Titanic: The Complete Story
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The "unsinkable" Titanic was a dream come true: Four city blocks long and a passenger list worth 250 million dollars. But on her maiden voyage in April 1912, that dream became a nightmare when the giant ship struck an iceberg and sank in the cold North Atlantic. More than 1,500 lives were lost in one of the greatest disasters of the 20th century. Now, the complete sensational history of the premier liner is recounted in TITANIC: THE COMPLETE STORY. Using newsreels, stills, diaries, and exclusive interviews with survivors, TITANIC: THE COMPLETE STORY charts the fateful history of the ship and its passengers as well as providing an overview on the popular culture phenomenon that this tragedy has become.
This set includes 3 feature-length programs:
- DEATH OF A DREAM - The largest ship ever built is christened in Ireland before a cheering crowd of 100,000. Witness the disaster this trek becomes as numerous iceberg warnings go unheeded and the ship sinks in the icy North Atlantic.
- THE LEGEND LIVES ON - Overpacked lifeboats edge away from the crippled liner as futile SOS signals flare into the night - leaving 1,500 passengers to a watery grave. Also, witness the courageous deep sea expedition to unearth Titanic's secrets.
- TITANIC'S ACHILLES HEEL - Elite divers explore the explosive theory that the doomed liner may have had a fatal design flaw - using advanced CGI technology, archive documents and photographs, as well as footage from modern-day HISTORY expeditions.
A tragedy that only grows with each telling, the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic resonates on a variety of levels, including as a cautionary illustration of Man's hubris in the face of Nature, as an unforgettably vivid example of class divisions during those frenzied final hours, and through the myriad of personal stories of courage recorded by the survivors. This compilation of three feature-length documentaries provides both the broad strokes and minutia surrounding the incident. The first two documentaries on the disc--both produced several years before James Cameron turned his attentions to the subject--take a Ken Burnsian approach to the material, utilizing a wealth of recovered artifacts and survivor interviews to fill in the blanks surrounding that famous night. The first installment, Death of a Dream, details the elements leading up to the voyage, spanning from the ship's construction in Belfast to the composition of the fatal iceberg. The Legend Lives On, meanwhile, delves into the aftershocks of the event, including the fascinating trial of the remaining crew--and, most notably, the head of the shipping company, J. Bruce Ismay--just days after being brought to safety. Finally, the third feature, Titanic's Achilles Heel, takes a distinctly more modern approach to the material, as a team of scientists use the latest in computer imaging to explore the engineering behind what was once the largest ship in history. When one expert advances a theory that a flaw in the design may have been responsible for the disastrous aftermath of the collision, a team of divers undertake a risky mission to examine the wreck of Titanic's sister ship Britannic for confirmation. Taken as a whole, this engrossing package provides enough detail to intrigue both casual viewers and hard-core historians. The title Titanic: The Complete Story may be an exaggeration, but not by much. --Andrew Wright
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Top Customer Reviews
DVD package. While it may not be the "complete" story, it is really a valuable
documentary. It has been re-issued in 2011 by A&E as a 2 disc DVD collection.
Basically you have at least three documentaries in one package here. The first
begins with the history of the White Star line and the shipbuilders who
constructed the Titanic and her two sister ships. This is a lot of great
background information. Next comes a lengthy exposition on the formation
and migration of icebergs, focused on why they traveled so far south that year,
and why the Titanic wasn't expecting trouble.
The third documentary begins with a detailed analysis of some structural problems
that existed with the Titanic and her sister ships--some of which the builders
recognized and tried to correct; others were not corrected, either because the
degree of risk wasn't properly appreciated at the time, or the decision was made
financially that the risk-benefit ratio of re-doing the ship's design would not
be economical or practical. It must be kept in mind, as the documentary points out,
that a ship of this size had never been built before, so even though these were
master shipbuilders, certain technical problems arose that they had not encountered before.
National Geographic mounted an expedition in the Mediterranean to examine the wreck
of the third of the sister ships, the Brittania, just to see if her construction may have
corrected at least one of the flaws that remained in the Titanic, in light of its sinking
(the Brittania was still in construction at that time, so there was still time to make a
modification which might have significantly lengthened the ship's lifespan, if she were
maimed in the way the Titanic was). Unfortunately, that documentary ends without the divers
being able to answer the question.
Overall the best parts of the documentary were the details about the White Star Line
and the shipbuilders, and a number of interviews with survivors (all deceased now,
so there will be no further interviews with them). Portions of these interviews
you may have seen elsewhere, but longer excerpts are preserved in these documentaries.
The film "A Night to Remember", though only semi-documentary in nature (it is a
re-enactment of the tragedy, done in black and white) is the best movie ever
done about the Titanic disaster. In addition to being quite accurate in almost all
respects, it has a wonderful commeentary track by 3 commentators who really DO
seem to know EVERYTHING there is to know about all things Titanic. If you have
the Criterion Collection version of "A Night to Remember" and you have
"Titanic: The Complete Story", you should have a very comprehensive video collection
indeed, about this historic event that still resonates today. As one commentator put it,
it was perhaps the sinking of the Titanic that truly brought the end of an era (not
the outbreak of World War I a few years later)--the end of an era of naive hubris, of
the belief that our science and our technology could overcome any problems with which
mankind might be faced...
but the picture quality was excellent; even the vintage films looked good. The first disc I believe was made back in the 1990s and
deals mainly with interviews with the surviving travelers plus a good long look at the events that led up to the sinking. The second
disc deals more with the ship itself and possibly faults in its design and construction. Happy to say the conclusions was though
there may have been a weakness in the expansion joint designs (improved greatly on the Britannic) that apparently had little to do
with the accident. It seems that an unfortunate series of incidents happening at the wrong times probably caused the sinking. The
producers said in conclusion that the ship was sound and should have survived but for a few oddly timed events. Anyhow,
for the time the ship was quite well made. I wonder if welding, which was still in its primitive state, would made a difference if the
plates were welded along with the rivets. The film said at the time there were some ships that were welded together but split
apart horribly; I think perhaps discouraging the weld method for the time being. The second disc was in the 16 & 9 format and
I watched it on my HD computer monitor but could not expand the frame to fit the 16 & 9 monitor screen. But the picture was
beautiful and very enjoyable. For those interested in Titanicology, I recommend watching A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, dated from
the late 1950s but surprisingly accurate and with believable sets closely based on the Titanic's interior. The FOX version TITANIC
made a few years ago is worth watching only if you want to see a very accurate view of the ships interior and exterior. Otherwise
don't bother; I thought the story, especially about the idiotic jewel, was awful. The mush story was ok, but not historical. Anyhow,
I thought this set of DVDs was excellent and well worth the price. I got this and some other Titanic stuff from Amazon. And no
Dr Sweets in any of the programs...Thank goodness!! Enjoy.