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Titanic - Treasure of the Deep (1992) - CBS IMAX Documentary

Titanic Films by Mark
Superbly photographed, properly appreciative docu of joint Russian-American-Canadian expedition to the wreck of the Titanic starts slowly and vacillates between messages, but the immensity of the achievement it covers–and of the courage, expertise and dedication of people involved, wonderfully captured–easily carries the hour.

When Russian deep-sea ship Keldysh needed financing to explore the Titanic, the United States and Canada provided it, and the expedition became an international endeavor. Wearing hard hats divided in thirds with all three countries’ symbols, scientists and crew members served under the leadership of Anatoly Sagalevitch, Russian inventor of the Keldysh-Mir deep-sea exploration system.

Docu exec producer-director-writer-et al. Al Giddings was in the midst of the action, not only on the Keldysh but in the tiny Mir subs that dove the 2 1/2 miles to the shipwreck.

As photographer and explorer, Giddings didn’t miss a trick. But as writer, he and co-writer Sam Shore couldn’t decide on an angle: Was the international crew the main point, or the deep-sea endeavor, or the Titanic itself?

The evident goodwill among crew members spoke for itself. Expedition principal organizer Dr. Joel McGinnes put it in words: “The answer to our future is in our intuition, in our hearts, in our eyes and in the spirit of brotherhood that’s out here. It’s in our thoughts and our ideas. That’s the summary of this expedition. We’ve been very lucky — we’ve seen the future.”

And it seems that the ability to find and explore the wreck of the Titanic indeed takes precedence over the Titanic itself, which, fascinating us from the bottom of the sea since 1912 after only 4 1/2 days in service, clearly is the past, not the future.

On-site photography of Giddings and T. Robin Hirsh is exquisite. Action pix with the small orange submarines and brightly colored sub handlers against the blue sea, dramatic shots of ship’s officers on the bridge at night, sunset-amber seascapes and somber-toned pictures of the still Titanic are beautifully shot and expertly edited.

Despite occasional philosophical forays, Peter Scott’s narration is excellent and unintrusive, and host Walter Cronkite is fine. But notwithstanding the excitement of seeing the corrosion- and sea creature-encrusted bow of the giant luxury ship loom from her midnight-dark sea grave and despite the enormity of her tragedy, it is the expedition itself that thrills.

That achievement is credited by McGinnes to Sagalevitch: “In the end, the only reason we’re here now is that this Russian, this wonderful child of Lenin and Tolstoi, has said to himself, ‘This is worth doing.’ ”

Seeing Giddings’ docu, it was.

The Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912, after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New Your City. There were 1,514 people that drowned in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.