Strong, well-acted "Titanic" drama
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 02/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The 1996 Hallmark miniseries of TITANIC was unfortunate in that it ended up being largely overshadowed by James Cameron's 1997 big-screen blockbuster (by the time the miniseries was aired in the UK and Australia, James Cameron's version had well and truly exploded onto the scene). This was a pity, as the Hallmark version has many things in it's favour.
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Peter Gallagher head a star-studded international cast, and the adaptation succeeds in blending five different stories into the narrative. Perhaps most importantly this version depicts a real-life passenger called Alice Cleaver (played by Felicity Waterman) who attempted to kidnap the baby of her employers when the boat began to sink (leaving the family to search for the child until all the lifeboats had departed, thus sealing their fate).
At the time of this miniseries, Catherine Zeta-Jones was at the cusp of Hollywood superstardom. She looks ravishing as Isabella Paradine, who rekindles an affair with her first beau Wynn Park (Peter Gallagher). Also in this miniseries, we meet in greater detail John Jacob Astor (Scott Hylands) and his pregnant young second wife Madeline (Janne Mortil). The affair of Astor and Madeline was one of the biggest scandals of the period and it's great to have them as prominent characters in this version. The younger romance is provided by thief Jamie (Mike Doyle) and Danish convert Aase (Sonsee Neu-Ahray).
No version of TITANIC would be complete without the ebullient and "unsinkable" Molly Brown (Marilu Henner plays her with enough spirit and spunk to make Debbie Reynolds proud and Kathy Bates pale). And the villain of the piece is thieving steward Simon Doonan (performed with oily relish by Tim Curry). A flavour of classic Hollywood is provided by George C. Scott as the Captain and Eva Marie Saint as the selfish Hazel Foley.
The romance of Bella (Zeta-Jones) and Wynn (Gallagher) is a captivating and moving one, played with style and elegance, and I consider it far more effective than the romance in the James Cameron spectacle. True, the special effects are lacking in this version but the dramatics and acting more than compensate. A fantastic production and one I revisit often. Originally shown in two parts. With Tamsin Kelsey, Eric Keenleyside, Malcolm Stewart, Roger Rees, Harley Jane Kozak, Kevin Conway, Matt Hill and Barry Pepper."
Tells the story of the Titanic, Californian, and Carpathia
Robert Collyer | Toms River, New Jersey | 12/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It seems that not much attention has been paid to this film, perhaps because of its made-for-TV status. It is accurate and follows what is known about the tragedy. Unlike James Cameron's Titanic, for example, where the Californian is not mentioned and minimal reference is made to the rescue effort of the Carpathia, those aspects of the story are played-out here. This movie tells the story as it is historically known with regard to the non-response of the Californian's Captain, Stanley Lord. Also well told is the superb response of the Carpathia's Captain, Arthur Rostron, in making every effort to reach the stricken Titanic before she sank.( An effort which won the real-life Captain Rostron a Congressional Medal of Honor.) The subplots are good, though many are of course fictitious and some a bit melodramatic, with a focus on many people on board, not just two. Acting is first rate. George C. Scott is excellent as Captain Smith. This is not a high-budget special effects feast, but there is plenty to see. If you would like a modernized "A Night to Remember" this movie will suit. Highly watchable and recommended."
Kimberly | 02/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a Catherine Zeta-Jones fan and needed this movie to complete my collection. When I saw the movie on television, I cried my eyes out at the ending. Catherine Zeta-Jones gives a strong performance. This was also the role she was "found" in. Steven Speilberg saw her in this movie and then casted her in Mask of Zorro. This must say something. The movie is absolutely beautifully done. It surpasses the 1997 version by far. Peter Gallagher is amazing as her lover, and Tim Curry gives a deliciously evil performance. I would reccommend this movie 100%. This is one of my favorite movies, not just Catherine's, but of all time. If possible, get this movie!!!"
Kimberly | Michigan | 10/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was great! I think it is just as good, if not BETTER than the James Cameron version. It moves around more, it covers more ground. The James Cameron version focuses only on the two main characters, this version looks at the stories of several different characters. Also, this movie has actors, not movie stars. Using smaller name actors is always good, becuase I think it keeps the audience intrigued more. It's not like, "Oh, there's Leonardo." Plus, if you are a Catherine Zeta-Jones fan, you HAVE to see this, because this movie was really her big break. My advice is definitely see this movie."