Webb and Stanwyck’s estranged husband and wife that make for some of the film’s best moments.
It’s a bumpy film at times, and A Night To Remember is the better movie. But there’s a lot to admire and like about this also award-winning Titanic, which proves to be a confident piece of filmmaking. The Blu-ray transfer certainly sparkles, impressive given the age of the materials, and the disc, as well as featuring the original trailer, has an interesting feature looking at the history of the Titanic story, against the way Hollywood has told it. That proves to be particularly pertinent where this take on Titanic is concerned.
It’s a good, rounded release, this. An interesting film, a good transfer, and diverting supplementary material, make it worth checking out. --Jon Foster
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