Robert Crawford

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Actually you made the claim so the onus is on you. Unless of course you cannot answer because it is a baseless claim. And I’m not trying to give you a hard time. I was genuinely curious. Was.:D
Such a comment wasn't necessary in my opinion.
 
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Wiseguy

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I may just blind buy this one. I love both A Night to Remember and Cameron’s Titanic. I’ve heard good things about this one before, so I’ll bite.
Actor Bernard Fox appears in both A Night to Remember and Cameron’s Titanic.
 

Nick*Z

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To each their own. The Broadway musical was a classic for me with a glorious score that well-deserved its Best Musical Tony, and Cameron's movie was a piece of overrated junk that I wouldn't ever want to sit through again with its awful cliche-ridden fictional story (as bad as if not worse than the junk in the 96 CBS miniseries and the 2012 ITV one). I would rather have a better-written fictional story with less accurate sets as the 1953 film is than be forced to watch Cameron again. IF anything, his realistic sets only called more attention to how bad his fictional story was.
Only partly agree with this. Cameron's movie had the cache of immaculate production values and no-expense spared sets that truly made the scenery come alive. Were that the melodrama set before it had been half as rewarding. Despite some interesting set pieces (Jack and Rose escaping from the water-logged bowels of the ship as the water level exponentially rises, threatening their safety) I would have sincerely preferred Cameron spend a bit more time on the 'actual' passenger list than the fictional Jack/Rose drama which was fairly unappealing - at least, in my opinion.

Winslet, a very fine actress, didn't have to do the nudie scene to make this one work, and the sex scenes between her and DiCaprio was like watching one's mother rob the proverbial cradle (he looked about 10 years her junior). What it could have been with a more strapping dude in the lead - say Mat McConaughey, we'll never know. But why cast a luminary like Kathy Bates as Molly Brown when she barely had 8 lines of dialogue in the whole thing and one or two scenes.

Brown, a truly colorful character, would have been a better choice of subject, ditto for the Astors, or the Guggenheims or the Levi's. Captain Smith's story has yet to be told adequately. And Lightoller, Ismay, and Andrews were just window dressing in this movie - Cameron, basically acknowledging, "okay, I can't do a movie about the Titanic without them milling around somewhere in the background" but never allowing them to step into the limelight.

No one has more admiration for Cameron's staging. The scenes departing South Hampton are exquisite, as are the burg and sinking sequences. But between these, there's a lot of fluff and dead air and just too much hokum of the 'oh God, I can't believe they just did that!' variety (Jack teaching Rose how to spit off the port bow - an indulgence that even a free-spirited gal like Rose would never have indulged in on her off day, slumming with the third-class help).

The screenplay also left something to be desired. I seem to recall the tedious moment when Rose, in search of Jack, presently chained to the drain pipe in the Master at Arms office, is shouting his name endlessly while he shouts her's back - as in "Jack" "Rose!" "Jack!" "Rose!" Oh, Jack!" And Cameron sincerely wondered why his screenplay didn't take home an Oscar?!?

I'll just go on record here that A Night To Remember remains the greatest of all Titanic flicks. While it doesn't get the final moments of the sinking right (in 58' no one was aware the great ship had actually split in two), the lead up to the Titanic's demise is drama of the highest order, and stays the course with some fairly engrossing and intertwined stories about the actual crew and passengers aboard the ill-fated vessel. Production values are superb. The picture is, bar none, a 'how to' do a period costume drama. Nothing is left to chance or out of place. So, BEST TITANIC MOVIE EVER - IMO.

Finally, definitely would pass on Titanic (Fox's first bite at the apple in '53) with Stanwyck and Webb doing their thing as an embittered couple, and Robert Wagner cooing sweet nothings to Audrey Dalton's spoiled and simpering Miss Priss. Ugh. Just awful. If you haven't seen Raise the Titanic - my advice: DON'T! Cheese plus. As for the Broadway show - saw it, forgot about it, didn't move me much one way or the other. And S.O.S Titanic - more economically made for TV product, relying on cast than SFX to get the point across. Okay - in so far as it goes.

