Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Titanic (1953).

Titanic(1953). A drama directed by Jean Negulesco. Its plot centers on an estranged couple sailing on the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic, which took place in April 1912. Cast: Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck, Audrey Dalton, Harper Carter, Robert Wagner and Thelma Ritter.

Titanic won the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction. The film was also nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award.

Desperate, to buy a ticket on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, Richard Sturges, at the last minute finds a willing immigrant family to sell one one theirs. Once aboard, he learns that his wife is trying to take their two children, 18-year-old Annette and ten-year-old Norman, to America. As the ship prepares for departure, captain, E. J. Smith, receives word from the shipping company representative that a fast passage is what they are expecting.

Other passengers include: Molly Brown, Maude Young, Earl Meeker; a 20-year-old Purdue University tennis player, Gifford "Giff" Rogers and George S. Healey, a Catholic priest who has been defrocked for alcoholism.

When Annette learns what her mother is planning on leaving her father, she insists on returning to Europe with her father. Julia, agrees that her daughter is old enough to make her own decisions, but insists on keeping custody of Norman. They get into another argument where Julia confesses that Norman is not Richard's child, but rather the result of a one-night stand. Heartbroken, he agrees to give up Norman.

The next morning.. Norman reminds Richard, about a shuffleboard game they had scheduled, Richard coldly brushes him off.

Meanwhile, Giff falls for Annette at first sight and they become friends after she plays hard to get.

That night, Giff, Annette and a group of his friends sing and play the piano in the dining room, while Captain Smith watches at a corner table. Second Officer Lightoller expresses his concern about the ship's speed to Captain Smith when they receive two messages from other ships warning of iceberg sightings near their route. Smith, promises him that there is no danger.

Later, a lookout spots an iceberg dead ahead. The crew tries to steer clear of danger, but.. the ship is gashed below the waterline and begins taking on water. When Richard finds the captain, he insists on being told the truth... the ship is doomed. He tells his family to dress warmly, then... they head for the lifeboats.

Richard and Julia, truly love each other and make up, right before Julia and the children board the lifeboat. Unnoticed by Julia, Norman gives up his seat to an older woman (Mae Marsh) and goes looking for his father. When one of the lines becomes tangled, preventing the lifeboat from being lowered, Giff climbs down and fixes the problem, only to lose his grip and fall into the water. His unconscious body is dragged into the boat. Meeker disguises himself as a woman to get aboard a lifeboat, but is caught...

As the Titanic is about to sink, Norman and Richard find each other. Richard tells his son that he has been proud of him every day of his life, never so much as in that moment. Then, they join the rest of the doomed passengers and crew in singing the hymn "Nearer, My God, to Thee".

The Titanic rapidly sinks under the icy water.

I think, you will love this is a very touching and heartbreaking story about passengers on the doomed ship, Clifton Webb and his wife Barbara Stanwyck and their children. This beautiful film deserved more Oscars than it received.

Fun Facts:

Many of the sets (including the ship model) were reused for several other films after this such as Dangerous Crossing and in particular the dining room, cabins, grand staircase, lounge, radio room, boat deck, promenade deck and the deck chairs. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes used the ship model (remodified), the dining room walls, the lounge, the promenade deck, and the deck chairs again. A Blueprint for Murder the ship model (remodified), the dining room, promenade deck and deck chairs were all reused again. Then finally in Woman's World, which also starred Clifton Webb only the dining room walls were used. The ship model is displayed at the Marine Museum of Fall River in Fall River, Massachusetts.

To ensure authenticity, the producers recruited a former captain of the Queen Elizabeth as a technical consultant, and no background music was played during the feature film-the only music heard was that of the musicians aboard the ship.

The filming of the disaster had a powerful effect on Barbara Stanwyck, who recalled: "The night we were making the scene of the dying ship in the outdoor tank at Twentieth, it was bitter cold. I was 47 feet up in the air in a lifeboat swinging on the davits. The water below was agitated into a heavy rolling mass and it was thick with other lifeboats full of women and children. I looked down and thought: If one of these ropes snaps now, it's goodbye for you. Then I looked up at the faces lined along the rail - those left behind to die with the ship. I thought of the men and women who had been through this thing in our time. We were re-creating an actual tragedy and I burst into tears. I shook with great racking sobs and couldn't stop."

Mae Marsh (born Mary Wayne Marsh, November 9, 1894 – February 13, 1968), first started as an extra in the movies and played her first substantial role in the film, Ramona (1910) at the age of 15.

“I tagged my way into motion pictures, I used to follow my sister Marguerite to the old Biograph studio and then, one great day, Mr. Griffith noticed me, put me in a picture and I had my chance. I love my work and though new and very wonderful interests have entered my life, I still love it and couldn't think of giving it up.”

Her big break came when Mary Pickford, a married woman at that time, refused to play the bare-legged, grass-skirted role of Lily-White in, Man's Genesis.

Working with Mack Sennett and D.W. Griffith, she performed in eight movies a year and often paired with Robert Harron in the romantic roles:

In The Birth of a Nation (1915) she played the innocent sister who waits for her brothers to come home from war and who, in one of the film's most racially charged scenes, leaps to her death rather than submit to the lustful advances of Gus, the so-called "renegade Negro" who is later killed by the Ku Klux Klan.

In Intolerance  (1916) she plays the wife who has her baby taken away after her husband is unjustly convicted of murder. She signed a lucrative contract with Samuel Goldwyn worth $2,500 per week after Intolerance, but none of the films she made with him were particularly successful.

Marsh's last notable starring role was as a flapper for Griffith in, The White Rose (1923) with Ivor Novello and Carol Dempster.

She re-teamed with Novello for the film version of his hit stage play, The Rat (1925).

In 1955, Marsh was awarded The George Eastman Award, given by George Eastman House for distinguished contribution to the art of film.

Marsh returned from retirement to perform in "talkies" and played a role in Henry King’s remake of, Over the Hill (1931).

Marsh performed in the films: Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1932) and Little Man, What Now? (1934).

She also became a favorite of director John Ford, performing in: The Grapes of Wrath (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), 3 Godfathers (1948), The Robe (1953), and The Searchers (1956).

She married Sam Goldwyn publicity agent Louis Lee Arms, in 1918 they three children. They were married until her death, in 1968.

Her sister Marguerite Marsh died in 1925 at the age of 37. Her only brother Oliver Marsh, a renowned cinematographer, died in 1941. Husband Louis Arms died in June 1989, at age 101.


  1. Thanks for this post. I'm a bit of a Titanic nut and if I wasn't writing fiction set during the golden years of Hollywood, I'd be writing Titanic fiction. BTW, did you know there are plans afoot to build Titanic II, a full-scale, fully functioning replica of the original.

  2. Martin Turnbull, Thank you for sharing the fantastic article!! The pictures are amazing1 I'm thrilled that they are planning to build a full scale Titanic II.


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