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Raise the TITANIC

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#1 of 23 OFFLINE   Reed Grele

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Posted January 21 2014 - 06:07 PM

Just finished watching the new Shout Factory BD version of RAISE THE TITANIC.

 

After 34 years they finally got it right. Correct 2.35x1 aspect ratio all the way through. Excellent picture and 5.1 sound.

 

This is probably one of those films that you either love or hate. I'm of the former opinion.

 

John Barry's wonderful score grabs you from the first frame and lends immeasurable support to the film.

 

I still get a tear in my eye when I watch the scene where Sir Alec Guinness gives back the flag.

 

This film received a lot of bad reviews when first released. But It has become somewhat of a cult classic. If you've only seen the horrible pan&scan VHS and DVD versions, give it another chance. And if you've never seen it at all, you're in for a treat.

 

 



#2 of 23 OFFLINE   rayman1701

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Posted January 22 2014 - 12:19 AM

I haven't seen this since it ran constantly on The Movie Channel when I was a kid in the 80s, but boy do I have fond memories. Just never got around to getting it on DVD, so I'm looking forward to the blu-ray. Glad to hear I will finally get to see it as intended, since it was of course pan and scan on TV.


Edit: And I will be watching this weekend, after Mad World which of course comes first :-)

Edited by rayman1701, January 22 2014 - 12:21 AM.

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#3 of 23 OFFLINE   Jacksmyname

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Posted January 22 2014 - 12:36 AM

This is on my "to buy" list. I also like this movie quite a bit.

Raise The Titanic was also the first Dirk Pitt book I read decades ago. Got me hooked on Clive Cussler. I think I've read every Dirk Pitt novel, and a few of the other Cussler series.

Right now I have eight waiting to be read. Can't seem to find the time lately to read.

This dang Blu Ray thing has me in front of the TV watching movies. Can't seem to shake the habit for some reason.  ;)



#4 of 23 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted January 22 2014 - 04:46 AM

When I was a kid I had a fascination for disasters of all kinds, a great book about treasure hunters with stories about the Andrea Doria, etc, etc..  And anticipation for this movie was endless excitement.  I still have an original advertisement for it stored somewhere in a box.  I wish I could find it.  But it's in my "junk/nostalgia room" (yeah, I gotta a whoooole room for that! :P  ) 

 

We ended up NOT seeing the thing since mom said the reviews weren't all that good (as stated above).  I begged and begged but never got to see it as a kid.  After finally seeing it, I thought it was okay.  This and Hindenburg with George C. Scott would make a great double feature.  Great fun! 


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#5 of 23 OFFLINE   Bob Cashill

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Posted January 22 2014 - 05:11 AM

My high school English teacher, Charles Haas, was the longtime president of the National Titanic Society and an advisor on the film. He didn't like it much but did like spending time with Guinness on set.

My beef with the film is that it leaves out so much of the book's action. It's respectful but dull, and as we now know the ship could not have been raised intact. But I am fond of aspects of it and the other Lord Low Grade movies that Shout is also raising.

Haas can be seen fulfilling a life's dream and visiting the wreck in James Cameron's doc Ghosts of the Abyss; he also advised on Titanic. I was so happy to see him in that--a splendid teacher and historian.
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#6 of 23 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted January 22 2014 - 08:53 AM

@ Bob"...as we now know the ship could not have been raised intact. "  yeeeah... I remember how cool it was to think that they could do that, have it cruising on the water again.  Only in my mind did I ever see that.  :9 


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#7 of 23 OFFLINE   Reed Grele

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Posted January 22 2014 - 09:53 AM

Don't forget that this film was made 5 years before the Titanic was actually discovered. And no one knew then that it had actually broke in two as it was sinking.

 

Spoiler


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#8 of 23 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted January 22 2014 - 10:03 AM

^^ great point.  They really didn't know exactly where it was on the bottom at the time.. just guesses I believe. So there was some amazing mystery about it. 

 

Makes me think of the ghost ship concept.  There are supposed to be quite a few out there still.  Google that, kind of weird. 


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#9 of 23 OFFLINE   Reed Grele

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Posted January 22 2014 - 10:21 AM

I watched this with my partner who asked me during the film: "Where is the Titanic now?" I told him: "At the bottom of the Atlantic". He replied in disbelief: "You mean they didn't really raise it?"

