Titanic (1943)


“Now money means nothing. Now it’s just about survival.” – 1st Officer Petersen

Number of Times Seen – 1 (4 Oct 2019)

Brief Synopsis – A German officer on the Titanic tries to do all he can to save the ship, its passengers and its crew from disaster.

My Take on it – As a fan of the history of the Titanic, I was quite intrigued to see the perspective of this version since I knew that it was made solely as a German propaganda film during World War II.

The film is an attempt at showing how the British officers and passengers on the fated ship acted with greed and ineptitude the entire time while a young German officer was the only sane person trying to save the ship and its passengers from doom.

The way that he argues with the captain and owner of the ship is pretty humorous since he seems to already be aware of the massive dangers of icebergs along their path.

They show these scenes in a very over the top way which tales away so much of the potential impact it could theoretically have.

Despite this film being a farce, there are some key elements that are “borrowed” from this film and used in future versions of this story where they work much better there.

The focus of this film and the overall scope seem much too limited and that takes so much away from the story presented here.

At just under 90 minutes, this story is told in a rushed fashion which also hurts things because we never get the opportunity to see any developed characters besides the hero of the story.

As future versions of this story have shown, there is so much more that one can get out of this event and this film fails to even attempt to do so.

Bottom Line – German propaganda film made in order to try and show the ineptitude of the British and how simple minded they can be.  The story creates a fictional German hero aboard the fated ship who throughout the film seems to be the only level headed person there.  His attempts to safeguard the ship from icebergs and the greedy businessmen running things is somewhat comical because it is so over the top in the way that it depicts things.  Having seen other versions of this film, it’s easy to see how they have taking certain facets from this one but the scope and overall feel of this film feels much too limited. The story seems a bit too rushed and doesn’t allow for things to flow well enough which is quite a shame since as future versions were able to show, there is so much more to this story.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – After one week of troubled shooting on the Cap Arcona, Herbert Selpin called a crisis meeting where he made unflattering comments about the Kriegsmarine officers, who were more concerned with molesting the female cast members rather than doing their job as marine consultants of the film. His close friend and co-writer of the script, Walter Zerlett-Olfenius, reported him to the Gestapo and Selpin was promptly arrested and personally questioned by Joseph Goebbels, who was the driving force behind the project. Selpin, however, did not retract his statement-something which infuriated Goebbels since the Propaganda Minister had placed his trust in Selpin to direct his propaganda epic. Within 24 hours of his arrest, Selpin was found hanged in his jail cell, a development which was ruled a suicide. However, in reality, Goebbels had arranged for Selpin to be hanged and his death to be misleadingly cast as a suicide. The cast and crew were angry at the attempt to obfuscate Selpin’s obvious murder and attempted to retaliate, but Goebbels countered them by issuing a proclamation stating that anyone who shunned Zerlett-Olfenius would answer to him personally. The unfinished film, on which the production costs were spiraling wildly out of control, was in the end completed by an uncredited Werner Klingler.(From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)

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