Any movie that can headline Harry Andrews ain't all bad. On the flip-side - the cast is pretty mediocre and the 'invented bits' of drama to get us from South Hampton to the burg are...well...just that - 'bits', meant to neatly fit between commercial breaks. They do, but don't really provide enough oomph to carry the boatload of exhilaration until the ship actually hits that big block of ice.

Structurally, at least, Cameron's flick did this the best. A Night To Remember's linear timeline merely charted a course from points A to B with all points of interest intervening in the meantime. Well done, and even better, for having the foresight to stick to the real figures from history, which made the experience of seeing the movie somehow almost documentarian. Cameron's was undeniably a slickly manufactured piece of Hollywood hokum.
 
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Jack P

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"Raise The Titanic" was a terrific novel that made the character of Dirk Pitt as big a figure in popular fiction as Jack Ryan would be a decade later. It should have been a natural for a great movie but unfortunately things as we know got screwed up:

1-Because Steve McQueen was originally attached to the project, the first version of the script basically rewrote the character of Pitt into a weary past-his-prime veteran which would have been right for the McQueen of the late 70s but totally wrong for the Pitt of the novels. Unfortunately long after McQueen was gone from the project, this template of Pitt remained and accounted for the terrible miscasting of Richard Jordan in the part (no fault of Jordan. He was by contrast terrific in "Hunt For Red October" the only film to do a Clancy novel right)

2-Hiring a TV director in Jerry Jameson who had no flair for directing actors didn't help. Worse was spending so much on the underwater models and shooting that they totally ran out of money to film the climactic later stage of the novel which has the Russians boarding the Titanic during the middle of a hurricane and threatening the salvage crew before Pitt saves the day. The film comes to a crashing halt on this point because they couldn't dramatize it with what they had left and it hurts the film tremendously. Also not helpful was that 70s trend toward Cold War moral equivalence in which the Americans could never "come ahead" (which is what happens in Cussler's book). A lot of novels got ruined in their film versions because of this ("Telefon" was another example of that).

But RTT at least does have two things going for it. First is John Barry's score, my favorite non-007 score of his, and second the F/X of the raising are fascinating in that they show something on film that pre-1985 Titanic buffs I'm sure always used to fancifully dream about. It can never happen of course or even be dramatized (though I think "Raise The Titanic" could be done again as a period piece set in 1982 involving a race to find this mystery element inside the wreck and the attempt is to just raise a vault from the ocean floor from the broken hull)
 
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Nick*Z

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I don’t think Cameron wondered that at all since his screenplay wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. ;)
Actually, Cameron made a comment on GMA the following morning post-Oscars about the movie receiving every conceivable award except Best Screenplay, which he dubiously left open for the pundits to discuss, but clearly felt he had been snubbed at not even receiving the nomination.
 

yamato72

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Even though we were supposed to move this chat to the '97 Titanic thread, I will weigh in. I've been a Titanic buff since I was a kid, read Cussler's Raise the Titanic in the 5th grade and that really got me hooked. Have seen most of the movies discussed here and read A Night to Remember as well as various other books on the subject. Yes the Raise the Titanic film was terrible.
Regarding the issues with the '97 Titanic movie that keep getting raised:
-Inaccuracy of the sets. I started reading paullee's site that was linked above, and I can't believe the nit-picking. How long the superstructure was on the 80% scale vs the real ship, how many windows, etc. This is a filmed drama, not a documentary. It sure looked convincing to me, and I know a lot about the ship. You may as well complain about the sets used in From Here to Eternity or The Bridge on the River Kwai
-The focus on the fictional romance. This was used to invest the audience in the story give a framework for showing the events of that evening. It worked great. Do you really think an audience in 1997 would be as moved if the film centered on the Strausses or on Molly Brown?

