Bon voyage, Titanic

The Titanic story on film

The Titanic story has a long and illustrious history on the silver screen. Here, we look back over the first 100 years.


Saved from the Titanic

First film to be made about the disaster – opened in the US 29 days after it. Starred actual survivor Dorothy Gibson, who co-wrote the script and played a fictionalised version of herself. For added authenticity Gibson wore the same clothes in which she had left the stricken ship.



Movie version of Noël Coward’s smash-hit stage play recreates one of the original’s most famous scenes set aboard Titanic – a fact this is not revealed until a romantic couple lift a coat that’s been covering a lifebelt, thus revealing the name of the ship they are on. Cavalcade won the Best Picture Oscar for 1933.



Brainchild of Nazi propagandist J. Goebbels, this film used the Titanic scenario to discredit transatlantic capitalism and glorify the bravery of Germans. Says one summation, ‘Titanic makes the allegory of the liner’s loss specifically about British avarice rather than, as most Titanic retellings do, about general human arrogance and presumption’.



Although some 25 historical inaccuracies have been levelled at this version (right down to the fact that there was no horn section in the actual ship’s band), Titanic won the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.


A Night to Remember

According to some the only ‘accurate’ movie version of the loss of Titanic. Cast headed by stiff-lipped Kenneth Moore, also featured future James Bond stars Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, and Desmond Llewelyn, in supporting roles.


Time Tunnel – ‘Rendezvous with Yesterday’

Pilot for Irwin’s Allen’s classic TV sci-fi series. Dr. Tony Newman (James Darren) conducts a proof-of-concept exercise with his experimental time travel apparatus and lands in 1912 on Titanic. His attempts to alert the Captain (Michael Rennie) to the impending disaster fail.


SOS Titanic

Reportedly costing $7m (the actual liner only cost about $7.5), this partial remark of A Night To Remember was the first colour version of the Titanic story, and the first to take an ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ model for its plotline (a sort of ‘Above Decks, Below Decks’). Harry Andrews starred as Captain Smith; Helen Mirren also featured.


Raise the Titanic

Another pricey outing, Raise the Titanic cost so much ($40) and grossed so little ($7) that it nearly sank Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment. Grade is credited with remarking, “It would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic”.



TV movie that received mixed reviews from critics. The ‘New York Daily News’ reckoned that the ship’s operators and owner are portrayed “about as sympathetically as those connected with the Exxon Valdez”.



The cinematic legend, making global superstars out of the two key players, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Historian Richard Davenport-Hines in his recent study of the lives of Titanic passengers, declares that “James Cameron’s film diabolized rich Americans and educated English, anathematizing their emotional restraint, good tailoring, punctilious manners and grammatical training, while it made romantic heroes of the poor Irish and the unlettered’. Nuff said.


Titanic 3D

Director Cameron's cinematic magnum opus looks set to once again smash box-office records, with the 3D re-release sailing imperiously past the $2 billion dollar mark mere weeks after its release. Only one other film in history has topped this figure thus far - Cameron's own 2009 hit Avatar. 

Sources, http://www.wikipedia.org

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