Customer Review

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars strong, well-acted "Titanic" drama, February 10, 2008
This review is from: The Titanic (DVD)
The 1996 Hallmark miniseries of TITANIC was unfortunate in that it ended up being largely overshadowed by James Cameron's 1997 big-screen blockbuster (by the time the miniseries was aired in the UK and Australia, James Cameron's version had well and truly exploded onto the scene). This was a pity, as the Hallmark version has many things in it's favour.

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Peter Gallagher head a star-studded international cast, and the adaptation succeeds in blending five different stories into the narrative. Perhaps most importantly this version depicts a real-life passenger called Alice Cleaver (played by Felicity Waterman) who attempted to kidnap the baby of her employers when the boat began to sink (leaving the family to search for the child until all the lifeboats had departed, thus sealing their fate).

At the time of this miniseries, Catherine Zeta-Jones was at the cusp of Hollywood superstardom. She looks ravishing as Isabella Paradine, who rekindles an affair with her first beau Wynn Park (Peter Gallagher). Also in this miniseries, we meet in greater detail John Jacob Astor (Scott Hylands) and his pregnant young second wife Madeline (Janne Mortil). The affair of Astor and Madeline was one of the biggest scandals of the period and it's great to have them as prominent characters in this version. The younger romance is provided by thief Jamie (Mike Doyle) and Danish convert Aase (Sonsee Neu-Ahray).

No version of TITANIC would be complete without the ebullient and "unsinkable" Molly Brown (Marilu Henner plays her with enough spirit and spunk to make Debbie Reynolds proud and Kathy Bates pale). And the villain of the piece is thieving steward Simon Doonan (performed with oily relish by Tim Curry). A flavour of classic Hollywood is provided by George C. Scott as the Captain and Eva Marie Saint as the selfish Hazel Foley.

The romance of Bella (Zeta-Jones) and Wynn (Gallagher) is a captivating and moving one, played with style and elegance, and I consider it far more effective than the romance in the James Cameron spectacle. True, the special effects are lacking in this version but the dramatics and acting more than compensate. A fantastic production and one I revisit often. Originally shown in two parts. With Tamsin Kelsey, Eric Keenleyside, Malcolm Stewart, Roger Rees, Harley Jane Kozak, Kevin Conway, Matt Hill and Barry Pepper.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 11, 2008 9:36:53 AM PST
Linda Bulger says:
I haven't seen this, since I wasn't in the U.S. in 1996: saw the film version of TITANIC my first week back in the country so nobody was talking Hallmark. Sounds divine, Byron, I'm going to look it up, thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2011 8:45:15 PM PDT
I admit this version was more historical than the Kate/Leonardo version.

But I found Mari Lu Henner ANNOYING as Molly Brown. First she laughs that the ship can't sink. Then she gives the people loading her in a life boat a hard time. Then she has the indecency to laugh and joke that survivor Bruce Ismay should be hanging from a tree. (Even though she survied too.)

Roger Reese actually gets more credit for making Mr. Ismay more redeemable and sympathetic.

Kathy Bates made a much kinder and more likable Molly Brown.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2013 10:14:57 PM PST
Cavaradossi says:
Was this really a Hallmark telefilm? I remember it as playing on CBS, not Hallmark.
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Byron Kolln
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Location: the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood

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