Home U.K. 'Leave it where it is' Raise the Titanic feud exposed as experts...

‘Leave it where it is’ Raise the Titanic feud exposed as experts plan to excavate wreck

RMS Titanic hit the seabed of the Atlantic Ocean in the early hours of April 15, 1912, four days after the ship’s maiden voyage from Southampton to New York went sour. The White Star liner had an estimated 2,224 people on board when it struck an iceberg at around 11.40pm, and its sinking two hours and 40 minutes later resulted in the deaths of more than 1,500 people. Since 1994, more than 5,500 artefacts have been pulled from the wreck by US company Premier Exhibitions, valued at more than £200million at auction.

In January, the UK and US signed a treaty designed to protect the wreckage of the Titanic from damage after it was announced the company had plans to use an underwater robot to “surgically remove” a roof on the ship so it could retrieve items including a Marconi wireless system.

Announcing the ratification of the agreement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the UK’s Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani said the agreement would ensure the site was “treated with the sensitivity and respect owed to the final resting place of more than 1,500 lives”.

But, a British film producer also had his own plans to bring the ship back to life.

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Raise the Titanic was a 1980 adventure film produced by Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment and directed by Jerry Jameson.

There are plans to excavate the Titanic next year (Image: GETTY)

The film, which was written by Eric Hughes and Adam Kennedy, was based on the 1976 book of the same name by Clive Cussler.

The story concerns a plan to recover the RMS Titanic due to the fact that it was carrying cargo valuable to Cold War hegemony.

Yet, with a budget of $ 40million (£30million) and box-office takings of just $ 7million (£5.3million), it cast a shadow over Hollywood for decades.

Mr Cussler had strong opinions on the best actor to play the lead role.

He pushed for “King of Cool” Steve McQueen, who wasn’t interested and so the team then approached former Hollywood star Elliott Gould.

He was even less enthusiastic and is said to have remarked: “I don’t want to raise the Titanic.

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“Let the Titanic stay where it is.”

To Mr Cussler’s disgruntlement, the part went to C-lister Richard Jordan and was outraged to find Oscar winner Jason Robards, playing Admiral Sandecker, head of his fictional NUMA sea-exploration agency, had not even read his book.

John Richardson, a special-effects supervisor from Moonraker, was hired to create a 55-foot-long, 10-tonne replica of the passenger liner.

A Titanic expert, Ken Marschall, was also brought on board to ensure the accuracy of the model.

But the sheer scale of the endeavour soon began to pose a challenge.

In addition to the $ 5million (£3.8million) lavished on the ship, the team had to spend $ 3.3million (£2.5million) on a 350-foot-long, 35-foot-deep tank to house it at Mediterranean Film Studios in Malta.

This put the total budget for the Titanic and its watery grave at $ 8.3million (£6.3million) – more than the $ 7million (£5.3million) it had cost to build the original RMS Titanic at 1911 prices.

The film would go on to be regarded as a Hollywood flop, completely forgotten by most and Mr Grade later remarked, “it would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic”.

Source Daily Express :: UK Feed


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