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Titanic

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Critics' Reviews

AMG Review
Michael Betzold
The obvious problem with filming the story of the 1912 sinking of the Titanic is that the outcome of the movie is known to all viewers. The strategy of both the 1953 Hollywood blockbuster and the 1998 Hollywood mega-blockbuster was to humanize the tragedy with soap-opera-type personal stories. In 1953, three screenwriters and little-known director Jean Negulseco focused on the story of an unhappy mother (Barbara Stanwyck) who wants to flee her cruel husband (Clifton Webb) for a new life in America. The plot is not all that different from the 1998 version, which also had a miserable woman hoping to escape an oppressive man, but the characters in the 1953 film are not as compelling or pretty. The plot ends up taking a back seat to the special effects, which are admirable by the standards of the era. A 20-foot model simulated the sinking of the ship. The film was a box-office hit and served for some time as a model for disaster films. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi
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