36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SET SAIL IN STYLE: A LUXURIOUS TRIP INTO THE PAST
"Titanic" is (stop me if you've heard this one before), the one about the boat that hits an iceberg and sinks. Whoops! Gave it away. This version stars Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb as a married couple on the cusp of divorce. She can't stand his guts - he finds redemption before it all gets too cold and wet. Pure fiction but hey, it's Titanic and its...
Published on September 30, 2003 by Nix Pix
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good acting by Webb and Stanwyck
This movie was made before the book A Night to Remember was published; so, I give it a pass on its lack of veracity at times. What I love about it is the acting of Webb and Stanwyck who bring their considerable skills to actually making the script way better than it is..................frankly comparing them to the awful performances of Kate and Leo is like comparing...
Published on April 4, 2012 by Phillip
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SET SAIL IN STYLE: A LUXURIOUS TRIP INTO THE PAST,
"Titanic" is (stop me if you've heard this one before), the one about the boat that hits an iceberg and sinks. Whoops! Gave it away. This version stars Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb as a married couple on the cusp of divorce. She can't stand his guts - he finds redemption before it all gets too cold and wet. Pure fiction but hey, it's Titanic and its masterfully told.
TRANSFER: Fox is at its usual middle of the road with this transfer quality. Some scenes are nicely balanced with good gray scale. Others seem to suffer from low contrast and black levels. There's ample pixelization, aliasing and shimmering of fine details throughout. The audio's been remixed to feeble stereo. At this point does anybody care?
EXTRAS: Ah, here's the real treat of this DVD. You get "Beyond Titanic" a masterfully told 1 1/2 hr. documentary that really gets to the bottom of things (no pun intended)and covers the full history of both the ship and its many film incarnations.
BOTTOM LINE: This is a worth while DVD for two reasons - the documentary and its price tag - cheaper than most low budget no-name studio releases. If nothing else, you're buying the documentary and for that reason alone, it's definitely worth it!
87 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OSCAR should have been aboard THIS ship......,
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One of my all-time 10 favorite movies (along with ALL ABOUT EVE, GONE WITH THE WIND, AUNTIE MAME, Jane Wyman's THE BLUE VEIL, Garland's A STAR IS BORN, CABARET, Lana Turner's career highlight in MADAME X, 1939's THE WOMEN, and 1953's SO BIG) THIS is the only version of TITANIC anyone should want to keep in their collection of classics. This is the one that should have been an Academy Award champion.....and it is a sin that Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck not only didn't win 1953 Oscars, but were not even nominated. Ditto the wonderful performance of the greatest supporting actress in movie history, Thelma Ritter, as the indomitable Unsinkable Molly Brown. I will never forget the hysteria in Barbara Stanwyck's voice as she screamed "Norman! Norman!" when she realized her young son had slipped out of their life-boat to remain with his dad as the ship sank.....nor the tears in Clifton Webb's eyes when he told the boy what pride he felt for him as the end drew near. Please, don't anyone tell me there was an ounce of reality in the blockbuster, phony '97 version.....This simple black & white movie told the REAL story of the very rich and the very poor suddenly equalized in the face of disaster. And I dare you not to smile as millionaire John Jacob Astor reassures his young, pregnant, second wife with the immortal words "My dear, God himself could not sink THIS ship"......and I defy you not to cry when old Mrs. Strauss refuses to board a life-boat, saying "I've been with Mr. Strauss for more than fifty years....I don't intend to leave him now." This is a classic. This is THE classic. And these people, brilliantly portrayed by brilliant actors, become the ones who were really aboard the TITANIC in 1912.
