I’m fresh from seeing a very strange movie offered on Filmstruck. It’s called Titanic, it is indeed another film about the sinking, the difference being that it was made in 1942 under Hitler’s regime and all the characters speak German. The movie elevates English greed and bumbling to great heights, and the lone voice protesting it is (totally fictional) First Officer Pederson, the only German on board, who keeps urging the stupid owner and the stupid captain to slow down because if we hit an iceberg at this speed then oh the humanity. Production notes: the film was conceived and driven forward by Goebbels despite the enormous costs as a great propaganda vehicle. Partway through the filming the director, Herbert Selpin, criticized something about the regime so Goebbels had him killed. Somebody else came in to finish filming a traumatized cast. When the thing was finally ready,the Allies were bombing Germany so widely that Goebbels blocked its release on the theory that the public might be  demoralized by a movie full of death and panic when they were finding plenty of it at home.

But, to return to first principles, it’s watching characters like asshole John Jacob Astor and all his idiot English cohorts freaking in German that will stay with you. The sinking stuff (water pouring in etc.) is very well done.

 

Song of the Day: Norah Jones, Sinking Soon