nominated for best picture and best art direction, black and white, Chas. Brackett, Walter Reich, and Richard Breen brought home the oscar for Best Screenpay in 1953. Titanic evokes an emotional response way beyond the remake by Cameron. Filming in black and white somehow emphasizes the imminant, inevitable death of thousands of people. There's no distraction from the tragic theme by bright and bouncy colourful moments.
There is no background music throughout the film, therefore when the ship starts to sink the eerie sound of the 'abandon ship' horn is riviting. adding the ships's band playing 'nearer my god to thee' while the men left behind bravely go down w/ the ship creates a feeling of loss that is unexplainable here. That great star Barbara Stanwick shared in the accompanying booklet that while filming the scenes where the passengers were fleeing the sinking ship 'It was bittercold. I was 47 feet up in the air in a lifeboat ... the water below was agitated. We were re-creating an actual tragedy and I burst into tears. I shook w/ great racking sobs and couldn't stop.' I,too, cry every time i watch this story. I also admire the superlative acting by Stanwick, Webber, Thelma Ritter, Robert Wagner and a cast of hundreds.
This is not a complicated epic like the 1996 version. It is a simple story of a family. Julia Sturges (Barbara Stanwick), determinded to rescue her son and daughter from the pointless life created for them by her rich, socialite husband, sails on the RMS Titanic from England planning to resettle her children in America. Her husband (Clifton Webb) joins them in an attempt to foil her plan. When fate intercedes Julia comes face to face w/ the all to frail nature of humanity.
While fictionalized several real passengers, ie., molly brown, aster, guiggenheim, and the touching moment when (darn i forgot her name)refuses to leave her husband of 50 years and enter a lifeboat, and of course the cowardly man who disguises himself as a woman and survives. months later, ostracized by society he commits suicide.
Don't try to compare the 1953 flick w/ the later one -- all they have in common is the title 'Titanic'.
There are heaps of featurettes, documentaries, filmographies and special features, but i didn't watch them. 98. min. English stereo. English, Spanish subtitles. Directed by jean Negulesco.