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the TITANIC to watch and to own!,
I enjoyed watching the James Cameron super-production of TITANIC released a few years ago. But after one viewing that was it. It's the l950 version of TITANIC, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb that keeps drawing me back through repeated viewings. These characters are the ones who can really connect with a viewer. Stanwyck brings a fantastic down-to-earth quality that you instantly connect to. Webb is equally good as the dispicable fop who wants his kids to live like royal spoilt brats. My only complaint about this DVD are the two commentaries. Film critic Richard Shickel's has to be heard to be believed for he literally sounds like he's half-asleep. He starts off with: "Uh,and....uh, uh, and, uh, Barbara, uh, uh, Stanwyck, uh (long pause)is a fine, uh, uh, ehhhhhhh, ummmm, good actress." The second one is slightly better because you can hear Audrey Dalton recall those long-gone days on the 20th Century lot making TITANIC. She's witty, interesting, but unfortunately has about ten minutes on the commentary. You're forced to listen to cameraman Michael Lonza's relentless spill about miniatures, special effects and water tanks. Worse, is the "audio essay" by Silvia Stoddard, who tells us such fascinating tidbits that "Titanic was, well, just incredibly big!" Robert Wagner repeats over and over again "how lucky I was to be on a production like TITANIC." We'd all be considered lucky, Robert, but I just wish you could have thrown some more color about individual scenes. Other than these two commentaries, the DVD restoration looks great!
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Powerful.,
By A Customer
I saw the 1953 Titanic many years ago in the movies. Negulesco's version was far superior to the 1997 one. The 1997 film was far-fetched, whereas the 1953 film was realistic. The advantage of producing and directing a more true to life story was the particular time. In 1953, approximately 41 years after the tragedy occurred, many of the survivors, their families and friends were still alive, and might have been available to be interviewed, and thus contribute to the research that went into making this truly great film with Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb. The 1997 film placed more of an emphasis on material objects, such as the gem, whereas the 1953 version focused more on people, their human frailities, and their courage, and were so well presented that you came away from the film with the feeling that these were characters you had known in your life. Having sailed on Cunard ships, The Queen Mary and the Georgic, I feel as though I had been on the Titanic. If I were to watch Titanic (1953), there would be the same reaction from me, tears, and trembling, especially when the orchestra played "Nearer My God To Thee." Nothing in this life can be more frightening than to be on board on ship that you know is about to sink. Negulesco was able to evoke all these strong emotions fear and compassion. Perhaps the family situations were not true to life, but the Sturgess family might have existed, because regardless of family status, the feelings of resentment, hatred, love are very real. I look forward to seeing this masterpiece again.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WINNER, Best Ficticious Characters on Board the "Titanic",
Anyone would have to agree that the best FILM ever made about the Titanic is "A Night to Remember" because it tells the blow by blow true story, from sailing to sinking, based on Walter Lord's excellent book of the same name. But if you're looking for a MOVIE, that is, something which is like an historical novel version of the tragedy, then I'd steer you to this one starring Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck.
Stanwyck has boarded the ship with her son and daughter while running away from her husband Webb. She has lost most of her respect for her sartorially resplendent husband and believes that he is making a snob out of the teenaged daughter. Webb has outwitted her, however, and bought an immigrant's ticket in order to make the passage. He and Stanwyck do an excellent job of portraying a bad marriage gone even worse when, trying to inflict more pain on her husband, Stanwyck makes a startling disclosure that hits Webb just about as hard as the iceberg will the ship.
Lots of other interesting passengers aboard too: The daughter is being courted by college man Robert Wagner, while Richard Basehart is a defrocked priest who finally gets his act together when the presence of a clergyman is needed most. And as real-life passengers, Thelma Ritter as Molly Brown and Brian Aherne as Captain Smith both do a great job.
Best scenes? The aforementioned bombshell Stanwyck delivers to Webb; Captain Smith realizing that the ship is listing to one side as he listens to some college kids singing their alma mater; and finally, Webb's tear-filled eyes as he bids farewell to Stanwyck just before she gets into a lifeboat. This is a "Titanic" with characters who care about each other, and whom we can consequently care about ourselves.
