Titanic (1943), is a black and white film of Nazi Germany released in 1943. It is mainly a propaganda film against Great Britain.
Plot[edit | edit source]
The film opens with a proclamation to the White Star stockholders that the value of their stocks is falling. The president of White Star Line J. Bruce Ismay promises to reveal a secret during the maiden voyage of the Titanic that will change the fate of the stocks. He alone knows that the ship can break the world record in speed and believes this will raise the stock value. Ismay and the board of the White Star plan to lower the stocks by selling even their own stocks in order to buy them back at a lower price. They plan to buy them back just before the news about the record speed of the ship will be published to the press.
The issue of capitalism and the stock market plays a dominant role throughout the movie. The hero of the film is fictional German First Officer Herr Petersen (played by Hans Nielsen) on the ill-fated voyage of the British ocean liner R.M.S. Titanic in 1912. He begs the ship's rich, snobbish and sleazy owners to slow down the ship's speed, but they refuse and the Titanic hits an iceberg and sinks. The passengers in first class are shown to be sleazy cowards with Petersen, his recently impoverished Russian aristocrat ex-lover Sigrid Olinsky (Sybille Schmitz), and other German passengers in steerage are shown as brave and kind. Petersen manages to rescue many passengers, convince Sigrid to get into a lifeboat, and saves a young girl, who was obviously left to die in her cabin by an uncaring, callous British capitalist mother. In the ship's final death throes, Petersen leaps from the deck with the little girl still in his arms and is then pulled aboard Sigrid's lifeboat and the occupants watch in horror as the Titanic plunges beneath the waves. The film ends with the British Inquiry into the disaster, where Petersen testifies against Bruce Ismay, condemning his actions, but Ismay is cleared of all charges and the blame is placed squarely on the deceased Captain Smith's shoulders. The epilogue states that "the deaths of 1,500 people remain un-atoned, forever a testament of Britain's endless quest for profit."
Historical Characters[edit | edit source]
- Edward John Smith
- Joseph Bruce Ismay
- William McMaster Murdoch
- Charles Herbert Lightoller
- John George Phillips
- Harold Sydney Bride
- Frederick Fleet
- Robert Hichens
- John Jacob Astor IV
- Madeleine Talmadge Force Astor
Fictional characters[edit | edit source]
- Sigrid Olinsky
- Herr Petersen
- Lord Archibald Douglas
- Duchess of Canterville
- Prof. Bergmann
- Dr. Lorenz
- Cristobal Mendoz
- Franzl Guber
- Unnamed Girl Child
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- After one week of troubled shooting on the SS Cap Arcona, Herbert Selpin called a crisis meeting where he made unflattering comments about the Kriegsmarine officers, who were more concerned with getting drunk or molesting the female cast members rather than doing their job as marine consultants of the film. His close friend and co-writer of the script, Walter Zerlett-Olfenius, reported him to the Gestapo and Selpin was promptly arrested and personally questioned by Joseph Goebbels, who was the driving force behind the project. Selpin, however, did not retract his statement-something which infuriated Goebbels since the Propaganda Minister had placed his trust in Selpin to direct his propaganda epic. Selpin was found dead the next day, hanging in his cell. It is believed that Goebbels ordered his death and made it look like a suicide.
- For the remainder for the films production, Werner Klingler was hired to finish the film. And Goebbels made threats to the cast and crew if they retaliated against Zerlett-Olfenius and they were forbidden to mention Selpin by name.
- After seeing this film, Goebbels thought the scenes of mass panic were not appropriate viewing for Germans, who were then being subjected to British bombing. So he allowed only foreign release. Beginning in late 1949 Germans could see the film, but Allied occupation authorities forbade its showing in West Germany in 1950 because of its anti-British propaganda.
- The uncensored propaganda element was kept for the Soviets to show to Eastern German audiences, because of their anti-British and anti-American messages.
Factual errors[edit | edit source]
Due to Hitler's rise to power, the propaganda and the falsification of the facts of the tragedy, the film was full of Historical Inaccuracies solely for wanting to embarrass Great Britain for the tragedy of the Titanic
- The telegrams do not show the actual White Star Line logo.
- The stock manipulation effort that was central to this movie's plot would not have been possible as the White Star Line had been a wholly owned subsidiary of JP Morgan's International Mercantile Marine consortium since 1902 and would remain so till 1932 when the IMM was dissolved and her assets sold off.
- It is stated in the movie that the Titanic was the fastest liner in the world, and that she was traveling at 26 1/2 knots near the beginning of the voyage. The Titanic could only travel at 23 knots, and she never traveled at her top speed before her sinking. Besides this, the RMS Mauretania was capable of 27 knots, so 26 1/2 wouldn't have been enough to beat her.
- When Petersen is writing the logbook, the tour is named as 'Liverpool-New York'. But in fact, the voyage of the Titanic started in Southampton, not in Liverpool.
- White Star Line had given up trying to get the Blue Ribbon.
- When the iceberg is sighted, both its location in relation to the ship and the direction the ship is ordered to turn are incorrect.
- In a scene from the morning of April 14 (as established by a shot of a day calendar) one telegraph officer says to the other that the ship will be arriving in New York tomorrow, i.e. April 15. The Titanic wasn't due in New York until April 17.
- When shots of the Titanic are seen there is smoke coming from all 4 funnels. The real Titanic only used 3 funnels, the 4th being false.
- The iceberg that the Titanic hit was small in the film but the iceberg that the Titanic hit was larger.
- In the film when the lookout sees the iceberg he says "Ice! Ice to starboard" but the lookouts used a phone to tell about the iceberg not by talking.
- The Titanic band in the movie is much bigger than the original band. The actual music band on the Titanic had only 8 members.
- The Titanic did not have an alarm.
- The Titanic did not have a searchlight.
Set inaccuracies[edit | edit source]
- The Grand Staircase is more similar to that of the Britannic due to its rectangular appearance rather than circular.
Character errors[edit | edit source]
- Madeleine Astor was 18 years old to John Jacob Astor's 54, brunette and pregnant, not the older blonde portrayed in the film.
- Bruce Ismay was never married to a woman named Gloria. He was already married to Florence Schieffelin during the maiden voyage of the Titanic.
- First radio operator Jack Philipps was 24-25 years old during his duty on the Titanic, not 45 years, as portrayed in the movie.