Atlantic

James Hill

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Feb 20, 2002
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what do you think (the people that have seen Atlantic)it was pretty dissapointing and boring but there are good bits in it. my favourite bit would be when two men start fighting with the seamen so theiy can book their place in the boats,the chief officer comes along,steps in and shouts "get out woman and children only,if you dont ill shout" as he raises his revolver and.....
pop
pop
the two men drop into the sea.the most funnyist bit (to me) is when Padre comes into the smoking room where everyone is and says as big as the rock of Gibralta!" (its really an iceCUBE*). someone sould say to him."oh sir did you not see all that damage above the waterline? and all the water pouring in?".but heroism is not missed out the main characters are.......
John Rool
Alice Rool
you could say they are a diffirent type of Straus
couple since John is disabled he is offerd a spot in the boats with his wife by 1st officer Lanchester he refuses and she refuses and they go down together.the men below decks engineers,firemen,trimmers etc await there end and the chief engineer tells them to get up top.in the ships last moments the captain and officer Lanchester are on the bridge,the captain sees a child who has been separated from her mother,he tells Lanchester to go and save her,Lanchester takes off his hat and overcoat,climbs over the rail and lands with a splash in the sea and in my opinion he and the child survive.
* i mean the iceberg in the film its called a growler.
 
Jun 3, 2005
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I bought it and I didnt like it. The "Titanic Cronicles(Spell?)" on the otherside of the DVD was cool. But the movie was kinda boring.

Danielle
 

James Hill

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Feb 20, 2002
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yes it does i just dont know why its so badly restored if it is!there are a lot of films with better footage than this and it doesnt have any tinting (tinting i beleive is something film directors did to add colour to early films) and i think the cast should have been re-chosen.Madeline Carol,the man that plays officer Lanchester,and Elaine Terriss (i cant remember how to spell it)were exellent in the film and should stay.who would you put in place of the cast?
 
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Bob Cruise

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Okay - everyone keeps bashing this movie, but I think we do need to give credit where credit is due.

One must remember both the genesis and historical context of this film.

It's taken from a play, Ernest Raymond's "The Berg". Watching the film, it's obvious that all the soapy sub-plots were what drove the piece on-stage (no way could a stage piece show the actual ship sinking). Thus, the ending is a blackout. I guess the director - Ewald Andre Dupont - felt the dramatic stage finish would work for a movie (hey - remember he was in virgin territory as far as disaster movies go/went).

It's to the director's credit that he interspersed the drawing room drama with scenes elsewhere on the ship (crew, dancing crowds, lifesboats leaving, etc.) in order to make the story more "filmic". Now that's innovation! (Not to mention entertainment.)

Also, the contemporary setting gives a good indication of the feelings toward Titanic in '29. At that point in time, the disaster was but 17 years old, with most of the survivors still alive. Yet for all the infamy associated with the event, a world war had taken place in the meantime. Why would a ship struck by an iceberg weigh heavier in the mind than the deliberately-torpedoed Lusitania? Obviously, the director felt a contemporary spin had to be put to the story in order for it to have an impact.

Furthermore, perhaps the movie would have had more of following had not something else occurred later in '29: Black Tuesday, followed by the Great Crash. When that happened, sinking stocks immediately replaced any notion of sinking ships.

Watch carefully. It's obvious that both Cameraon and McQuitty owe some of their camera angles to Dupont's 1929 vision: the attempts to convey the size of the ship, the motors working frantically to steer the ship clear of the iceberg, furniture floating, people falling into the water, etc.

That being said, if we are to understand that directors often "rip-off" the ideas of other directors, one can't help but wonder if Dupont himself had seen the now-lost Titanic movies made back in 1912. Hmmm...

Now - can someone answer me this?

Why - if "Atlantic" truly was a British/German production - does the AMERICAN version of "Nearer My God To Thee" end up being sung???
 
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Mary S. Lynn

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Bob Cruise - Wasn't "Nearer My God to Thee" called by another name before it became Americanized? (Asking brain...where did I read that?) I keep thinking that the original name of the tune sounded German.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Bob, For most of its history and especially in the early talkie era (and they don't come much earlier than 'Atlantic'!) the British film industry tried hard to appeal to the much larger and more profitable American audence. You can often see this in the 'Americanised' scripts, in the use of B-list American stars, and in this case possibly in the choice of the American version of the hymn.

Much of the hilarity generated when this film is shown today is down to the fact that it had been planned as a silent movie and a number of scenes had already been shot when the switch was made. Thus the many pregnant pauses (for the insertion of 'titles') and over-the-top facial reactions and gestures. By reference to the 'right' scenes (ie the worst scenes) it has often figured in compilations of the worst movies ever made. But I do agree that the film has more merit than many people suppose. It's unfortunate that the most effective scenes (especially the final gathering of the doomed in the First Class saloon) come at the end, by which time most viewers will have tired of viewing this 'curiosity' and switched off.
 
