1996 Miniseries

Matthew Lips

Mar 8, 2001
The "Titanic" miniseries (with Catherine Zeta-Jones etc), almost universally panned on this board, makes a return to the Hallmark Channel this weekend. Well, at least here in South Africa - I'm not sure if the programme schedule is the same everywhere.

I think Part 1 airs at 21.15 Central African Time on Saturday night, September 18th. I imagine Part 2 will be shown on Sunday.

I know most of us agree that it's utter dog poop, but hey, a Titanic movie can never be all bad (or can it?). Anyway, thought you might want to know so you can check your schedules in your corner of the globe.
May 3, 2005
>>but hey, a Titanic movie can never be all bad (or can it?).<<

I have the DVD of the (George C. Scott/Catherine Zeta Jones, etc.)TV miniseries of "The Titanic."

At the very least.....I thought there was a better than average portrayal of Captain Rostron, Harold Cottam and the Carpathia, second only to ANTR....I'll qualify that with "just IMHO" of course.
May 3, 2005
PS- The graphics were absolutely terrible...especially that showing the Carpathia entering New York Harbor...or maybe I just got a bad copy and the video quality wasn't all that good.
Feb 18, 2006
Aw c'mon, Michael, maybe the rest of the film was a total flop, but how can you NOT be moved by the scene of Our Lady Titanic breaking the surface?
Nov 26, 2005
How bout "Dynamite fisher person"? >

Agreed though, the scene of the great bow of Titanic bursting through the ocean surface makes up for the films other sins.
May 3, 2005
Unfortunately (for Me, at least !) I've been watching "Titanic" (the Catherine Zeta Jones - George C. Scott version). It's a nitpicker's dream...or nightmare...for a just a few examples.

Captain Smith says to Bride and Philips":
"Send CQD - Come Quickly Distress". No such thing :"CQ" was a "conventional signal" - more or less a "calling all stations" - if followed by a "D" it did mean "Distress."

Sound of the code being received and sent is of the tone of a modern "CW" (Continuous Wave) musical note tone type of signal and not as a spark gap signal would have sounded.

Scene of the Carpathia entering New York Harbor shows clear and broad daylight - Carpathia entered in rain and at night.

Et Cetera, Et Cetera, and so forth.

So...what is the real "Worst Titanic Movie Ever
Made " ?.......The envelope, please !
Oct 15, 2007
I personally don't like the Catherine Zeta Jones one with George C Scott because of the rape in it and it's in definite poor taste!! I have the movie with my other Titanic things but rarely see it!!!
Oct 2, 2009
The Titanic mini-series is awful. Titanic is docked on the wrong side. Molly Brown comes aboard at Southhampton. Did these people do any research? The CGI was terrible. The only thing I liked is that it tells the bizarre story of Lorraine Allison, not told in any other Titanic film. other than that, it was a cheesy double love story that couldn't keep the project afloat.
Oct 14, 2009
This really is a bad mini-series, no doubt about it.

The CGI was pretty lousy--the movie "Midway" used some fairly low-budget model work for some of its scenes and it looked a lot more realistic than what we saw here. Well-done scenes in miniature are always better than bad CGI!

In addition to the catalogue of factual errors (Come Quickly, Distress, white rockets unsuitable as distress signals, etc.) it has some of the most horrible acting I've ever seen. Mr. Pick-Pocket (our Young Hero) grossly overacts in every one of his scenes--was I the only one who stood up and cheered when Tim Curry roughed him up? I was so hoping this guy would wind up on the receiving end of a nice big CGI #1 Funnel when the ship sank...no such luck. You're not supposed to be annoyed by the hero!

The woman playing Alice Cleaver over-acted just as badly. It was really painful to watch--I hope someone can put Mike Nelson onto this movie for RiffTrax--it could be a pretty good candidate!
May 3, 2005
Re: "The Titanic" series (George C. Scott, et al.)

Good: Portrayal of J. Bruce Ismay probably closest in physical appearance of any.

Bad: One got the impression that Titanic was not commanded by Captain Edward John Smith but by General George Smith Patton, Junior (Scott, that is.) This has appeared on another thread previously.
One also expected Tim Currie to be continously twirling his mustache. (I think the name of the character was Snidely Whiplash.)
Oct 14, 2009
I agree; the actor playing Ismay did look reasonably like him; oddly enough, this same actor worked with George C. Scott earlier on my favorite adaptation of "A Christmas Carol." He played Fred Hollowell; Scott of course was Ebenezer Scrooge.

