Atlantic
Theatrical release poster
Directed byEwald André Dupont
Written byVictor Kendall
Based onThe Berg by Ernest Raymond
Produced byEwald André Dupont
John Maxwell
James Scura
StarringFranklin Dyall
Madeleine Carroll
CinematographyCharles Rosher
Edited byEmile de Ruelle
Music byJohn Reynders
Color processBlack and white
Production
company
Distributed byWardour Films (UK)
Columbia Pictures (US)
Release date
  • 15 November 1929 (1929-11-15)
Running time
90 minutes (US)
87 minutes (UK)
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguagesSound (All-Talking)
English
Budget$250,000[1]
Box office$500,000 (est.)[1]

Atlantic (1929) (also known as Titanic: Disaster in the Atlantic for its home video release) is an all-talking sound British drama film directed and produced by Ewald André Dupont and starring Franklin Dyall and Madeleine Carroll.[2] Originally, two versions were made, the English and German-language version Atlantik were shot simultaneously. Subsequently, the production of a French version (Atlantis) began in spring 1930 using different footage and partially an altered storyline with a different director.[3][4] The fourth version was released as a silent film. The story was taken from the West End play The Berg by Ernest Raymond. It was one of the most expensive films of 1929.[5]

Plot

Atlantic is a drama film based on the RMS Titanic and set aboard a fictional ship, called the Atlantic. The main plotline revolves around a man who has a shipboard affair with a fellow passenger, which is eventually discovered by his wife. The ship also has aboard an elderly couple, the Rools, who are on their anniversary cruise. Midway across the Atlantic Ocean, the Atlantic strikes an iceberg and is damaged to the point where it is sinking into the Atlantic. A shortage of lifeboats causes the crew to only allow women and children in (though the captain allows a few men to take to the last remaining boats as the disaster reaches its zenith) and many couples are separated. Mrs. Rool refuses to leave her husband and after the boats are gone all the passengers gather on the lounge and sing "Nearer, My God, to Thee" as the Atlantic sinks into the ocean. The final scenes depict a group of passengers saying the Lord's Prayer in a flooding lounge. Lounge floods and the ship goes under water.

Cast

Production

An urban legend claimed for many years that the movie was filmed aboard the White Star Line ship RMS Majestic. However, this is probably untrue, as the White Star Line would never have permitted their current flagship to be used as a cinematic stand-in for the worst disaster in the company's history. The origin of this legend may be due to the fact that early on in the film, there is a short scene where three of the characters meet on a grand staircase. The "set" is almost identical to the first class entrance & staircase of either Majestic or her sister ship, SS Leviathan. However, the fact that the "set" is vast and would have been costly to build, yet appears only once in the film, does make it plausible that this scene was filmed on board one of the two ships.

It is known that some scenes were actually filmed on board a P&O ship, the Mooltan. Indeed, the film was originally made as Titanic but after lawsuits it was renamed Atlantic. These lawsuits were initiated by the White Star Line, which owned the RMS Titanic, and which was still in operation at the time.[6] (White Star had in fact also owned a liner called SS Atlantic which was lost in 1873 with a heavy loss of life, but at the distance of half a century it was no longer considered as immediately traumatising as the Titanic). As well, the name Atlantic is sort of ubiquitous as numerous vessels, large and small, English language and other, have held the name. The final scene of the movie was filmed as a shot of the liner sinking, but it was removed at the last minute for fear of upsetting Titanic survivors. This footage is now considered lost. A reconstruction of the original ending using an outtake from final scene of the 1953 Titanic film has been made available online.[1]

Sound

Atlantic was one of the first British films made with the soundtrack optically recorded on the film (sound-on-film), and was Germany's first sound movie feature. In England, it was released in both sound and silent prints. The French version was the fourth French feature with sound-on-film.

As the first sound film about the sinking of the Titanic, it is also the first to feature the song "Nearer, My God to Thee," which is played by the ship's band and sung by passengers and crew.[7]

Reception

The Observer praised the use of sound in the film, though complained that of dialogue "too close...to literary tradition" and "flabby acting."[8] In a retrospective review, David Cairns claimed that the film "became something of a laughing-stock in Britain" due to the actors speaking "as slowly as possible...his [Dupont's] desire to inflect each syllable with suitable weight and portent robbed the film of any sense of urgency."[9]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "English Making Money". Variety. 17 September 1930. p. 57.
  2. ^ "Atlantic (1929)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  3. ^ British Film Institute: Atlantic
  4. ^ Elsaesser, Thomas (2013). Weimar Cinema and After: Germany's Historical Imaginary (2nd ed.). New York: Taylor & Francis. p. 377.
  5. ^ Bergfelder, Tim (2008). Destination London: German-Speaking Emigrés and British Cinema, 1925-1950 (1st ed.). United States: Bergham Books. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-84545-532-3.
  6. ^ Gareth Russell, The Darksome Bounds of a Failing World: The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian Era (London 2019), pp. xvi-xvii.
  7. ^ Mcgue, Kevin (12 April 2012). "The Titanic on Film". A Life At The Movies. Archived from the original on 16 April 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  8. ^ "Round the Holiday Shows". Newspapers.com. 22 December 1929.
  9. ^ Cairs, David (31 March 2016). "The Forgotten: E.A. Dupont's "Atlantic" (1929)". MUBI.