Making Of...
Making Of...

Raise the Titanic Behind The Scenes

Raise the Titanic Picture
Go behind the scenes and learn what went on during the making of the 1980 Thriller movie starring Jason Robards, Richard Jordan, David Selby et al.
The movie chose the Greek ship Athinai to double for the RMS Titanic in the movie. The ship was actually the film companies second choice, with the R.M.S Queen Mary being the first, but at a cost of $1,000,000. Because the banks and courts were holding the Athinai due to the previous owner's neglect, the old ocean liner, President Cleveland, was thought of to double as the Titanic but the production crew couldn't figure out how to pull her out of the Hong Kong Harbor and out onto the open sea to get the open expanse shots that they needed. At the last minute they decided to go to the Greek courts and win custody of the Athinai for their shots instead.
The film company spent $250,000 turning the liner Athinai into the raised Titanic. Filming on the Athinai lasted four-days. The Athinai was filmed at pier 12 in Faliron. The film company also paid $2,000 an hour for the hire of 4 tugs to move the Athinai.
The RTT grand staircase was filmed in the Athinai's dining saloon. A model of the grand staircase was suspended in front of the camera rather than a matte painting.
Over 3½ million dollars in equipment was donated by U.S. and Japanese companies to the production company for use in the film.
C.S. Longlines, the largest cable layer in the United States and operated by Trans-Oceanic Cable Ship Company to lay telephone cable intercontinentally, doubles as the Soviet spy shop, Mikhail Kurkov.
With the help of the Maltese government, land was purchased adjacent from the smaller tank and financed the building of a deep water tank. The measurements are 39 feet deep from the top to the bottom and about 35 feet where the "ocean floor" rests. With a 90-foot turntable that represents the ocean floor on which the Titanic is set upon. With all of that into account it measured exactly 300x250x35 feet. It takes 10 hours to fill the 9 million gallon tank.
Alec Guinness was on the set for 4 days in December 1979 and was paid £45,000.
Dr. Cussler made a cameo appearance in the news conference scene as REPORTER #1 who was supposed to ask obligatory questions. But his part ended up on the cutting room floor. Any mention of REPORTER #1 was deleted from the film's credits. You can see what he had to say in the Finalized Script on the Scripts Page.
Dr. Cussler apparently didn't like Jason Robards as Sandecker. He asked him if he had read the book and Jason Robards said no. Clive then said, "Well, I guess we'll see Jason Robards rather than Admiral Sandecker." Clive also didn't like the way they cast Dirk Pitt (played by Richard Jordan). He allegedly wanted Steve McQueen or James Gardner.
Dr. Cussler had commissioned a study on where the Titanic was and that material was used in the book and to some extent in the movie. The position of the wreck in relationship to the SOS location was just about right.
Charles Sachs is credited with furnishing the photos for the opening titles. Robert Gibbons, formally president of the Titanic Historical Society, had sold some photos to Sachs and he used those photos rather than his own pristine ones from the shipyards. They mounted the photos on black cardboard to photograph them with a special camera. Gene Kraft did the work.
The scene that depicts the Titanic arriving in New York Harbor is actually footage from the 1976 Bi-Centennial.
The Titanic Historical Society tried to get the production company to insert a scene of Edwina MacKenzie (Titanic Survivor) into that sequence by just filming her at her house at Hermosa Beach up against the sky, but the production people couldn't spare the $2500 to go there and film it.
Construction of the model began in October 1977 and ended on March 1978.
A 55½-foot model of the Titanic was built at a cost of $5 million. They also built a 10-foot model at $350,000, which was used only momentarily on screen. When it was finished, it was discovered that it was too big for the tank in Malta. Because of this problem it delayed production for 6 months. The actual Titanic, in 1912, cost only $7 million.
The 55½-foot Titanic model was placed on a spring-loaded monorail-type track and cut loose to float to the surface.
Ken Marschall became a consultant on Raise The Titanic and helped perfect the film's 55½-foot Titanic model. He made sure that every rivet, plate and window perfectly matched the actual ship.
When the Titanic comes to the surface, there are two tall doodads on either side of the foremast with cowl vents on top of them. And there is a section of railing on the forecastle deck that is incorrect. It runs from the prow (where Jack and Rose kissed in the 1997 TITANIC movie) aft to roughly where the ship's name is. To make the model and the Athinai (the ship used as the raised Titanic) look seamless, the producers decided to replace the entire deck of the bow that was originally designed to perfection by Ken Marschall, with a replica of the bow of the Athinai. This of coursed offended not only Ken Marschall but many Titanic historians from around the world.
The model was first floated and "christened" on the Gilligan's Island lagoon on the CBS Studio Center back lot which was used for the swamp scene in The Muppet Movie, complete with moss and fake trees.
Shots of the Titanic sinking were filmed but never used. The footage was later used in the 1982 television series Voyagers! Titled "Voyagers Of The Titanic".
The model footage is combined with live action footage of "Operation Sail" taken in New York Harbor in 1976.
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Deleted Scenes
When movies are made, scenes are often left on the cutting room floor.
Many have noted that scenes of the drop lights, replating of the hole and pumping of the foam never made it into the final version.

This is incorrect. At the time the movie came out, my dad and I went to see this movie. The deleted scenes were vast throughout the RTT. The movie ran an additional ten minutes longer than what you will find on any shelves or online.

These scenes were critical, but not nessasary according the director/producers and tied in many of the shots that seemed to not flow together.

The shot of where the submeribles began to fill the ship with foam through the port holes was shown both outside and inside the ship. The only image you see of foam today is when Dirk Pitt walks across the interior (see back wall) heading to put the flag it. The same with the patching of the hole and drop lights being placed all across the deck and seabed.

I cant imagine that our hometown was the only one to see this on the big screen.
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Alternate Versions
Sometimes, there will be several versions of a movie floating about on cable, tv or video etc. Other times, a Director may release a special cut of the movie.
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Raise the Titanic