Normandie PBS Show


John DeLoache

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Wednesday night while in a hotel in Charlotte, NC the PBS station there ran a one-hour show called Normandie which was basically the only known color film of the liner. It was shot by a french engineer working for CGT. It just happened to be shot in the last crossing September 28th 1939.

Does anyone know if this is available on video/DVD?
 

Jim Kalafus

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You can buy it from Amazon.fr under the title of Thalassa: a bord du Normandie. But it will not work in all DVD players.

>the only known color film of the liner.

There was a color film of the Rio cruise that I saw shown aboard the Norway, and fragments of it used in the Great Liners documentary. Nothing, however, to match the quality of this one.
 
May 9, 2001
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I saw a rebroadcast of this fantastic documentary on Sunday night. It was mezmerizing seeing all that color film of Normandie, New York, and Paris on the eve of WW2. Very moving and very sad to see the footage of Normandie's destruction.

I highly recommend this film to anyone who wonders what the classic age of liners was really like.

Yuri
 

Ryan Thompson

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Does anybody know if this special is available on DVD? I just joined Netflix and wanted to look it up.

Thanks,
Ryan
 
Apr 11, 2001
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There was a particularly good PBS film on tonight by a French passenger on the last westbound crossing. He was a real camera buff and the film was in color- running time, 45 minutes. It will be repeated this weekend and is not to be missed. I am not sure if it is the same film referred to above.
 
Apr 11, 2001
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This is all the TV guide has to say about it.

Normandie: A Legendary Liner
Thursday, August 30, 8:00pm

CHANNEL 24 (WEDH)Public Broadcasting
A history of the French ocean liner Normandie, which was the world's fastest ship when it was launched in 1932.

And the publicity release with all the info is here below in the link (which does work when cut and pasted into the browser)

http://www.aptonline.org/catalog.nsf/d99467fb7768584f85256db10052d22c/fafa002f4ed7c4de852571d8006d6c6b/$FILE/normandie.rtf
 

Jim Kalafus

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>I am not sure if it is the same film referred to above.

It was.

Also on TV within the last five days was a ghastly History Channel documentary repeating the same, tired, inane, canard about Lucky Luciano having the Normandie torched. However awful it was, (and it was awful, indeed) there was some beautiful color footage of Normandie I've never seen before.
 

Ryan Thompson

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COLOR footage of the Normandie? :-o I'd love to see that. Wow!

"There was a particularly good PBS film on tonight by a French passenger on the last westbound crossing. He was a real camera buff and the film was in color- running time, 45 minutes. It will be repeated this weekend and is not to be missed. I am not sure if it is the same film referred to above."

I'd love to see that special. I watch Oregon's PBS pretty often but I've never seen anything like that one it.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Also on TV within the last five days was a ghastly History Channel documentary repeating the same, tired, inane, canard about Lucky Luciano having the Normandie torched. <<

Huh???? How did that one get started?

The Normandie didn't need La Cosa Nostra's help to burn like fun. All it took was an absolute moron who thought doing hotwork while surrounded by highly flammable Kapok life preservers was a good idea!
 

Ryan Thompson

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I read one of the ship's engineers told the firefighters if they did something different, the ship would settle straight down if it sank, and could simply be refloated. He was more or less told it wasn't his job, and his proposal was ignored. What was that again? I forget the details.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>What was that again? I forget the details.<<

One of them told the fire department to open the doors on the port side to just let the firefighting water spill out. This advice was ignored and the extra topweight was enough to roll the ship on her side.
 

Jim Kalafus

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More than that. The fire department was ordered, by the Navy, to cease dumping water on to Normandie, but due to a variety of issues the bombardment by fireboat continued long beyond the point where it should have ceased. The question arose, on the spot, does the Navy take precedence over the NYFD in a case like this, or does NYFD take precendece over the Navy? Harvey Ardman goes into detail about this in his excellent, out of print, Normandie book.

So, I guess it is a draw. Had the doors been open, the prolonged and ineffective fire boat battle would not have been as immediately fatal, but on the other hand had the NYFD withdrawn the fireboats earlier in the game then opening the doors would not have been as crucial. And, had Normandie not been a firetrap above and beyond the kapok life preservers this would all be a moot point.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>but due to a variety of issues the bombardment by fireboat continued long beyond the point where it should have ceased. <<

Sounds like what it boils down to is miscommunications. It's amazing how often that happens and the price is invariably steep. Everything I ever read about this affair has all of the features of a Keystone Kops flick with all of the stupidity and none of the humour.
 

James Smith

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Ellen Douglas Williamson (niece of Titanic passengers Walter and Mahala Douglas) was working on NY Mayor LaGuardia's staff at the time the Normandie caught fire, and he actually took her car down to the waterfront when he heard the news. Williamson's book "When We Went First Class" touches on the jurisdictional dispute between LaGuardia and the Navy, Fire Department, and Port Authority that took place near the gangplank as Normandie burned.

--Jim
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Williamson's book "When We Went First Class" touches on the jurisdictional dispute between LaGuardia and the Navy, Fire Department, and Port Authority that took place near the gangplank as Normandie burned.<<

Talk about putting the cart before the horse! That strikes me as being as silly about who get's the seat of honour in the dining room when the house is on fire.
 

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