The 1912 sinking of the luxury liner Titanic is used as a backdrop for a several fictional subplots, chief of which involves snooty socialite Clifton Webb and his wife Barbara Stanwyck. Stanwyck has booked passage on the ill-fated passenger ship with her daughter (Audrey Dalton) and son (Harper Carter), leaving Webb far behind. Webb manages to board the ship at the last minute, and discovers that Stanwyck plans to divorce him; she further informs him that he is not the father of their son. When the Titanic sideswipes an iceberg and begins its slow descent in the Atlantic, the women and children are put on the lifeboats while the men stay behind to face death (except for cowardly cardsharp Allyn Joslyn, who disguises himself as a woman). The formerly class-conscious Webb acts with conspicuous bravery, seeing to it that several steerage passengers are ushered to safety. He is reunited with his son, who has given up his lifeboat seat to an elderly woman. All misunderstandings swept aside, Webb and his son face their final moments on earth together. In the film's best moment, a miniature recreation of the Titanic is seen sinking beneath the waves as the survivors watch from their lifeboats in numb horror. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Titanic
Though Stanwyck and Clifton Webb make for an unlikely married couple, this b/w Oscar-winning 1953 melodrama about the sinking of the famous liner is worth seeing.
Not as big as James Cameron's computer-generated bonanza, but it's nonetheless impressive.
Exciting, well-acted version of the infamous voyage
Manages to tell its tale in a compact 98 minutes. That's nearly 100 minutes less than it took James Cameron, and there's something to be said for that.
...a good motion picture despite its shallow, often sentimental overtones.
Audience Reviews for Titanic
I saw this version of 'Titanic' after I saw the James Cameron version. It is much more subdued - and displays the men of the Titanic as much more heroic than the later version.More
Compelling, far better than the most recent version. Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck are outstanding as a wealthy couple whose marriage is disintegrating and the love story is sweet and unlike the other version makes sense since both characters are from the same class as would be natural at that time. The ending is heart rending.More
Titanic from 1953 starring the great Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb is a true gem. This is another telling of the ill fated ship focusing this time on an older couple whom are divorcing and having to deal with skeletons in the closet. A very well done Fox film worthy seeing.More
the 1953 "titanic" is based upon the interactions of human drama in spite of its technical inaccuracy for the shipwreck event. barbara stanwyck glows radiantly again as a troubled matron with marital discord. and thelma ritter finally grasps a chance to emit some scale of elegance as the society woman which is different from the spunky servant role she has taken all along her career, such as "rear window", "all about eve" and "a letter to three wives"...etc.
stanwyck plays the american spouse of some meticulous british gentleman(clifton webb) who deems his sacred british courtesies as his supreme duty but stanwyck just wanna revitalize her life in her simple primitive american lifestyle with her children. accidentally she reveals the illict birth of their precious son in the rage of feuds so her wronged husband decides to nullify his kinmanship with his "alleged" only son....meanwhile her daughter casts some generous eye upon a naive american country boy...this is the main thread to web the mutiple relationships in this flick. and there's also an alcoholic priest who gets banished by church. various characters have their own issues of status conflicts and irreconciled disorientations....but the sudden unexpected catastrope of titanic dissolves their grudges against each other to sublime themselves into another level of compassion and sheer love thru the course of sacrifice and breavements.
the mostly touching line would be clifton webb's iceberg man who melts into tenderness at the scene he fogives his wife's infidelty by saying "at that june i saw you, you're so fair that i vowed my pledge to you forever...would you do me a favor by allowing me to do it now again?"...and the puberty son's determinated to stay with his father to die together just to perform his male obligation since his dad just buys a pair of trousers to encourage his manhood.
men gallantly yields the lifeboats to their beloved women, reciting the solemn hymn when the giant ship of titanic is sinking. no sappiness to glorify the remained survivors but just a tranquil affair of natural disaster which inspires the noble spirit of a bunch of flawed individuals who eventually seek peace in the cartharsis of selfless devotions. there's no grandeur scenes to flaunt the extravaganza of titanic or any detailed sensationalism on the shipwreck. tastefully understated in a humanistic way.
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