Titanic - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Titanic Reviews

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Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
March 20, 2018
In director Jean Negulesco's 1953 version of Titanic, Clifton Webb plays an affluent man brimming with confidence and as we soon see, a touch of arrogance. He believes their children should continue to be raised in Europe, and his wife (Barbara Stanwyck) believes they should return to America to get a taste of more humble surroundings. The two are at odds with another, and it culminates in the film's best scene, her informing him that their boy is not his son, and then walking off with the door slowly closing. The scene later where she describes how it happened, and the frostiness of his reaction, is sad and chilling. We admire Webb's certainty and his understanding of just what to do in social situations, and we recoil in horror at the coldness of his feelings, and his disdain for the common man. He's an iceberg, on a ship destined to hit an iceberg.

Another nice moment is when Barbara Stanwyck reads the poem 'When I Was One-and-Twenty" by A.E. Housman to a young man played by Robert Wagner. Unfortunately, Wagner's character isn't all that likeable. He has a few comments to Stanwyck's daughter (Audrey Dalton) that may make you smile, such as "Never heard it before? Where have you been, locked up in some art gallery? Why, that's the hottest jig the kids do." However, he also has some musical performances between the 60 and 70 minute points of the film (pre-iceberg) that don't have the intended endearing effect, including a cringe-inducing performance of the "Navajo Rag", about how they dance down on the ol' reservation.

Richard Basehart is strong in his supporting role of priest who we find out has been defrocked because of his drinking, and his scene with Stanwyck on the deck at night, each lost in their own troubles, is a good one. However, the performance seems a bit wasted, as there's nowhere for the character to go, and the film ends up choosing a path high in schmaltz.

Unenviable comparisons to other Titanic movies aside (in particular Cameron's), the film fails most post-iceberg. Some of the right elements are there, including the hubris of a foolhardy increase in speed in order to impress the world in the first place, and the lack of enough lifeboats. The special effects are relatively brief but reasonably good for the time period. And of course, the moment is poignant, being a true story, and fate being so arbitrary. Stanwyck is said to have cried on set imagining the horror.

Perhaps one of the ways people have of coping with this is to create heroic characters. In this version, it just gets to be a little much, and the stories between Webb and Stanwyck, their little boy, Basehart, and Wagner all seem false. Similar accusations are leveled at other movies that I sometimes find myself defending, but I can't in this case, or at least, as much. It's an average movie, certainly watchable, but dated and without balance in the fictional part of its story.
February 17, 2018
Some good stuff here, but certainly dated.
September 2, 2017
Boring to watch not a fan of this one
½ May 17, 2017
I remember watching this movie and it was a long time ago since then I haven't watched it
February 19, 2016
Good, but Not Great -- New Version had Kate and Great Music
Super Reviewer
½ January 10, 2016
While not the darling of the new millennia, this version shines as a family drama involving (like Cameron's popular outing) class warfare. Dad (Webb) wants children to rise in social circles. Mom (Stanwyck) longs for the honesty of the lower classes (hey! did Cameron crib from here?!), but has a secret to tell Pop about that just might be hot enough to melt the iceberg coming up. But the stage for all this drama (as we all know) famously sinks. Will there be any resolution? While the film is as obvious as all get out, it is still entertaining.
Super Reviewer
½ April 16, 2015
From Twentieth Century-Fox comes Titanic, the first major motion picture about the Titanic disaster. The story follows a society couple that attempts to reconcile their estranged marriage on the maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic. Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck both give strong performances and have tremendous screen presence. Additionally, the writing (which won an Academy Award) is quite engaging. However, the film glosses over a lot of the actual people and events of the real sinking. Yet despite the lack of historical accuracy, Titanic is an especially well-made film that's dramatic and exciting.
½ March 1, 2015
Historically, periodically, and visually inaccurate from start to finish.
November 9, 2014
I like loved the Titanic movie it was the best movie I have ever seen.
July 23, 2014
Made in the days when men were men and movies were movies, Titanic (1953) is as enjoyable as it is to the point, without 3 hours of character building as seen in the Cameron version (1997). Clifton Webb is impressive, and Barbara Stanwyck was so devoted to her part with Robert Wagner that the two developed a romance that lasted 4 years. The plot is relevant in that the film centers around a family going through a crisis no more rare in 1912 than it would be today, and ends with a scene so heartbreaking I'll never forget it as long as I live.
½ April 22, 2014
A Beautiful film that illustrates the Titanic's voyage and fate.
January 13, 2014
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
January 5, 2014
I love this movie it is the best one in this whole entire galaxy's :-)
November 14, 2013
I didn't know there was a prequel
September 15, 2013
While it lacked the romance of the 1997 three-hour version, this was very compelling once the ship started to sink. It was moving at the end when the passengers sang. I guessed that this probably did not happen in real life as I'm sure nobody really would have been calm enough to sing faced with the prospect of dying in a freezing cold sea.
July 23, 2013
Watched this film many times saw this way before James Cameron's Version i felt this one had the story much more better and enjoyable seeing the Emotions of father and son and break up of the marriage they all played the parts very well the ending is quite sad might not have the Special Efforts of the new film but still is such a great movie and still a high fav of mine give it full stars
½ July 18, 2013
a total bore pretty much
June 18, 2013
Far more enthralling than James Cameron's overrated and over the top melodrama. The characters are fun to watch despite their flaws.
½ May 31, 2013
wasn't to crazy about it
March 17, 2013
Better than that Cameron debacle.
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