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Unhappily married and uncomfortable with life among the British upper crust, Julia Sturges takes her two children and boards the Titanic headed for the United States...
For more about Titanic and the Titanic Blu-ray release, see Titanic Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on September 4, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Jean Negulesco
Writers: Charles Brackett, Walter Reisch, Richard L. Breen
Starring: Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Wagner, Audrey Dalton, Thelma Ritter, Brian Aherne
» See full cast & crew
Titanic Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, September 4, 2013
Winner of Oscar Award for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay, Jean Negulesco's "Titanic" (1953) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The supplemental features on the disc include two audio commentaries, one by film critic Richard Schickel, and another by cinematographer Michael D. Lonzo, actors Audrey Dalton and Robert Wagner, and historian Sylvia Stoddard; original theatrical trailer; audio essay by historian Sylvia Stoddard; collection of stills from the shooting of the film; and more. In English, with optional English SDH, Spanish, French, Spanish (Castellano), Dutch, German, and Italian subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
Julia (Barbara Stanwyck, Sorry, Wrong Number, Double Indemnity) is heading back to America together with her daughter Annette (Audrey Dalton, The Monster That Challenged the World) and son Norman (Harper Carter) because she has had enough of her snobbish husband Richard (Clifton Webb, Laura, The Razor's Edge). She stills loves him, but he has changed, and for a while now he has also been trying to change their children. Julia is convinced that in America Annette and Norman will have simpler but more satisfying lives.
Having discovered Julia's plan, Richard has managed to purchase a ticket to get on the Titanic. The ticket has the name of a man who would have traveled third class.
Also heading to America is a man of the cloth (Richard Basehart, Moby Dick), who for the last couple of years has lived in Italy. He is bringing bad news to his family and relatives and even though the journey back home hasn't even started yet he already feels incredibly nervous. The man has started drinking.
Once on the Titanic, Richard quickly locates and confronts Julia. He lets her know that he is enormously disappointed to see her run away from him and angry because she is taking Annette and Norman with her. He attempts to explain her decision only further upsets him and he vows to keep both with him. When Annette appears she is shocked to learn about her mother's plan and quickly announces that her home will always be Paris, not Michigan, where her mother is taking her and Norman.
Meanwhile, the wealthy guests of the Titanic gather in the ball room to entertain each other – they eat, drink, dance and play cards.
While wandering around the Titanic, Annette is approached by a young and handsome man, Giff (Robert Wagner, The Mountain), who later on invites her to dance with him. Annette enjoys his attention, but she cannot stop thinking about her mother's plan.
Norman, who has been hoping that his father will keep his promise and participate with him in an important competition, is enormously disappointed when Richard suddenly changes his mind and instead chooses to join a group of poker players.
Jean Negulesco's Titanic has little in common with Roy Ward Baker's A Night to Remember. The two films chronicle the same tragedy, but view the events leading to it from entirely different points of view.
In A Night to Remember there are no stars. The film relies on well documented facts and follows various characters whose decisions determined the fate of the ship and its passengers. The film is completely free of melodrama, often reminding about a well researched documentary feature.
Titanic is a good character-driven drama which aims to entertain as much, if not more, as it aims to educate. In it, there are imaginary conflicts, triumphs and failures that are effectively merged with the legendary tragedy. Naturally, the focus of attention is on the actions of the stars.
Stanwyck and Webb are excellent in their respective roles. The latter's transformation halfway through the film, in particular, is outstanding, though his actions are obviously impossible to justify. It is worth mentioning that even though his relationship with Stanwyck becomes very tense he never goes overboard with the angry statements. The young Wagner and Dalton also look great together.
Titanic was lensed by acclaimed cinematographer Joseph MacDonald, who during the same year also collaborated with Negulesco on his How to Marry a Millionaire, with Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall.
Note: In 1953, Titanic won Oscar Award for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay (Charles Brackett, Walter Reisch, and Richard L. Breen).
Titanic Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.34:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Jean Negulesco's Titanic arrives on Blu-ray courtesy Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
The high-definition transfer is identical to the one Twentieth Century Fox-UK use for their Blu-ray release - and this is certainly very good news. Generally speaking, image depth and clarity are consistently very pleasing. The footage from inside the ship, in particular, looks quite wonderful. Contrast levels are stable. The blacks, whites, and the wide range of grays are also well balanced (there are no boosting issues). There are no traces of problematic degraining corrections. Sharpening adjustments have not been performed either. Unsurprisingly, the film has a very solid organic look. This said, select sequences look marginally softer, but these sporadic fluctuations are clearly inherited (see screencapture #13 is from one such example). Lastly, there are no serious stability issues to report in this review. All in all, this is a very pleasing organic presentation of Jean Negulesco's Titanic that should impress those of you who have previously seen the film on DVD as well as those of you who will experience it for the first time. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray release. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
Titanic Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are five standard tracks on this Blu-ray release: English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0, French Dolby Digital 1.0, German Dolby Digital 1.0, and Italian Dolby Digital 1.0. For the record, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has provided optional English SDH, Spanish, French, Spanish (Castellano), Dutch, German, and Italian subtitles for the main feature.
Overall dynamic intensity is rather limited, but this should not be surprising considering the film's age. Depth and clarity, however, are very good. As it was the case with the original lossless track on the UK release, some extremely light background is occasionally felt. Its presence, however, is never distracting. For the record, there are no audio dropouts or distortions to report in this review.
Titanic Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Titanic Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Twentieth Century Fox released Jean Negulesco's Titanic on Blu-ray in the United States after the film appeared on Blu-ray in Europe, but this North American release is identical to the one sold on the other side of the Atlantic. I think that this is great news because the film looks and sounds very good. Like Roy Ward Baker's A Night to Remember, Titanic is well worth owning on Blu-ray. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Titanic Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Two Titanic Classics: A Night to Remember and Titanic, Behind the... - April 3, 2012
1912, long remembered when the ship Titanic hit an Iceberg. Within a short time it sank to the bottom of the ocean, killing over a thousand people. Two Titanic films from the 1950's make it to Blu-ray. Rank Organization's A Night to Remember and Fox's Titanic. ...
• Titanic (1953) - January 18, 2012
In April, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will bring the 1953 screen depiction of the Titanic disaster to Blu-ray. Clifton Webb (Stars and Stripes Forever) and Barbara Stanwyck (Double Indemnity) star as an estranged married couple whose intimate struggles ...
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