 

Some people think that everything they see in movies about historical events really happened!.. I better not show him Oliver Stone's JFK. ;)


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#10 of 23 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted January 22 2014 - 10:22 AM

^^ great point.  They really didn't know exactly where it was on the bottom at the time.. just guesses I believe. So there was some amazing mystery about it. 

Yeah, Second Officer Lightoller (the highest ranking surviving officer) testified that the ship went down without breaking up so history basically ignored the reports from people that said it broke up. The problem is that Lightoller probably had the motive of making the company look good by testifying that the ship didn't break up.



#11 of 23 OFFLINE   ROclockCK

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Posted January 22 2014 - 02:38 PM

Don't forget that this film was made 5 years before the Titanic was actually discovered. And no one knew then that it had actually broke in two as it was sinking.

 

Spoiler

 

For me, it's like any other once-futuristic tale that has since been eclipsed by the timeline of history Reed...this applies even to Kubrick and Clarke's 2001, which is now riddled with scientific predictions still nowhere near becoming reality. And yet there can still be a romance to that once-predicted future...if the movie's internal dream state has been consistently imagined and depicted, then it can still play very well in an 'alternate universe' kind of way. If nothing else, this real vs. reel disconnect can provide a time capsule insight into the hopes and dreams of an earlier era.

 

Raise the Titanic works for me this way now...playing in this strange limbo realm of "that was the future that was". Unfortunately, some of it still plods, and I never felt that Richard Jordan (a performer I very much admire) was particularly well cast in the lead. Also, some of the underwater model work still seems rather dodgy in terms of scale. And yet, this remains a very handsome A-list production with earnest work at every level, including some eerily convincing above-water models and effects, plus another richly evocative score by the late great John Barry. 

 

So in terms of what we now know post-discovery about the actual Titanic wreck, this film is almost pure fantasy. To appreciate it in 2014, you just have to switch-off your left brain and allow your right-brain to fire 100%...


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#12 of 23 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted January 22 2014 - 03:15 PM

I like how you think ROclockCK! 


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#13 of 23 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted January 22 2014 - 03:20 PM

Yeah, Second Officer Lightoller (the highest ranking surviving officer) testified that the ship went down without breaking up so history basically ignored the reports from people that said it broke up. The problem is that Lightoller probably had the motive of making the company look good by testifying that the ship didn't break up.

Could he have not actually seen it break up?  Others who said it did break up might have had a better view...  it was such a traumatic thing happening... there were probably questions about there being enough lifeboats, etc going on. 


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#14 of 23 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted January 22 2014 - 03:50 PM

Could he have not actually seen it break up?  Others who said it did break up might have had a better view...  it was such a traumatic thing happening... there were probably questions about there being enough lifeboats, etc going on. 

No doubt there was a lot of things going on (as the ship was going under, he had just gotten out of freezing water and was trying to get some semblance of control over a capsized lifeboat that he had climbed on to. Not mention that it must be terrifying to spend about 2 and a half hours sure that you're going to die) so Lightoller might have simply missed the ship break up but, if I remember correctly, he testified that he saw the ship go down without breaking up. Since that didn't happen, he couldn't have seen it. In all fairness, he might have completely believed what he said (eyewitness testimony is often misremembered) and I'm certainly not trying to take anything away from him since he helped save lives that night and I don't really blame him if he lied to keep on his employer's good side.



#15 of 23 OFFLINE   ROclockCK

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Posted January 22 2014 - 05:50 PM

Yes, he was busy, Yes, he was tired. Yes, he was cold.

 

But how could anyone have missed the sound of that ship tearing in half down to its keel?



#16 of 23 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted January 22 2014 - 09:14 PM

Awesome transfer. I have not seen this since it's original theatrical release and was disappointed since the novel was so in my mind at the time. Now after a few decades I find the film intriguing and fun.
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#17 of 23 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted January 23 2014 - 04:06 AM

Good discussion! 

