Titanic (1953)

“Twenty years ago I made the unpardonable error of thinking I could civilize a girl who bought her hats out of a Sears-Roebuck catalog.” –Richard Sturges

From the Wiki:  “A 1953 American drama film directed bJean Negulesco. Its plot centers on an estranged couple sailing on the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic, which took place in April 1912.” 


The 1953 version of Titanic with Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Web isn’t a very engaging movie. Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck have zero chemistry.   I know they are supposed to be on the outs, but the disparity is such that it’s a bridge too far imagining any spark at all, however dimly lit, however long ago. Add to that the stiff upper lip, stoic depiction of the passengers left behind and the sudden character reversal from Webb, and you get a movie that feels like it’s simply going through the motions.  It’s not that it’s a terrible movie; it’s not. It’s more interesting than Cameron’s version in that it spends at least some time on the stories of characters besides the leads, and its exploration of the complexities of a long-term marriage falling apart stands in marked contrast to the relatively simple story of young, beautiful people experiencing love at first sight and having sex in a car.  But it’s not nearly enough.  Cameron’s at least does have some warmth to it.  This one’s a bit soulless.   


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