Vital Signs

The Titanic 90's

Produced by James Cameron and Jon Landau
Directed by James Cameron
Screenplay by James Cameron
Released by Paramount and 20th Century Fox

The umpteenth movie about the sinking of the great ship finally meets modern standards. James Cameron's Academy Award-winning Titanic may be the "movie of the year," but it is just as dishonest, immoral, cowardly, vulgar, and historically ignorant as our own age is. The true story of the Titanic is the stuff of tragedy (in the Greek sense), heroism, and history. So Hollywood has decided to skip it; the young wouldn't understand. Instead, we are given a three-hour melodrama of post-adolescent lust, combining the philosophical depth of 1970's Love Story ("Love means never having to say you're sorry") with the epic grandeur of a lemming migration.

Some older people might remember the elegant, 1953 Barbara Stanwick-Clifton Webb drama of the same name, which provided a moving love/hate story, with surprising twists and sparkling dialogue, ending in self-sacrifice and transcendent glory, while never forgetting the saga of the sinking ship. Florence King accurately predicted that Hollywood would never again permit such a film with its powerful ending, because "If I can respond emotionally to a full throated rendition of 'Nearer My God To Thee' with every atheistic...

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