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Friday, August 6, 2010

TITANIC (1943)

Not the 1997 blockbuster. And not the British version from 1958. (That was A NIGHT TO REMEMBER.) The sudsy 1953 Hollywood version w/ Barbara Stanwyck & Clifton Webb? Nope. This is the Nazi version that was completed in 1943, but unreleased til 1949. The NAZI version? Herr Goebbels & Co. crank out the expected GRAND HOTEL-on-a-boat variant, loaded with greedy British capitalists who put profit ahead of safety; rioting proletariat types in steerage; a substitute German officer for heroics; and a flavorsome assortment of German passengers to care about. The special effects are reasonably handled for the time (the large-scaled miniature ship is convincing while the smaller model looks like a toy with its lights on), but too many scenes are played out in airless cabins. This may have kept the budget in line, but you forget you’re at sea. Even so, the slow working 2nd unit had director Herbert Selpin comparing them to the German Army! An on-set informer didn’t get the joke and neither did the Gestapo. Selpin hung himself not long after. The film isn’t much worse than other Titanic pics, plus you get twice as many stories & characters as James Cameron offers in twice the time. And it's all about as accurate as INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS.

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