Side note: the most disappointing Titanic-related event that I have ever experienced was the travelling RMS Titanic exhibit that I attended in Raleigh, NC in the early 2000's. Viewing the artifacts from the wreck after only seeing those things in photos or in descriptions made it too real for me and really removed the mystery of the tragedy. I have not read or watched much about the Titanic since, but I was glad to score a copy of Ken Marschall's book of Titanic paintings, and Mark Chirnside's fantastic The Olympic Class Ships book.
 

Jack P

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Got my copy today. Starting with the commentary track on the theatrical cut since I have no other reason to ever watch the theatrical cut. The track is very informative in mixing in production history and Titanic history. Lot of information about the different locations needed for the film which stretched from the Queen Mary to various England locations. The tidbit that surprised me was when he mentioned the bit player as the "Irish beauty" was an obscure model named Antoinette O'Reilly who was also known as "Toni Darling" and when I heard that name I immediately recognized her as the then-wife of 80s Mets pitcher Ron Darling! The only error I've noticed is the reference to the original TV version as a "miniseries" when in fact it aired in a single night in a three hour time slot on ABC.

For the film itself, only the TV cut will suffice. Will get to that tonight.
 
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Thomas T

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I watched S.O.S. Titanic tonight or rather the wee hours of the morning (insomnia out of control :(). I watched the longer 2 1/2 TV cut and then peeked at the theatrical cut and the difference between the two transfers is startling. The TV cut is a bit darker with muted colors and lacks sharpness. It's eminently watchable but never rises above adequate. The theatrical cut (from a new 4K restoration) is brighter with vivid colors and more clarity.
 

Robert Crawford

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I watched S.O.S. Titanic tonight or rather the wee hours of the morning (insomnia out of control :(). I watched the longer 2 1/2 TV cut and then peeked at the theatrical cut and the difference between the two transfers is startling. The TV cut is a bit darker with muted colors and lacks sharpness. It's eminently watchable but never rises above adequate. The theatrical cut (from a new 4K restoration) is brighter with vivid colors and more clarity.
@Thomas T I just noticed your avatar. I've never seen "Kangaroo: The Australian Story". Is it any good and do you have a disc recommendation?
 

Thomas T

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@Thomas T I just noticed your avatar. I've never seen "Kangaroo: The Australian Story". Is it any good and do you have a disc recommendation?
Here's the capsule review I wrote for my blog:

Set in the outback country of South Australia, two con men (Peter Lawford, Richard Boone) ingratiate their way into the graces of a rancher (Finlay Currie) in order to use his desolate ranch as a hideout from the law. What they didn’t count on was the rancher’s daughter (Maureen O'Hara) and the great drought which threatens to destroy their livelihood. The first Hollywood film to be filmed entirely in Australia must have seemed quite exotic to American audiences back in 1952 what with aborigines and kangaroos gracing the Technicolor screen. As a film, despite being directed by Lewis Milestone (OF MICE AND MEN), it never rises above a solid programmer aided considerably by its unique locations. Boone, in particular, stands out as a black hearted criminal who’d kill without conscience and there’s a marvelous battle of whips between Boone and Lawford. The score (which has a terrific main title theme) is by Sol Kaplan. With Charles Tingwell.

The DVD I watched is from Spain. it's legitimate and licensed from Fox, not a bootleg and the Fox logo and copyright are on the jacket but it may be out of print. VCI Entertainment released a domestic DVD (I don't know if it's still in print) but the transfer is inferior to the Spanish DVD. This is what the cover of the Spanish DVD looks like:
IMG_7474 (2).JPG
 

Matt Curtis

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I guess the UK is not in the equation for this blu ray releas then? I would love to have this blu ray release in the UK with both cuts.
 

Jack P

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The picture quality of the TV cut may indeed be weaker (though it's not like the TV cut of "Two Minute Warning" being sourced from an off-air recording), but it's overwhelming superiority as the better narrative cut of the film more than compensates for that. That's especially true for someone like myself who saw the TV cut in its initial three hour ABC airing in 1979 (and how I had to really get permission from my parents to stay up that late for the finish!) and was always "used" to that version through multiple repeat viewings on cable in the 80s before I ever learned there'd been a hacked-up theatrical edit.
 

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