Saving the Titanic / Heroes of the Titanic


Nov 13, 2014
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I watched the 2012 documentary "saving the Titanic" again, especially the last part starting from the dialogue between Barrett and Harvey just before the collision.
I think it's not a bad reconstruction, the creators have definitely done some necessary research on the subject.

The most important thing to remember when playing fact checker is that this documentary alternates between dramatization and Titanic. A nice example of this is given when Bell says to himself at 11:20 pm "22.5 knots, not a shiver." Cut to Barrett continuing to cut out a Titanic model from a coal chunk (did he really do that? Because I think he didn't).
When one decides to give these scenes a pass, you get a nice reconstruction of the events in the boiler and engine rooms with not too many historical errors.

If anyone has a different opinion, feel free to respond.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Let us see, we have "psycho" Barrett refusing to go to "his" place and instead taking a bunk among the firemen and became friend with Dillon. So much about the separation of the departments and watches. Ervine writing a letter on April 12 1912 to his mother (actually it was on April 11, so how did the letter got to his mother?) The "coal fire" was completely wrong. During the collision everyone is waiting while some rivets are thrown out. Barrett convince his friend Dillon to bring some lamps (despite both were at different compartments and so this did not happened). The loss of Boiler Room 5 is too late and Barrett had nothing better to do then to go to Boiler Room No. 4 (which he did not and was given up at 1.20 a.m.). Chief Bell seems to be everywhere only not in the engine room until the end where he try to contact the bridge with a speaking tube(!!!!) [he was reported to had been on deck by Dillon]. Dillon going though the different 1st class public rooms and got drunk [according to a newspaper he had some whiskey together with others in the 1st class smoking room] and several more nonsense I can not remember and do not want to remember.
 
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Nov 13, 2014
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Most of the scenes you mentioned are the non-historical scenes for dramatization purposes I was talking about. This includes but is not limited to:
  • "psycho Barrett" bunking with trimmers and firemen, and the fight with Bell after the loss of BR 5
  • the collision moment with Barrett, Harvey and everyone else in BR 6 glaring at first the small leaks, then a few rivets popped, then the gush of water. This moment really is the turning point in the timeline of the ship, so the writers must have thought "the more dramatic, the better"
  • Dillon going for lamps. I think this is some sort of shifting events to other characters. On the actual ship, it was Barrett who had to get some lanterns in BR 5 after the lights went out, only to see the lights are back on when he has returned. That shifted to Dillon.
  • Bell's speaking tube at the end. It's more dramatic like this, but why not just use the telephone?
I do agree on some other scenes, those were intended to be historically accurate, but weren't.
  • The loss of BR 5 is too late. They could have placed it at the correct time without loss of drama.
  • The engine orders. The "astern" order came before or during the collision, not at 11:45. The "ahead" order is placed correct though.
  • Replacing Hesketh by Harvey. However, they got most of the rest considering Harvey right: he was talking with Barrett at the time of the collision (when replacing Hesketh); he handles the pumps in BR 5 with Barrett & Sheperd, and the way he died is exactly like Barrett described in the US Inquiry.
The reconstruction is not perfect, but it's not as bad as it may seem. At the beginning of the movie, there is a disclaimer which clearly says the events are dramatized, but still based on survivor accounts (mostly on Barrett and Dillon). One who keeps this in mind will also see the many things they got right.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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  • The engine orders. The "astern" order came before or during the collision, not at 11:45. The "ahead" order is placed correct though.

The astern order came after the collision.

  • Replacing Hesketh by Harvey. However, they got most of the rest considering Harvey right: he was talking with Barrett at the time of the collision (when replacing Hesketh); he handles the pumps in BR 5 with Barrett & Sheperd, and the way he died is exactly like Barrett described in the US Inquiry.

Barrett did not mentioned anything of it at the US Inquiry (to be more correct when Senator Smith was aboard Olympic). It was at the British Inquiry and no word from Barrett that Shepherd "died" there or that way and actually there are reports that Shephered was carried aft.
 
Nov 13, 2014
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The astern order came after the collision.
OK, but then it must have come directly after the collision, not at 11:45 as the reconstruction says.

Barrett did not mentioned anything of it [Harvey's death] at the US Inquiry (to be more correct when Senator Smith was aboard Olympic).
I thought I read something on another thread about two different stories Barrett gave about Harvey's death, but I failed to retrieve said thread. Anyway, Harvey's death is described the same way in ANTR as the reconstruction shows. Where did Walter Lord get that from?
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Anyway, Harvey's death is described the same way in ANTR as the reconstruction shows. Where did Walter Lord get that from?

I do not know where Walter Lord got that from, possibly from other crew members like Kemish. Barrett did not see Harvey&Shepherd (who broke his leg) died and at the British Inquiry he said that Harvey told him to go up when water enters BR 5 (it could not have been much water) which he did and did not look back. Quite possible Walter Lord "read" between the words that they died. In a newspaper Barrett mentioned that preparations were done to bring Shepherd on deck, while two other crew members (one was Threlfall) mentioned that Shepherd was carried aft.
 

Arun Vajpey

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The only interesting thing that I found in an otherwise poorly made documentary "Saving The Titanic" is the character of William Kelly of the Engineering crew. As I mentioned in another thread, I wondered if there really was an anti-Catholic prejudice in general among the largely Protestant crew and against Kelly in particular.
 
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Ryan Burns

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These lifebelts....what the hell?

QkMoLt7.jpg
 

Seumas

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Are there two different cuts of this TV film ?

The only one I've viewed was 89 minutes long.

However, IMDB has a running time of 104 minutes listed.

Can anyone help me out ?
 

Tim Aldrich

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I watched this film again and, aside from the large amount of supposition, saw one little mistake(?) that sticks in my head. The reciprocating engine room scene during the departure from Southampton we see Chief Engineer Bell looking over one of the engines and he says "Open the regulating valve, let steam into the high pressure cylinder!"

The engines were already running. Unless I'm sorely mistaken, the steam path is High pressure cylinder, intermediate pressure cylinder and then the low pressure cylinders. Given the rest of the film I would think that assuming the engines would run, or even had the ability to run, with steam not going to the high pressure cylinders first is a mistake. Apparently they didn't have a mechanic on the research staff.

That said I do enjoy watching the film as it gives the engineering crew some much needed screen time. I think they also made good use of the engines at the Kempton Park Waterworks.
 
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Tim Gerard

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Overall I enjoyed this docudrama. Although I keep thinking that it would've been nice for them to show how Dillon survived (I know how he survived, but it would've been more dramatic than the fight scene in the firemen's mess), and I would've liked to see how Barrett got into the lifeboat and then cut the falls to get No. 13 clear just as No. 15 was coming down on top of it.
 

Cam Houseman

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The only interesting thing that I found in an otherwise poorly made documentary "Saving The Titanic" is the character of William Kelly of the Engineering crew. As I mentioned in another thread, I wondered if there really was an anti-Catholic prejudice in general among the largely Protestant crew and against Kelly in particular.
It was a little ADHD (same) going from Barrett refusin a good place to sleep to him being shown another man's naked wife
 

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