(Review originally written at 14 March 2007)

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You always have to watch movies in the perspective of its time and for '50's standards this is a pretty good genre movie.

The movie is not very heavy or effective with its emotions. The movie tells a story but without much sense for the right emotions, except with its soapy dramatic elements in the beginning and the middle of the movie. The sinking itself is nothing too powerful or even spectacular looking, though the final sequence in which a large group of people, including some of the main characters are all going down signing, while the boat is starting to sink rapidly and all knowing that it's the end, is a pretty effective last sequence for the movie.

The movie is filled with lots of melodramatic plot-lines and moments and follows (too) many different character. Luckily the movie is too short to ever allow any of this to become distracting.

The movie follows all of the usual most famous passengers such as John Jacob Astor, Isador Straus and of course the captain Edward John Smith and First Officer Murdock. The movie throws in a lot more fictional characters that all aboard the Titanic with each their own reasons and problems, both in the upper- and lower classes. It's the reason why the movie tends to become over dramatic at times, which also causes the movie to not hold you interested entirely for its running time.

Nevertheless the movie features some still some good moments and well developed characters.

The overall sinking might be perhaps a bit of a deception. I mean, when the Titanic hits the iceberg, almost immediately the order is given to board the lifeboats. No time for panic or real disbelief. Everything happens so calm and rapidly at the same time. But again you have to watch the movie in perspective. In the '50's this was a normal sort of approach.

Added to that, the movie is not that good looking with its effects. They used miniatures for most of the time. The sets and atmosphere on the other hand is good. The movie does a good job at re-creating the atmosphere of the '10's and the atmosphere at the time on board of the ship. Also the interior sets are good looking.

The movie has a decent cast with Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck and an almost unrecognizable young Robert Wagner in an early role. It's the sort of movie in which none of the actors excels, which is sort of fine and suiting for a movie with some many different characters and actors performing them in it.

All in all a fine and perfectly watchable genre movie, as long as you can appreciate the '50's style of film-making.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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