The Ile De France a Hollywood murder


Status
Not open for further replies.
Jan 7, 2002
2,446
39
243
Anyone happen to own a video of the 1960 film "The Last Voayage", starring Robert Stack, and the Ille De France? I found this to be a very entertaning film, and very realistic, as an actual liner was partially sunk. And this was no run of the mill liner- in her heyday, the Ille De France was rivaled only be the Normandie and the L'Atlantique when it came to French art deco splendor..She was also the main rescue ship at the site of the Andrea Doria sinking. The French were so insensed the scrappers leased the ship to a Hollywood film crew, her real name could not be used; so she was dubbed the "Clarendon" instead.

I cant really tell which interior shots were filmed on board- the dining room looks very different-


One heart wrenching scene was when the Ille's forward funnel crashed into the bridge, killing the captain.

Thge Ille must have undergone a massive overhall in her later years- gone were her 3 tall funnels, replaced with 2 shorter 'modern' ones. I wonder what sort of alterations were done to the interior?

Any other Ille De France buffs here?


The Ille De France wasnt by chance a sister ship of the Paris?

Seems the Ille was one of the few french liners that escaped from the ravages of fire....


regards

Tarn Stephanos
 

Erik Wood

Member
Aug 24, 2000
3,519
15
313
Tarn,

I do know the moving in which you speak. I happen to own a copy of it. The movie was fairly good from a technical point of view. It should the mind set of ocean liner ship captains. The engine shots are orginal and shot from the ship, as are 96% of the rest of the movie.

The poor Ille was actually sunk for the movie although it doesn't show it, and later raised and scrapped. There is a book called "Ocean Liners" by Robert Wall that has the entire story of her demise. The French where less then happy with the death of the Ille.

This book also details the ships life and has several wonderful exterior and interior photos.

Erik
 

Dave Hudson

Member
Apr 25, 2001
503
7
183
Tarn/fellow Ile de France fan,

I agree that it was a terrible sacrilege, but then again, I'm kinda happy it was made. If that film had never been shot, would there be any moving pictures of the Ile accessible to the public? The shots in that movie are historically priceless. We actually have 2 hours worth of footage ON BOARD the Ile! And even better, it's in COLOR!!! I wish more films like it had been made (Aquitania, Berengaria, or even Olympic). True, it was very sad and unfortunate that the movie had to involve her mutilation and eventual sinking, but then again, a less dramatic topic might not have caught the producers' attention. Now that we have that movie, volumes of technical information exists that would have otherwise been lost to history.

Re a sister for the Ile,

The Paris was not a sister, but definitely a running mate. The French were famous for not ever building sisterships. John Dahl Piaz (head of the company) once said, "Vivre ce n'est pas copier, c'est creer!" Which literally translates to "To live is not to copy, it is to create!" Every flagship the French built was a compilation of everything learned by her predecessors and improved on them in some way. They were true artists when it came to design and decor and geniuses when it came to marketing.

David
 

Erik Wood

Member
Aug 24, 2000
3,519
15
313
I sort of agree with David on this one. The movie was sad in the sense that there was no other use of the Ille when the movie was made.

The movie did have a lot of good interior shots as well as a few good exterior shots.

Erik
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
Boxer turned actor Georges Carpentier in a snapshot taken aboard the Ile de France in the 1920s.
87689.jpg
 
Jul 9, 2004
285
1
183
I recently saw "The Last Voyage" and... though the interior shots are a nice plus... the writing (in my opinion) stunk. The captain character is annoying ("We're ONLY sinking, let's not alarm the passengers by telling them" Do I see shades of Earthquake (1970's)?) and is not really acted well. No one ever seems to do anything when one of the lifeboats' ropes breaks and everyone falls into the sea... I guess everyone was too busy enjoying "The Last Buffet." The movie really doesn't have much of a storyline other than the fact that this is the "Last Voyage."

BTW... "Jill" is beyond annoying. Whiny brat. lol. :p

Special effects, though perhaps impressive, were unrealistic. A boiler explosion like the one shown would never have blown a perfectly shaped hole like that through all the decks of the ship - unless there was some large piece of equipment that was blown sky high. But there was never was one shown or talked about.

When the ship's funnel comes down - or actually how it comes down - it violates physics. I can't remember ever reading where a ship's funnel broke in half with a perfectly (Torch-cut) edge. It would have been better on their part if they had just undone any connections to the deck house and pushed it over, as that would have been what actually happened. I don't think the inclination of the deck was even enough for it to fall over.

It only adds insult to injury to hear the cheesy narration as the ship sinks. Blugh...

I think it was a shame and a disgrace to blow up, flood and destroy the Ile like that. I understand completely why the French Line sent Liberte to the scrappers more promptly than they had the Ile.

