15 thoughts on “Top Five Films About the Titanic

  1. Have you ever watched the 1943 Nazi propaganda Titanic movie? I don’t remember the costumes at all because I was so distracted by the plot, which is absolutely bonkers. But I recommend watching it at least once, though. It’s . . . different.

  2. Hooray for A Night to Remember! Best Titanic film ever made. many survivors were unable to watch it because it was so close to what they’d experienced.

    Besides—Kenneth More and David McCallum.

  3. I’m blanking on the name here… But the earliest film about the disaster was actually made in 1912, and starred a woman who was an actual survivor of the sinking! Her fiance was either the producer or the director, if I recall, and the actress kept having flashbacks and panic attacks throughout the filming. Her fiance was a JERK for putting her through that, in my opinion!
    I haven’t seen the film, and it might be lost, but I have to admit it would be fascinating.

    1. That would’ve been “Saved from the Titanic” (Eclair, 1912), starring Dorothy Gibson:


      Jules Brulatour had already sent a film crew out to film the Carpathia arriving for the rescue, and had exclusive footage that was put in theaters about a week after the accident, to huge success.

      He decided to take it further, and Gibson agreed to recreate her experience in a quickly-made dramatization that hit theaters 29 days after the sinking itself. Of course, films were much shorter then, and “Saved from the Titanic” was only 10 minutes long.

      It apparently became a lost film only a couple of years after it was made, with all known prints destroyed in a 1914 studio fire; only a handful of stills exist.

      However, since Gibson wore the actual clothes she wore that night, one still preserves what has to be THE most accurate costume in a movie about the Titanic:


      Gibson apparently was traumatized by the experience, and never acted in another movie.

      There was a German film that same year, “In Nacht und Eis,” which still survives:


  4. Titanic (1996) is a cheesy US made-for-tv production with Tim Curry as a mean rapist(?!). Marilu Henner as Molly Brown! It’s a d-list good time.

    1. Wasn’t there also a made-for-teevee Titanic with Cloris Leachman as Molly Brown and David Janssen as Astor? I seem to have a vague recollection of that.

  5. I agree with AN2R as #1… but gosh, I thought Julian Fellowes’ miniseries was AWFUL.

    I do, however, watch Cameron’s epic every year on the anniversary. My gosh, it’s GORGEOUS. And I may or may not cry at the end. ;)

  6. If you’re going to mention the Titanic as a plot device, you can’t ignore The Unsinkable Molly Brown, since her experience as a survivor is what got her the nickname. Besides, the costumes are laughable and need you to “discuss” them.

  7. Aw, come on! Cheesy as it is, I was in high school when the ’97 version came out – it was my generation’s Twilight.

    At least it didn’t have sparkly vampire stalkers. And that “I’m going to kill myself by jumping off the ship” dress makes me swoon every time.

  8. The only major historically inaccuracies are precisely how the ship sank, much of which wasn’t known until the wreckage wasn’t discovered.

    If you’re speaking of the 1958 film, you should also add the newsreel clip that looked as if it had been shot in the 1930s or 40s, along with the final tune that the ship’s band was playing.

  9. For many that experienced the arrival of the news first hand, the sinking of the Titanic was the equivalent to 9/11 in immediacy, shock, and horror. I remember my grandmother, (who was a parlour maid at Dublin Castle at the time), telling me that all the staff were woken in the middle of the night, assembled in one of the halls, and told the news. She also said that they all broke out in singing ‘Nearer My God To Thee’ (That generation’s ‘Amazing Grace’ I suppose) She had also known a couple of ladies maids who were on board.

    As far as the movie convention goes of using the sinking death of a critical character as a major plot pivot, this really happened in real life. The case I am most familiar with is that of Charles Melville Hays, the president of the Grand Trunk Railway in Canada. His death led to the collapse of the railroad and its plans to turn Prince Rupert, BC into a major trans-shipment port. Disasters can be useful literary devices but a certain amount of time is I think necessary.

  10. In terms of 1912 accuracy, the Empire line evening gowns were good, though the hair is totally ’50’s! Considering Upstairs Downstairs limited budget, it did 1910s okay, but knocked it out of the park with Meg Wynn Owen’s character Hazel! Downton Abbey, nuff said. James Cameron’s Titanic had fantastic 1910’s costumes, and the hair on Kate Winslet is to die for, although they could’ve added a Fortuny delphos gown or something for Rose to spice it up, Rose’s mother would’ve grudgingly allowed it, because Orientalism was all the rage in Paris! Titanic(2012) had plenty of inaccuracies (Dance scenes I’m looking at you!) though the costumes were divine, on par with James Cameron’s Titanic in fact, but sadly with non of Kate Winslet’s stunning hair! Though I will mention Titanic: Blood and Steel, which looked into the construction of Titanic in Belfast from 1909, to the ship’s sea trials on April 2,1912. It also looked at the preamble of the Irish Revolution, and Catholics vs Protestants. It was interest though it’s view of sex in entirely modern, not Edwardian, with people snuggling in bed post-coitus!

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