 

The sound of it tearing was probably ear shattering.  Not sure if the sounds of 1000s of cold people trying to get off that ship could cover that up or make you not notice.  Go in a high school lunchroom at lunch time and try to hear anything else but loud people.  Or in a busy mall, wall to wall people...  But a tearing ship...  could have been mistaken for something else?  Like an explosion in the engine room or something...   not trying to just reach but, so much going on during those moments.  I would have been so busy pissing and crapping my pants I wouldn't have heard Indy get blasted off in a frig.  :P 


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#18 of 23 ONLINE   Jack P

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Posted January 23 2014 - 09:29 AM

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I think the chief reason for why this film flopped and is often so reviled is a simple one. It absolutely failed to do justice to what was an outstanding novel of suspense and action which launched Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt into a signature character of popular fiction on the same level of James Bond before and Jack Ryan later. I defy anyone to read the original novel which has moments of suspense (the murder of a submsersible crewman by a Soviet agent during one of the dives) and action (the Soviets board the Titanic during the height of a hurricane and Pitt has to survive a helicopter crash on the deck) and also doesn't have that annoying element of 1970s moral equivalence regarding the Cold War (in which America's quest for something vital to her interests can not be seen as a straight-ahead case of the good guys winning. All that handwringing about building "byzanium bombs" is nowhere to be found in the novel, and the ending is different. Let's just say at the risk of giving too much away, the digging at that location at the climax proceeds without any hesitation) and tell me the film did justice to it.

 

I have gone back and read the earlier draft of the script from 1977 when Stanley Kramer was attached to the project (and which is the source of the "adaptation by Eric Hughes" credit) and it looks like the rumors about wanting Steve McQueen for Pitt at the time were true because Dirk Pitt, who in the novels is younger and bolder, is presented instead as a weary, introverted veteran of his 40s, the kind of role I'm sure would have suited McQueen fine at that point in time. When the script was rewritten again by Adam Kennedy this template for Pitt, totally at variance with the original Cussler version, remained. The earlier script drafts did try to make use of the hurricane element and higher tension with the Soviets at the climax. It's now apparent I think that so much money was blown in the F/X for the underwater searching and the raising that they didn't have any left to craft an effective action sequence during the hurricane. Remember also that what *was* shot, and not used in the final cut of the film was a lengthy 1912 prologue sequence of the sinking and the Brewster character locking himself in the vault (the F/X sequence of the sinking was ultimately seen in a 1982 episode of the TV series "Voyagers" which is available on DVD BTW) so that should also tell you how much more was being spent at the expense of some items that would have helped the final end product (also cut from the film incidentally was a final scene of Anne Archer talking with Pitt aboard the Titanic after it arrives in New York. A publicity still for this exists and its clear this was meant to tie up the loose end of her relationship with Seagram which in the film just comes to a dead stop).

 

So ultimately the film was jinxing itself with a wrong approach to the script in many ways, blowing the budget on areas it could have scaled back on a bit to save room for other areas, and I think hiring a TV director in Jerry Jameson (who seems to have gotten the job only because he did "Airport '77") who wasn't particularly skilled at handling the actors well didn't help either. Far too many of the dialogue scenes that remain just fall flat or are poorly paced. And with all that said, I will grant the film succeeds on two levels. First, John Barry's beautiful score which remains the best one I think he ever did for a non-Bond movie, and the F/X of the finding of the Titanic and the raising of the ship still hold up as well. In fact, there is a moment when the wreck is found and they do a trail shot across the bow with the anchor chains that is eerily identical to the most famous shots of the wreck when it was first found. And seeing the ship come up was for many of us prior to 1985 a fantasy we liked to indulge in and its fortunate the film was made when we could still dream about it as by 1985 that was ended for all time.


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#19 of 23 OFFLINE   Richard V

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Posted January 23 2014 - 11:27 AM

Agree whole heartedly with Jack P's post.  The novel was just flat out excellent, and I remember being so severely disappointed and felt cheated that the final screenplay was so different from the novel.  It may have been an even more expensive and long movie if they had stuck to the novel, but in the long run would have been so much more satisfying.  I picked up the bluray, mainly for nostalgia, the beautiful John Barry score, and for the unforgettable "rise" of the intact Titanic sequence, which as has previously been noted, many of us had dreamed to come true.


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#20 of 23 ONLINE   Jack P

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Posted January 23 2014 - 12:00 PM

A now mostly defunct website on "Raise The Titanic" once had online the earlier Hughes script and what's described as the final Kennedy shooting script.   Internet Archive allows for the material to be recovered (this one reveals more clearly the scenes shot and cut from the final print)

 

http://wayback.archi...ised_draft.html

 

 

http://wayback.archi...inal_draft.html

 

And the most interesting adaptation of them all is a late 70s comic strip adaptation of the novel in which Pitt is a secret agent working directly for the President!    The website had this as well but the links to the panels are not recoverable even through Internet Archive (though I have them downloaded from years ago)







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