When it comes to the Ile herself - Her later interiors appear quite bland. Though, it appears they still had the original chairs in the dining salon. Most of the artwork/paneling (Including some panels from Normandie's smoking room in the first class salon.) were removed and covered over with these super-funky Indonesian mural things. Most all of the rooms seemed clinical - a little too sterile perhaps, but some of the lighting fixtures were interesting.

It's still a movie that I see and yearn to have been around when ships like the Ile were in their hey-day.

I'd like to be kind and rate it 4 out of 10 - but the corny narration makes me give it a 3, with bonus because it IS the Ile after all.
happy.gif
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
About Little Jill- I posted this a few days ago on the Funnel Flicks thread but will do a brief repeat- she appears in the Athenia based Twilight Zone episode 'Death Ship" (1963) and does not, in fact, survive the torpedoing.

I find the whole Dorothy Malone trapped plotline a trifle tasteless, since it was an almost literal retelling of what happened to Martha Peterson, who was not saved, aboard the Andrea Doria three years earlier, and I imagine that the producers read the lengthy story about the effort to save Mrs Peterson in Colliers magazine and said "Great Cinematic Potential. Lousy ending 'though, we'll have to change it."

I snickered at teh explosion coming out of the forward cargo hold for no reason other than to have an explosion come out of the forward cargo hold. I mean, what could possibly have exploded in there? The TNT the evil little troll Jill was smuggling in her baggage, perhaps?
 
Jul 9, 2004
285
1
183
"she appears in the Athenia based Twilight Zone episode 'Death Ship" (1963) and does not, in fact, survive the torpedoing"

YAY!!!!

Oops... did I just say that?

Maybe it was little Jill that rigged the bingo game in the beginning of the movie so she could win... and maybe she wedged her dolly into the tubes of the boiler to make it blow up!

Dorothy Malone actually realized she had a bad case of indigestion and needed the worlds largest glass of Alka-Seltzer... so she had Jill sink the ship... unfortunately she couldn't find the Alka-Seltzer... because her husband put it in the forward hold. (Under explosive pressure... and a chemical cocktail suitable for a hydrogen explosion for effect.) So she just sat under the girder and gurgled.
happy.gif


I read the Peterson story in a copy of "Saved!" that I got at a local library book sale for a dollar... It may not be THE best book on Andrea Doria... but it makes good reading.
 
Aug 29, 2000
4,562
28
323
I just had a look at the International Movie Data Base to see what further glories followed Little Jill. Looks like not much after The Last Voyage, but I do remember her in My Three Sons as Ernie's love interest, the same year, 1960. Thankfully Ernie was spared! http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0547384/
Where is she now!?
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
I think 'Jill' owed a lot to Rhoda Penmark of Bad Seed fame. She may very well have rigged the bingo game and the explosions, only to see her plans of toppling her father into the gaping pit and drowning her mother slowly by inches foiled by the inopportune arrival of Woody Strode. Seriously, my least favorite sequence in any shipwreck movie (other than, perhaps, the jaw droppingly stupid moment where 'Rose' looks at 'Jack' and says "this is where we met" moments before the Titanic sinks) is the LOOOONNNNGGGG scene in which Jil acts and acts and acts before being hauled off to the lifeboat (every step of the way being shown) and then escapes back to the cabin for one last bout of acting and acting and acting. Painfuil to watch, but one realises after watching it that when Dorothy Malone reaches for the shard of glass she is not afraid of dying- she is afraid of being saved and returning to THAT family.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
I'LL SECOND THAT: Just rewatched part of Last Voyage. A classic line I've missed all these years hit me like a sledgehammer- "Jill" is running for the cabin having made her dramatic escape from the lifeboat. As she dashes down the hall, away from the camera, Woody Strode yells to her "DON'T GO TO THE CABIN! Your mother's in there. She's suffered enough!'" Amen to that.
 
Aug 29, 2000
4,562
28
323
I just googled the film by title and found that George Sanders was so nervous about the conditions during shooting that he had two square "portholes" cut into his cabin in case he had to make an emergency exit. Some other reviews are hailing the film as the precurser to Poseidon Adventure, and one site said it had a nomination at Oscar time for effects- well why not- it WAS a sinking ship!
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
Tammy Marihugh update. Tammy was thrust into the public spotlight in 1958 when she won the Howdy Doody Show's "Smile Contest." She was sent on tour with Clarabelle The Clown, and their triumphant return episode "Tammy Returns" is available on video. Her Desilu audition film from roughgly the same time is available on the Rhino video "TV Turkeys" and is a have-to-see-it-to-believe-it work of art. She sings. She converses. She does a scene from the Bad Seed.
happy.gif
(Yes, really) She relates the tragic tale of leaving the gate open and having her dog get run over. You want to laugh but at the same time feel angry at whomever it was that put this less than gifted child up to the audition. Like many a supernova she shone brightly for a year or two and then faded, leaving only the glow of her two major films in which to bask.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
HOLLYWOOD MURDER: Here is a ca. 1929 snapshot of Marion Davies, the hands down most publicised movie star of all time, aboard the Ile de France. Miss Davies had the distinction of being involved in TWO separate shootings, according to the rumor mill and the papers. Early on in her career she was the central figure in an 'alienation of affection' case gone bad, in which the wife shot her husband. The press referred to it as the "Marion Davies Murder" but the scandal did not 'stick' and she spoke about it decades later at great length in her audiotaped memoirs.
91194.jpg


