There are literally dozens of movies about the Titanic; this 1953 Hollywood version is one of the three best-known (the other two being Roy Ward Baker's “A Night to Remember” and James Cameron's modest little 1997 chamber drama). Like Cameron, director Jean Negulesco (Fox's go-to guy for melodrama at the time), writer/producer Charles Brackett (after the severing of his amazing 12-year collaboration with Billy Wilder), and co-writers Walter Reisch and Richard Breen focused primarily on the romantic lives of fictional characters. Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb are the central pair, with Robert Wagner and Audrey Dalton representing young love.
For unknown reasons, there was a long delay in this Blu-ray release (originally announced for last March), and, on final arrival, it seems a troubled product. The visual quality is generally good, and the audio adequate, which was also true of the old DVD version. The main-menu page is terribly designed: When you click on an item, it changes from off-white to eggshell-white (or some such), making it virtually impossible to determine where you are.
The selection of extras is even stranger. The disc repeats everything from the old DVD — two commentary tracks, an audio-only lecture and some Fox Movietone newsreels related to the film's original release — except the most important one, the hour-and-a-half documentary “Beyond Titanic.” Perhaps there were rights problems — maybe that's why the delay — but the omission leaves the Blu-ray only vaguely an upgrade.
ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on "FilmWeek" on KPCC-FM (89.3).Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun