A&E's Titanic Death of a Dream


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Trent Pheifer

Guest
Thank you for the info Karin, I really want it on DVD lol.

-Trent
 
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Karin Kasper

Guest
No problem, Trent. I hope you can find it!
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(Actually, let me know if/when you do- i wouldn't mind aquiring this one for my DVD collection myself!)
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Adam Tarzwell

Guest
Just a quick question and this may be a silly question but I have always been interested to know this. They have many survivors of the tragedy giving voice overs such as Jack Thayer in the introduction, Col. Gracie, Mrs. Lucien P. Smith to name a few. Are these just actors reciting passages from interviews or anecdotes these people made following the disaster or are these actual recordings of these survivors? Jack Thayer in the opening... the statement about how the world of today awoke April 15th, 1912 oh just chilling. The best documentary ever made on Titanic. I have it taped but I would like to get my hands on the box set.
 

Steve Olguin

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Mar 31, 2005
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Hi Adam!

Yes this is one of the best documentaries on the subject that we have. This OLD VHS copies i have are looking bad now, I should buy myself a new copy..

The Narration from the survivors testimony and statements were recited by actors. They are far to clear of recordings to be anything but..
 

RileyGardner17

Riley Gardner
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Jan 14, 2015
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I'm aware this thread hasn't been updated in ten years or so, but I just watched the documentary tonight on YouTube (this entire discussions seems to have taken place before YouTube even existed - the times are a changin') and wanted to know if anyone knew ANYTHING about the music. Especially that beautiful and powerful piano piece that plays quite often throughout the documentary. Specifically when over Thayer's narration: "How could any humans fail the heed those cries?" and the final song you hear I believe. Let me know if anyone knows of it.

Still even now the best overall documentary on the whole subject.
 

Sandy

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Jun 30, 2016
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You ain't kidding.

I believe the piece this entire thread is referring to is ...

Souvenir by Franz Drdla
 

robert warren

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Feb 19, 2016
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One of the best documentaries ever made on the subject.In addition to the background orchestral music, the rest of the music is great as well. Some of it even has an ethereal, haunting and sad tone, adding to the sadness of the tragedy.Interesting enough, the narrarator David McCallum played H Bride in a Night To Remember.Susan St James who played Leigh Goodwin in SOS Titanic, was the voice breaking into the commercials when first aired on TV.
 

Lizzy

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Aug 14, 2017
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I'm super late to this party but the name of that particular piece is Valse Caprice. What number and by whom I do not know. But I can be found on Spotify with some minor digging. One of the other pieces played during Titanic's happy days through this documentary is called Homage to Valentino.



 
Sep 9, 2017
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I just finished watching this documentary and thought it was superb.

No gratuity, no over-dramatics or over emphasis by the narrator. Very respectfully made, insightful and most of all interesting.

This is by far the best and most in-depth Titanic documentary I have ever seen. Something this long had the potential to become monotonous and tedious to get through (especially for someone of my short attention-span generation) but it remained fascinating to the end and very well made. The only part that was any kind of struggle to get through was the beginning, talking about the opulence of the ship, but only because that's covered in every documentary and article about Titanic ever made. But once it moves past that it becomes very very interesting.

These days Titanic documentaries are all too quick to employ CGI to show this, that or the other. This TV show in 1994 didn't have that "luxury" and the outcome was all the better for it in my opinion.

There are actually two parts. "Death of a dream" is the first half and "The Legend Lives On" is the second.

I'll also add what others have said that the music really is very well chosen.

I know I'm late to the party but if there's anyone who hasn't seen this yet, it's on youtube. It's really worth watching in my opinion.

For others who have seen it - do you hold it in as high regard as I do?
 
Sep 25, 2004
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For others who have seen it - do you hold it in as high regard as I do?
Yes indeed.

Compared to some of the more recent programs that have been shown about Titanic, Death of a Dream/The Legend Lives On still holds up well IMO. Like you said at the beginning of your post, it does not subject you to over dramatization for cheap feels nor has the repetitiveness that many documentaries seem to employ these days (If you've seen Drain the Titanic, you'll know what I mean).

The music used is fantastic and that's not just limited to the period pieces either. Christopher Stone handled the music for the program and I find his work really compliments what you're seeing on the screen. The triumphant score as the narrator describes the keel laying of Titanic and the technology that went into her; the dark foreboding tune that plays as Frederick Fleet phones his warning to the bridge and later on as Titanic develops "a perceptible list"; and that haunting track that periodically pops up during the latter half of Part I and reaches its crescendo towards its end as "Titanic's giant stern rises higher, and higher above the water." A different version plays at the end of Part II over Jack Thayer's monologue and that one is just as beautiful.

Speaking of the narrator, David McCallum was perfect. Having a good narrator for a documentary like this goes a long way and that was certainly the case here. The voice overs were quite good as well.

Some of the visuals may seem quaint compared to today (like superimposing a still of the ship over a moving ocean), but I still enjoy them, especially the views of that sinking diorama from the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. Another good one is the underwater shot looking up toward the surface when that Mackay-Bennett crewman describes the bodies "plunging into the sea, there to sink to depth of about two miles."