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Anita Casey-Reed

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Also, to add to Bob's point, many films of the early talkie era were shot multiple times in different languages for different audiences (Anna Christie, and I think The Blue Angel as well, had both German and English language versions) - maybe they did a British version along with an American version? Unfortunately, people now are so attuned to modern styles of acting, they just start laughing when they see the silent film style - I was at a screening of "Metropolis" not too long ago where people just couldn't see past the facial contortions, etc....
 

Bob Godfrey

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In its day, the film 'Atlantic' was a subject of great concern to the British shipping industry in general and to White Star in particular. Though there is nothing in the script to directly associate the film with the name Titanic, the connection was clear enough for White Star to take action. They persuaded the makers, British International Pictures, to remove references to White Star from the film posters but couldn't induce them to show notices at the start and finish of the film to reassure travellers that current Board of Trade regulations had made ocean travel much safer.

There was particular concern over an article in a German government-sponsored newspaper which proclaimed the film as an illustration of the dangers of trusting in English amateurism, and that it was much safer to travel in German ships. White Star approached the Board of Trade to ask if anything could be done 'to prevent the exploitation of a subject which is no definitely damaging to one of this country's greatest industries'. The BoT replied that they had no jurisdiction in such matters.

Ten years later, when announcements were made of a new Titanic film planned by none other than Alfred Hitchcock, the BoT were approached again. This time by the British Chamber of Shipping, who recalled the damaging effect of Atlantic and urged that production of the new film should be stopped. Hitchcock's plans were indeed abandoned, due to the intervention not of the Board of Trade but of global war in 1939, which gave the Germans incentive to film their own propaganda version of the Titanic story.

Almost half a century after the real events, the makers of A Night to Remember found that attitudes within the industry had not changed. Permission to film a Shaw Savill liner for exterior scenes was withdrawn when the Chairman of the line got wind of it - he was Basil Sanderson, son of a past Chairman of White Star and son-in law of none other than Bruce Ismay. All other shipping lines followed suit, and Harland & Wolff also refused to help in any way, asserting that there was no cause to make an entertainment out of a tragedy in which many, including employees from H&W, had lost their lives.
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
Thanks for your excellent post, Bob! I just saw the DVD "Beyond Titanic" last night, and it gave some very good insight on the relationship between movies and the times in which they were produced. Your post has added much to my understanding (still in its infancy) of the movies that were produced at certain times, and why certain information may have been excluded or embellished. The "current thinking" certainly played a major role, didn't it? (I've had that DVD for several weeks, but the day it arrived, we had a massive lightning storm that blew out my DVD player and TV set...came right through the cable line and left the surge protector intact. Grrr...I had to dip into my "millions" to replace them both, and it took awhile). You seem to know much about ships and lines, and I'm wondering if you would please answer a question for me: What was the process in which certain ships were commissioned as Royal Mail Steamers, and others as His/Her Majesty's Ships? Did the same shipyards build them both? Weren't both classifications in the business of making money? (I noticed in one movie clip, there was a shot of a life ring with "HMS Titanic" on it). Is Harland-Wolff still in existence? Thanks in advance, and thanks for your very good explanation of the real concerns by British lines re: movie filming.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Right. Pause for breath, and... HMS is the designation for ships of the Royal Navy. SS was standard for merchant vessels, and is short for steamship. RMS (Royal Mail Steamer) is appropriate for any vessel with a contract to carry mail, and most large, fast and reliable liners did have such contracts. But, depending on context, these ships could also be referred to as SS - you may have noticed, for instance, that the lifeboats carried the name SS Titanic. Titanic had nothing printed on its life rings, but Olympic later had 'SS Olympic' and 'White Star Line' on its rings. Harland & Wolff is still in existence, but sadly its days as a shipbuilder are over.

Phew! Hope that answers your questions, Mary. I'm really more into people and life onboard than ships as such, but it's amazing what you pick up when you hang around here long enough!
 
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Mary S. Lynn

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Ever-informative you are, Bob! Who builds the HMS ships, then? Are they contracted out to private shipyards, or does the Royal Navy have its own? I knew about the SS designation for SteamShip (MV for Motored Vessel, SV for Sailing Vessel, etc.) but what is/was confusing was the seemingly interchangeable usage of RMS and SS, both in reality and in the movies. CS - Cable Ship. Were these ships used for laying cable? (I don't mind a "duh" answer!) Are they still being used?

I appreciate your first interest, and think that's where mine lies, as well. I just read things and questions arise which need answers for clarification. I really do appreciate your time and efforts, Bob!

A side note: My first (of five) voyage on the SS Norway (formerly SS France) was in 1988, or so. I remember daring to wear a 2-piece bathing suit out by the pool on the first at-sea day. (The "I'll never see these people again" mentality). Imagine my surprise when I began to notice soot in my stomach creases! Then, there was soot in every body crevice at the end of the day. It was, apparently, some kind of malfunction, and I've never had a soot problem on the Norway since. Were there soot problems during the glory days of steamships? I sure had a soot problem on my first non-glory day on the Norway, though! Believe me - a 40-year old in a 2-piece with soot lines is NOT pretty!

