Die Katastrophe der Titanic (1912)
Synopsis: A tour of the HMS Titanic before it sets sail for the first – and last – time.
Nobody could have foreseen the poignancy this film would inherit when it was made, but the tragic fate of those seen crowding the decks of the Titanic as it slowly leaves port for the first and last time is forever tinged with a foreshadowing of doom. The film opens with Captain George Smith rather ironically making a quite obviously staged inspection of part of the ship before showing us the various decks (1st, 2nd and 3rd class). We even get to see the emergency telephone — which must have got some use on the night of the 12th. After this brief tour of the Titanic we’re introduced to the crew and captain of the HMS Carpathia, one of the rescue ships. The crew playfully push and prod each other and jockey for position to grin inanely at the camera, all of them seemingly untouched by the tragedy they had witnessed. Finally, we see one of the survivors of the sinking signing an autograph. Were it not for the fact that the Titanic sank so famously, this film would have been nowhere near as fascinating as it proved to be.
(Reviewed 8th December 2012)