Best Titanic Movie
that an iceberg dead ahead? No, on April 15, 2012 it's just
the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
year, on or around the anniversary of the disaster, April
15, 1912, I make a point of hauling out the DVD of what I
think is the best Titanic movie ever made about the disaster
- A Night To Remember.
has their favourite version. The Titanic tragedy has featured
in at least a dozen theatrical movies, made-for-TV movies
and docudramas, but three contenders for the title of "the
best" are way ahead of the pack: A Night To Remember
(1958), Titanic (1997) and Titanic (1953).
Night To Remember (1958), starring Kenneth More, Honor
Blackman, David McCallum. Fact-based account of the
Titanic disaster that includes a brilliant 60-minute
(1997), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslett.
The most technically superior version, thrilling to
watch on a big screen with great CGI effects, but let
down by a mediocre dialogue and a sappy love story.
(1953), staring Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck. Compelling,
glossy soap-opera version but hampered by less-than-convincing
biggest loss is that Alfred Hitchcock never did do the Titanic
movie that legendary producer David O. Selznick planned for
him in the late 1930s. But hey, we got the classic Rebecca
instead, Best Picture of 1940.
1953 Titanic, which won an Oscar for its screenplay, is a
credible, typically polished 20th Century Fox effort focusing
on the complicated lives of the passengers. Webb and Stanwyck
are a joy to watch and Titanic's interiors are faithfully
reproduced, but the production is ultimately let down by its
not-so-special effects - the ship really does look like a
Just five years later, the 1958 British Rank Organization
production A Night To Remember also used a model of the ship,
but the sinking and evacuation scenes are far more realistic.
Some exteriors on a mock-up section of the ship were filmed
outdoors on a lake just west of London during a bitter British
winter and the steamy breath of the cast adds a delicious
sense of realism to the show.
addition, the production closely follows the celebrated Walter
Lord book on the Titanic sinking, also called A Night To Remember.
It includes many accurate details including why the nearby
ship Californian didn't come to the rescue, despite her crew
seeing Titanic's rocket distress flares. The ensemble cast,
including Honor Blackman (later one of the James Bond "girls")
and popular British actor Kenneth More, does an admirable
job and the clincher for me is the inclusion of a superb 60-minute
documentary on the Titanic tragedy.
to 1997, and while James Cameron's computer-aided, multi-Oscar
winner production is a mighty spectacle, I find the whole
Leonardo DiCaprio/Kate Winslett romance hugely distracting
and the cheesy dialogue annoying. All that nonsense about
Billy Zane running around a sinking ship gunning for his love
rival with a pistol makes me reach for the "fast forward"
said, the Titanic itself is brought vividly to life and the
sinking scenes and desperate struggle of passengers and crew
to survive the frigid water are amazing. Also, this
movie corrects the one big inaccuracy of A Night To Remember
that the ship sank in one piece. In fact, the ship broke in
two, with the bow going down first followed by the stern.
Cameron's 3-D version of the movie will no doubt be a spectacle
in its 2012 theatrical release and subsequent Blu-ray. For
those reasons, I wouldn't want to be without this version.
A Night To Remember first, Titanic (1997) second and Titanic