If you're looking for something sudsier than the factual "A Night to Remember", then your ship has come in with this great tearjerker.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stays "Afloat" Long After The Film is Over!,
Any film with Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck, and the indomitable Thelma Ritter is worth a "look see." Sure, James Cameron had 200 million bucks and state-of-the-art special effects (along with the camera-friendly Leo and Kate). But, this 1953 film has class in its performances from the principals. Much shorter than the 1997 epic and filmed in black and white, the film holds its own as a good movie. In fact, the B & W adds stark realism to the tragedy. Watch carefully for the stunning announcement Stanwyck makes to husband Webb in their cabin prior to the fateful collision. This was somewhat shocking for the time! I know when I saw this scene upon first viewing, my mouth dropped open!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NEARER MY GOD TO THEE ..... WHAT A MOVIE!!!,
This film far surpasses 1997's Titanic in many ways. First of all the star power of Stanwyck and Clifton Webb and the interaction of their characters is unbeatable. Second of all the film is devoid of artifical music (there is no musical score...all the music is done by piano playing on the ship, the singing at the worship service and by the ship's band during the sinking). Third, the transfer to DVD is excellent in every way! Fourth, the performances of the entire cast (benefited by an Oscar Winning Screenplay) are first-rate! THe ending packs a wallop and many tears are always shed when Stanwyck clutches her son's gloves realizing he has abandoned his seat on the life boat to go back to Clifton Webb (his father, though not biological) on the ship. WHen Stanwyck clutches the gloves and cries, "Norman, my little boy"....with just a hint of despair....not overdone but affecting nonetheless and the scene where Norman and Sturges (Webb) are on the ship as it sinks and Webb tells Norman "Norman, I've always been proud of you, never more so than this moment"! ANd when Mrs. Strauss tells the person loading the lifeboats, "I'm an old woman and I've spent most of my life with Mr. Strauss. I'll not leave him now"! What lines!! This film ranks among my very favorites and I agree that Stanwyck and Webb deserved Oscar nominations for their performances!!
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Titanic with heart,
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I remember crying over this film as a kid, and sitting absolutely unmoved during James Cameron's feelingless epic. True, "A Night To Remember" is more accurate, but if you're one of those people who want to count the windows on the promenade deck, buy a documentary. Unlike some reviewers who can't possibly understand the character's actions during the sinking, it is about dignity and courage, something missing from other depictions of the story. The cast are flawless, and the story of a shallow family's realization of meaning brought about through tragedy is age-old and timeless.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story of the Titanic disaster,
I highly recommend this movie for history buffs, historians and fans of a good drama.
In this early Titanic retelling, a couple on the verge of divorce,(Barbara Stanwyk and Cliffton Webb) board the Titanic with their two children. Their story is very taboo given the time, Stanwyk's character admits that another man fathered her son! An alcholoic priest, bannished by the church, seeks forgiveness. An interestingly, Molly Brown is shown here as Maude Young, both with similar attitudes and history. Bruce Ismay (Titanic's managing director) is represented here as Earl Meeker, a cowardly man who desperately tries to 'fit in' and escapes in a lifeboat.
I was not impressed with the set design, the interior that is. The grand staircase was far too generic and fell short of the real thing as shown in James Cameron's version. The outside of the liner is spot on. The sinking, this was the only movie that I recall acknowledging the 'explosions' on the Titanic. It's not known for sure if there were any though. This movie failed to show the desperate passengers clinging to the stern as the ship went down. Nor did it show the ship split in two. Although it wasn't until 1985 that it was proven that it had broke apart, so that's easy to overlook.
So all in all, this is a great movie and worth all the fanfare it garnered. A classic oldie from a time when movies were made without all the glaring special effects, a time when the actors were the stars and were appreciated more than the special effects.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Webb and Stanwyck's performances should be savored.....,
Overshadowed by the 1998 blockbuster, I feel that this version, although dated, offers the viewer more character development, or perhaps , empathy. I enjoyed the performances of Webb and the mighty Stanwyck. Maybe I am out of touch with the "in vogue" young actors, but I really liked the "family" aspect of this film and don't need the special effects and flashback gimmickry of the new version to keep my attention. Being 46 and father of two young boys, my heartstrings are still tugged each year when we watch this film together. Give it a try.
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Titanic (Import, All Regions) by Jean Negulesco (DVD)
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