Somewhat less well documented, but far better known today, was her so called involvement in the 'murder' of film producer Thomas Ince. It is fairly well established that Ince died of a heart attack following severe indigestion, but after a contradictory newspaper article appeared, the rumors began circulating that Ince had been a guest aboard the Hearst/Davies yacht Oneida, and had been accidentally shot by W.R. Hearst when he caught Marion, his mistress, in a compromising position with Charlie Chaplin. 79 years later that is the 'accepted' version of the story but is 99% likely to be garbage.

A third 'Marion Davies murder' was spoken of by Gloria Swanson in later years. According to Miss Swanson, she and Marion emerged from a suite in the Ambassador (Los Angeles) just in time to see a man pump several bullets into another man in the corridor. They ducked back into their suite and when they later enquired about the shooting were told, pointedly, "there WAS no shooting." And they were smart enough to leave it at that. Since Gloria Swanson was one of the most credible of the old stars (if one wants to read 'incredible' read Marion's' autobiography) in terms of stories which 'check out' when further researched, I tend to believe that there is an element of truth to that tale.

This photo may well have been taken at the time of her most notorious 'international incident.' I'm hazy on the exact details, but it went something like this: because of her stature as one of Hollywood's "biggest" stars, her incredible wealth and her association with Hearst, she found herself as the guest of a member of the French Government. As SHE told the story in the 1950s, she saw an open safe and some papers and thought it might be 'fun' to take a few of them. So, she hid them in her 'sissy britches' (her exact words, not mine) and turned them over to the Hearst organisation. The contents of the papers proved to be embarrassing to the French Government (I forget exactly what they were- I was so repulsed by the use of the term 'sissy britches' ca 1958 that I blacked out much of what followed) and a Hearst reporter eventually 'took the rap' for stealing them. I tend to think that Marion knew what to 'lift' from that office- probably at Hearst's request- simply because her "I thought it might be fun to steal a few of them' rationale was so inane.
 
Jul 9, 2004
285
1
183
LOL

I must say that photograph isn't really flattering to Davies... It makes her look more like Una Merkel. I'm hoping Normandie was never disgraced by having her (Davies, not Merkel) on board. It sounds like she was full of hot air - or liked to tell unlikely stories.

I won't comment on "sissy britches" other than to say that she seems the type to use words like that.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
Marion, as it turned out, was one of Hollywood's best liked figures despite her propensity for being around when people got shot
happy.gif
and one of the more diffiuclt tasks for a researcher is determining which Marion Davies stories are 'hot air' and which aren't.....the transcriptions from her audiotaped autobiography are frustrating because they lack nuance- on the page one cannot tell whether she was being wry and silly, or was dead serious when she told her occasionally inflated tales. Marion led the most extravagent Movie Star life of them all, with the biggest mansion (actually one large mansion and a complex of 4 smaller ones on the beach in Santa Monica- demolished 1956) largest cars and highest budgets possible. Because she was Hearst's mistress she also enjoyed a huge amount of uncritical publicity. I recall that some NYC intellectual, when seeing the stars over Hollywood for the first time, commented "I keep expecting them to rearrange and spell out 'Marion Davies.' " But, people who remember her recall that she had a great sense of humor and did not take her 'star' role seriously. In later years she collected NYC real estate and endowed at least one Children's Hospital in LA before her 1961 death.

Personally, I think she looks like executed 1920s 'Sex Tigress' Ruth Snyder in the unflattering photo.
 
Mar 29, 2008
1
0
71
The Ile de France made it's maiden voyage on June 22,1927. I have a family member, Victoria E. L. Wordelmann who died on this ship. Just 2 1/2 months after the first maiden voyage of the ship.

Miss Wordelmann and the group with which she had been associated had been studying at the Alliance Francaise and traveling through southern France, the party sailing for France July 2,1927.
On September 2,1927 the third day of her return voyage she suddenly became ill and died that evening in her cabin.
I am trying to find her death records to see what the reason was for her death. I was interested in finding out if she was the only person to die while on this ship? Any ideas?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Similar threads

Similar threads