Thanks again, Bob.
 
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Mary S. Lynn

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Just noticed you're a retired teacher. So am I. Sure don't miss having to sit through 60 students a day repeating the "Prologue to the Canterbury Tales" in dull monotones!

"Whan that Aprille with its shires soute..."
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Bit of a problem here, Mary - we have to keep on-topic and this thread is about films, so you really need to spread your questions into the appropriate sections of the message board. But since I'm here, here goes:

Historically there were 6 Royal Naval dockyards for building and maintenance, and together they formed the largest industrial operation in the world in the days of wooden ships. But the huge naval expansion in the last century, especially in two world wars, meant that contracts were increasingly offered to commercial shipyards. Best known of the warships built by Harland & Wolff, for instance, is the WW2 cruiser HMS Belfast - now preserved as a tourist attraction in London.

Yes, cable ships laid (and lifted) cables, but these days there's a lot less demand for submarine cables except those that carry power lines to islands - satellites are much cheaper for communications.

Sure they had soot problems. That's why the funnels were so tall! But at a time when steam railways were at their peak that was a fact of life that people had learned to live with. Coal dust when refuelling was an even bigger problem, but these things were the acceptable price of progress.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Sounds like you taught English. I ran adult courses in journalism, broadcasting and film. When my students starting asking "When are we going to talk about something other than A Night to Remember" I knew it was time to retire! :)
 
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Mary S. Lynn

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My apologies for getting off-track, Bob - it was not my intention. I was more interested in the contracting and commissioning of British ships pre-WWI, and the designations of title. Getting back to movies:
-Did Fleet ever confirm whether the initial iceberg call was "dead" ahead or "right" ahead?
-Some movies portray the Wallace Hartley-led ship's orchestra containing brass and woodwinds with more than 4 members. Was this the case, or was it actually a 4-man string orchestra?
-Some movies portray Benjamin Guggenheim's "We are dressed in our finest (my valet and I) and are prepared to go down like gentlemen" statement, while not mentioning that he was aboard with his mistress. What ever happened to her, and why was she not mentioned in any movie?
-One movie (ANTR) has Isidore Strauss calling his wife "Rachael". Wasn't her name Ida?
-A couple of movies portray Harold Bride hanging on to Jack Phillips on a collapsible. Phillips subsequently dies, and Bride lets him slip into the water. Was this just dramatic effect, or did Phillips actually make it on to a collapsible?
-There was a REALLY BAD made for TV movie (Titanic mini-series) in which "Alice Cleaver" was a nanny for the Alison family of Montreal. The wrong Alice Cleaver (Mary Alice) was portrayed, but the real Alice Cleaver (Alice Mary) did save the life of Trevor Alison. Did the producers of this mini-series ever hear anything from the real Alice Cleaver's family about the inaccurate portrayal?
-Did E.J. Smith really begin his career at sea as a cabin boy? Those cabin-boy-to-Captain stories are pretty rare!

Just a few of my movie questions, Bob, and thanks for reminding me where I was!

Side note: You sound luckier than I was in your teaching field! Adults!!...I'm jealous. Yes - English (British) Literature.

"The drought of Marche hath pierced to the roote..."
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Well, Mary, to be more specific this thread is for discussions about the film 'Atlantic', but we're getting there!
smile.gif


Fred Fleet's evidence:
US Senate Inquiry: He just asked me what did I see. I told him an iceberg right ahead.
British Inquiry: Then they said, "What do you see?" I said, "Iceberg right ahead".

You can get plenty of answers about the orchestra right here - look for the link on the ET home page (centre column).

Phillips - there's no short answer. Suffice it to say that that the balance of evidence is against the notion that he was on the boat.

Guggenheim's mistress Mme Aubart escaped in a lifeboat with her maid. She's not in the films, but neither are over 2,000 others. No film could feature everybody, especially those whose real actions and words are not on record.

Mrs Strauss' full name was Rosalie Ida Strauss, but I can't recall what name was used in ANTR.

Alice Cleaver - The family were concerned about the inaccurate portrayal in Don Lynch's book, but I don't know what dealings (if any) they had with the film company.

Captain Smith: Sorry, only 6 questions per customer! And they must be about films. But I don't know the answer anyway. :)

And no, I've never met Bill McQuitty. Or anyone else connected with the film. Wouldn't mind meeting Honor Blackman!

You have now reached and exceeded your limit for questions today.
smile.gif
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
Bob - I've tried twice to post a reply, and I'm not sure why it's not going through. Believe me - I had a couple of legitimate replies about "Rachael" and "cabin boy" pertaining to movies! But, I will take your advice and ask no further questions today.

Signed, Honor and Sean
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
Keep that smile! I actually learned in the 7th grade (100 years ago) that there are things like TIME ZONES! (I learned other things, as well, but you would have to log onto my TEEN ANGST website to discover them).

But - Hopefully, I do have some legitimate questions and observations, and I thank you and others for recognizing them.