Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Mask of Zorro)
George C. Scott (Patton)
Peter Gallagher (New Girl)
Eve Marie Saint (Superman Returns)
Tin Curry (IT)
Roger Rees (The Scorpion King)
Marilu Henner (L.A. Story)
Mike Doyle (Green Lantern)
Harley Jane Kozak (Arachnophobia)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
Kevin McNulty (Fantastic Four)
Kavan Smith (Stargate: Atlantis)
Barry Pepper (The Green Mile)
Gerard Plunkett (Sucker Punch)
Molly Parker (The Wicker Man)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Aaron Pearl (Man of Steel)
Ron Halder (Stargate SG.1)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
John Tench (Watchmen)
Titanic follows three main story threads. Isabella Paradine is traveling on the Titanic to join her husband after attending her aunt’s funeral in England. On the Titanic, she meets Wynn Park, her former lover. She falls in love with him again, and after a brief affair, she sends her husband a wireless saying they cannot be together anymore (despite their daughter). When the ship starts sinking, Isabella reluctantly leaves Wynn when he forces her to board a lifeboat. As the boat is lowered, Isabella confesses a long kept secret that her daughter Claire is actually Wynn’s. Later on board the RMS Carpathia she is grief-stricken when she finds Wynn’s lifeless body on deck, having died of hypothermia, but luckily, when the Carpathia reaches New York she is reunited with her family who are blissfully unaware of Isabella’s tryst because the telegram was never sent out due to the sinking.
Also in first class is the Allison family, a family travelling on the Titanic, returning home to Montreal with their two small children and new nurse, Alice Cleaver. They gradually become wary and suspicious of her hysterical and neurotic behavior. Later on, a fellow maid asks her if she’d seen her in Cairo the previous month, but soon realizes that she remembers her from the highly publicized trial where Alice was accused of throwing her baby off a train. When the Titanic starts sinking, Alice Cleaver panics and quickly boards a lifeboat with Trevor, the Allisons’ infant son. The parents with their small daughter are unaware that the baby is safe and refuse to leave the ship without him, which in the end costs them their lives.
In third class, a young vagrant named Jamie Perse steals a ticket to get on board. He manages to become friends with one of the crewmen, Simon Doonan, who is also a robber, but later is revealed to be a much more violent and callous criminal than Jamie. The young man falls in love with Aase (pronounced “Osa”) Ludvigsen, a recent Christian convert and missionary. On the night of the sinking, Aase is brutally raped and beaten by Doonan, causing her to lose her faith and will to live, but Jamie manages to get her into Isabella’s boat. Unbeknownst to them, Doonan also sneaks aboard that same boat, disguised as an old woman. After the ship sinks, Aase is knocked off the lifeboat by Doonan after she recognizes him, and he attempts to hold the passengers in the boat hostage at gunpoint, but Officer Lowe, who is in charge of the boat, hits Doonan in the head with a paddle, snapping his neck and killing him. Jamie himself manages to survive when he accidentally falls into one of the last lifeboats before the Titanic sinks. He subsequently atones for his past life after he finds Aase in the makeshift hospital aboard the Carpathia. In the end, upon arriving in New York, the two plan to start a new life together.This made-for-TV version of the famous disaster actually stands up fairly well against its $200 million James Cameron counterpart. The effects are good – and in a few cases even on par with Cameron’s version. Indeed, watching the two films back to back, you might be surprised at the similarities between the two versions, at least during some key moments. Both have steerage party scenes, for instance. The cast is generally strong too, particularly Catherine Zeta Jones in one of her first lead performances, and George C. Scott as Capt. Smith. But where Titanic (1996) hits all the wrong notes is in a poorly conceived subplot involving a crooked crewmember (Tim Curry). His character doesn’t really belong here, and his villainous actions get to be quite shocking near the end … it takes away from the human drama of the doomed people on the ship and actually comes close to ruining the movie (though no fault of actor Tim Curry, who turns in a great performance). If you only have time to see one super-long movie based on the disaster, see the Cameron film – if you’ve got time to see two, this one is worth a look.