Tim Curry did remind me a lot of Snidely Whiplash! Funny you should say that; something made me think of those cartoons today at work!
Nov 3, 2011
The Titanic Miniseries was absolutely dreadful. Far too many historical inaccuracies and things that just aren't true whatsoever. Terrible, terrible. And the production was quickly rushed because JC's version was coming out. So notable errors include:

- Showers during the rape scene in the Third Class area, when in fact there were no such things. I believe third class only had one or two bathtubs and that was it.

- Titanic docked at Southampton on its starboard side, which I still don't understand why I didn't just stop the movie right there.

- Molly Brown was nothing like they portrayed her in the film. She was not an oversexed, hillbilly. ( I dunno where that came from.) And she told the press and the end off the film that she was unsinkable. Molly was never referred to as " Molly" until after her death, and history, not she, called her unsinkable.

- CQD did not mean come quickly distress.

- The Allison family was Canadian, no American and the Alice Cleaver that worked for them was not the famed child murderer Alice Mary Cleaver. And she and Trevor boarded Lifeboat No. 11 not Lifeboat No. 7

- The line by John Jacob Astor, " I asked for ice, but this is ridiculous." was not stated by him.

- Joseph Boxhall did not die on the Titanic, in fact he was a technical advisor for the film A Night to Remember

- Titanic was built in Belfast, Ireland, not Southampton.

- Lorraine Allison's actress was a little older than Lorraine had actually been. Lorraine was only two at the time of the sinking.

- The organized dancing did NOT exist. And Molly Brown smoking in the Smoking Room was laughable, as no women had been allowed there.

- Captain Smith says the distress rockets should be red, which was false. Also his line, Be British, boys. Be British." is another urban legend.

These are just some of the failures in this movie that I would have given a straight up 0 stars for had I been a reviewer. Such a terrible film. I was embarrassed for the actors and actresses hired for it. Not too mention some of the acting itself was downright horrid.


Dec 11, 2016
If you've watched the 1996 Titanic miniseries starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Peter Gallagher, what did you think of it? What was it like in your opinion? For me personally, it was rubbish. The storyline itself was quite interesting, but it could be set in a whole load of other places, why the Titanic ship? Let me explain.

They couldn't get the sets right, it didn't look like Titanic at all. The sets are often dimly lit, so you can't see a thing. The first class dining saloon in the miniseries is located on A-deck and it has no reception room before it; just some arched openings.
What kind of BS is that though? Deckplans were certainly available in 1996 so why place the first class dining area on A-deck, when it was clearly located on D-deck with a reception room before it? Inexcusable.
The layout of the corridors and the staterooms are wrong. The first class corridors look too fancy, and not so dim either. Catherine Zeta Jones' character also asks to be moved to another stateroom and the steward claims all staterooms are full! No, they weren't. Half the Titanic was empty on the real thing.
The Grand Staircase has a chandelier on the top yet there's supposed to be a dome.
Furthermore, there was no laundry, no showers, bar, elaborate tearooms, etc.
I could go on.

If the moviemakers can't try to be as accurate as possible, then don't bother. No point in making a "Titanic" that seems to be completely different to the actual thing. The sets of 1997 Titanic were a lot more accurate and made you feel as if you were on it. The 1996 miniseries made me feel as though I was on some other ship.

All thoughts and ideas welcome!

robert warren

Feb 19, 2016
Well some movies are better than others to be sure. Most TV movies on historic subjects generally tend to be more flim flam, budget constraints being one of the biggest reasons.My biggest gripe with this movie was the rape scene,totally unnecessary!!! Mary Lou Henner's Molly Brown was irritating. Why do movies always portray her as a rough hewn country bumpkin??The sets were too dark- all the paneling looked like dark cherry wood. However when compared to sets in previous films these were not horrible. Titanic 1953 and SOS Titanic had dining rooms that were waaay more over the top than real life..The Ritz Hotel in London was used for SOS Titanic's dining room I believe.The 1953 dining room looked like some huge landlocked hotel. At least this one managed to get the single deck height right. ANTR, and JC's Titanic were the only other films to do that.Also this film(along with the aforementioned two) at least attempted to replicate the balustrades and somewhat of the dimensions of the staircase.Again the wood was too dark.However the cherub lamp at the base was actually cuter and more flamboyant than the stiff,head too big for the body,wierd faced one in Cameron's film.The computer effects were not good at all.I said back then that total reliance on computer effects could look just as fake as if they did the film in Claymation.It helps to have a healthy balance of that with models and live action.Of course the glaring shots of the Carpathia arriving in NY during a bright sunny day made my blood boil.How can ANYONE be that inaccurate?? Budget excuses aside for sets, effects, and whatever else, at least get the basic facts right!!! They might as well have had the Titanic sink on Christmas Eve,off the coast of Jamaica, with Shelley Winters at the helm!

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