DIRECTORS: Herbert Selpin & Werner Klingler
Had anybody ever heard of this 1943 version of Titanic? Well, I certainly hadn’t until it featured on a recent documentary but here it is, the lost, banned Germanpropaganda film in which history has again been bent around this historic maritime disaster. Normally, the focus is against the British class system of the day, where first class passengers had a massive and unfair advantage of over the second and the third or steerage classes on board the vessel but trust theNazi’s to pull this out of the bag in the midst of the Second World War.
In short, the Titanic is used as a vulgar example of all that it is to be British andJews are obviously portrayed as the villains, money grabbers using the ship’s success’ and failures to their own advantages. In this version, Bruce Ismay, is aJew very much in the vision of Nazi propaganda of the day, whether he was JewishI admit I don’t know, is the star of the show. His greed effectively sinks the ship and the introduction of a German first officer, who is of course heroic to last, gives the German public what they want, as this man must rail against Jewishgreed and British bigotry against the working man etc… And for its faults, we must not forget that Joe German of the day was of course a Socialist.
Obviously, this is laughable but then I got thinking that every version of theTitanic story is a propaganda piece in one way or another. Even A Night To Remember which I count as the best version to date, is very much in favour of theBritish, even though it does a great job of addressing the inequality on board andCameron’s 1998 Titanic which is a close second, plays the violins for the free-spirited in the a of constraints and divisive social rules.
Is this Nazi propaganda much different? Well, yes it is and even though it’s funny to see a 48 piece orchestra playing the part of the 5 piece band that played on in an attempt to show the vulgarity of Germany’s enemy (Britain), this film is nasty in its tone and is not art for art’s sake; it’s not even a cynical money-maker. This film’s true heart was to help turn the German people against Jews and Allied Forces with the result of prolonging the war and costing thousands of lives. This is true propaganda at its worst and though it’s and interesting piece of history and I would recommend it be seen as a curio, as it is NOT a film in the purest sense.
Like all propaganda films made by ALL countries, they are marketing tools and should be dismissed as such. So, is this any good? Well, as a film about theTitanic, its pretty naff as it’s so inaccurate it’s literally unreal, but as a propaganda film using the Titanic as it’s foundations, it pretty good. It’s cleverly written and executed and right or wrong, I found it to be enjoyable, especially for a subtitled German film…