Thursday, July 6, 2006

Titanic (1953)

In a Nutshell: Not very historically accurate, but oddly compelling nonetheless.

Quick Plot: The trouble and strife of a fictitious family on board the ill-fated maiden voyage of the famous luxury liner.

In Detail: I was extremely interested in finally seeing this film. It is *the* classic version of the story, and I can clearly see its influence on James Cameron in his versions. Some shots were taken almost frame for frame from this film, which I consider a very nice touch on his part. The historical accuracy is rather pitiful, though. The costumes are off (too much 50s style comes through), the sets, though lavish, are not even close to the pictures we all know by heart (not even an accurate grand staircase, for goodness sake), the ship doesn't break apart (though there is still some controversy as to whether that happened above or below the water)... I could go on and on. But still, for all that, it really is quite a good movie, with the kind of intense and layered performances that you simply don't see these days. There are many characters who are obviously supposed to be other people (like a Molly Brown type who isn't named that), and with the historical inaccuracies, if you just renamed the ship and thought of it as a sort of take-off on the Titanic story, I think it would come off much better. The special effects are also quite excellent, all things considered, years if not decades ahead of their time. Worth seeing if you like classic movies or are a Titanic buff (so you can pick it apart, hee-hee).

Will I Buy It? I may, simply because I'm a Titanic nut. On its own merits as a film? Probably not. Too many classics are better, IMO.