This is a version of Titanic done by Nazi Germany that was completed in 1943. By the late 1930’s films in Nazi Germany became nasty and very anti-Semitic. I saw a small example in Marcel Ophüls documentary The Sorrow And The Pity about the Vichy regime in France. It was stomach turning. However, this movie is a breed apart from those films and that’s why Turner Classic Movies showed it and I recorded it.
Before I talk about the film there is a little back story. The film was originally being directed by Herbert Selpin until he made some comments that he shouldn’t have. He was taken away and later found dead in a prison cell. Werner Klingler was brought in to finish the film, which he did. However, Goebbels, the head of propaganda in Nazi Germany, realized that maybe it wasn’t the smartest idea to release a film about a bunch of people dying considering this was Nazi Germany and it was 1943. I mean it’s not exactly a morale booster. So the film was shelved and presumed lost until it was found fairly recently.
The film is composed of two parts. First, the propaganda and second the actual story of the Titanic. The propaganda in the film is basically that the British built this ship poorly and it’s their greed that caused the deaths while the Germans who were on board tried to do the right things to save lives, but it was all in vain. All in all this part is rather comical. A lot of what the film says about the British is spot on, but then they leave out the good things about them and play themselves up as saints.
The president of the White Star Line justifying to a German officer why the ship should be going so fast.
The captain talking to the president of the White Star Line.
The condemnation of the British at the end of the film.
The rest of the film though is actually a pretty good telling of the Titanic story. Who would have thought? The major plot points are there. The costumes, the sets, the effects, even the acting is fairly good.
I recommend this film as a historical curiosity.