This release on DVD and Blu-ray is part of Network Distributing’s ‘The British Film’ collection. I recall watching this on TV as a child and being pretty impressed, how would I find it decades later and post-Cameron (James not David)?
Based on Clive Cussler’s novel the story here has a wonderfully 80s feel; freedom loving Brits and Yanks vs. communist loving Russians with an enormous legendary boat thrown in for good measure and extra drama. It’s a race against time to find the Titanic and then get her afloat in order to have access to her precious world changing mineral cargo that could spell the end of the nuclear age.
Cussler’s background is a marine archaeologist and he writes about what he knows, although this film was made 5 years before the actual wreck of the Titanic was discovered. His lead character Dirk Pitt (played by the sorely missed Richard Jordan) is indeed a recurring character in Cussler’s novels. This film is not lacking in some great acting chops; Alec Guinness doing a neat cameo as John Bigalow a survivor of the original disaster of 1912 and Jason Robards’ Admiral Sandecker being suitably gruff and wise.
There is as expected a winning score by the legendary John Barry which adds a romance to some of the underwater scenes. They may look dated now there is still magic in them and any fans of the Abyss or Titanic will enjoy them. Inevitably with the limitations of the time the ship itself often looks like the model it is and compared to James Cameron’s big boat it appears somewhat puny at times.
The pace is sometimes lacking but there is some drama and tension and excellent beard-work. Anne Archer has little to do but this was 1980 people!
The film is pure enjoyable hokey perfect for a Sunday afternoon.