Probably my favorite visual however is the entire intro. Going from the splendor of the Grand Staircase, to the ice-strewn waters of the Atlantic, then diving down and coming face to face with Titanic's name superimposed on what we assume is the stern of the ship (Sometimes I liken it to a tombstone. Why? I don't know. Maybe the chorus used in Chris Stone's soundtrack might have something to do with it ;)).

Given its age, there are some aspects of the program that will seem outdated given the wealth of research that's come out between 1994 and today, but they don't really bother me. If I do have one gripe about the show, its the handling of the Californian incident. To me, the show seems to lean more towards the "Lordite" POV, whereas a more "balanced" view would have been nice.

All in all, a solid piece of work that still holds up to this day.
 
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Sep 9, 2017
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Some of the visuals may seem quaint compared to today (like superimposing a still of the ship over a moving ocean), but I still enjoy them,
Yes me too. I actually found them refreshing as I'm fed up of CGI animations telling me what some animator's interpretation of events is, and instead this leaves it more up to the imagination a bit. I find it more respectful in a way and less "cheap".

And yes unfortunately I did see "Drain the Titanic" but I couldn't make it all the way through. In fact that's the "documentary" I had in mind when I was talking about over dramatic narrators and over-emphasis on everything. It really is awful.
 
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Dec 23, 2017
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Seems like all docs in recent years (ouside of JC'S) are nothing but over dramatic crap with no good telling of the story.

What iv never understood with all docs since this one is why they dont use all these amazing archives of survivors telling their storys but get some crappy actors instead.
 
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Nov 14, 2005
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I started watching this again as its been a few years since I watched it. Its one of my favorite docu's on Titanic. Some people have knocked it for various reasons none of which I agree with. Sure a lot more research has been done since it first aired but I've always thought it was one of the better ones. After Dr. Ballard discovered the ship I got re interested in Titanic. Then when this came out I saw it and my interest only grew. I like the way it covers the more personal aspects of Titanic. I bought the DVD set after I wore out my VHS copies.
 
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William Oakes

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Mar 6, 2020
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I watched the A&E production, a television documentary last night.
Narrated by David McCallum, this 200 minute program released on July, 24, 1994, has held up very well.
In my opinion it is the best documentary ever made concerning the great ship.
Far less than technical, it examines the tragedy from the human element.
It gives the viewer perspective from people from all walks of life, and all socioeconomic backgrounds who found themselves thrown together in a fight for survival on that fateful night.
Two of my very favorite interviews occur at the beginning and the end of the production.
The elderly gentleman, From Belfast Ireland, Francis John Parkinson, Jr, retold the story of his father, Frances John Parkinson Senior who said to him one Sunday afternoon, "Johnny, you tell your Sunday School Teacher that you'll not be there next Sunday, for your father is taking you to see the Titanic at Harland and Wolff."
The next Sunday came and Johnny stood there looking up at this great steel hulk.
His father explained that soon all of the timbers would be removed and she would be set afloat.
"But Dad, how could that big ship stay up on the water?"
Johnny's father replied, "Oh Son, that ship will always stay up on the water; it will always stay up."
Francis John Parkinson, Sr was a skilled laborer at Harland and Wolff.
He hand crafted the doors inside the great ship, and did wood tooling and carving.
They showed his tools and a stamp that was hammered into the wood bearing his initials and last name, FJ Parkinson, that would be punched in an inconspicuous place on the doors.
For 4 years, 1909-1912 he labored on that ship.
He worked 12 hour days and often did not come home on Friday nights but worked straight through Saturday; only taking Sunday's off.
His name and craft were all over the ship.
You know that there were countless workers just like him.
They all had stories.
His story deserves to be remembered.
Near the end of the production, the elderly gentleman, recalls his father after hearing the fate of the doomed liner, openly weeping, not only for the great loss of life, but also for the loss great ship itself, where he had spent so may hours of his life.
If you've never seen this documentary, i cannot recommend it highly enough.
The stories are rich and tangible and you feel as if you are on board.
It was once available as a 4 tape VHS set that I ordered from A&E.
Sadly, I lost it through a divorce.
It is available in two parts on YouTube and you can stream it for free.
Highly enjoyable and fascinating.
I welcome your thoughts.
Thank You for welcoming me to this group.
Everyone is most kind!
 
Nov 14, 2005
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Yes its one of the best documentary's done in my opinion also and is well known among the members here. While it does have some mistakes overall one of my favorites because of the way its made and covers both the ship and the personal side of Titanic. It's held up well over the years.

Moderator's note: Edited to remove a link to this thread, now unnecessary. This message, the one preceding it and the one following started life in a separate thread. MAB
 
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William Oakes

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Nice to receive confirmation from you folks that it is a favorite.
I never tire of watching it.
The interviews by the survivors are a time capsule now gone.
Sad that we have lost so much Titanic history.
 

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