Raise the Titanic Movie Behind The Scenes

Making Raise the Titanic

Raise the Titanic Picture


Go behind the scenes on the 1980 Action / Adventure movie starring Jason Robards, Richard Jordan, David Selby More Cast

We believe the following info is all legit. If it's bogus or you have additional info, please update us.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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Over 3½ million dollars in equipment was donated by U.S. and Japanese companies to the production company for use in the film.
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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.
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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.
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Alec Guinness was on the set for 4 days in December 1979 and was paid £45,000.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The scene that depicts the Titanic arriving in New York Harbor is actually footage from the 1976 Bi-Centennial.
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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.
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Construction of the model began in October 1977 and ended on March 1978.
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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.
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The 55½-foot Titanic model was placed on a spring-loaded monorail-type track and cut loose to float to the surface.
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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.

The model was built at the CBS film studios in Los Angeles during the summer of 1979.

Ken Marschall would later became historian and adviser to James Camerons 1997 epic production.
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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.
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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.
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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".
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The model footage is combined with live action footage of "Operation Sail" taken in New York Harbor in 1976.
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The survivor's Titanic museum in the Cornwall pub was made by cutting up an issue of the THS's journal Titanic Commutator. THS had started inserting color prints and the orange picture of the ship that stood out so well was in that same issue on newspaper coverage of the disaster. The model was the Entex hobby kit that THS supplied the plans and photos for.

Next Section: Deleted Scenes

Deleted Scenes

There are often scenes cut from the final version of a movie. Sometimes these will have been seen by preview audiences, or be included in Blu-ray or DVD extras etc.

The following missing scenes from Raise the Titanic are believed legit. If you disagree or have additional info, please update us.

Thanks to Anonymous
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.

Next Section: Alternate Versions

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 on Blu-ray or DVD.

The following versions of Raise the Titanic are apparently real. If you disagree or have additional info, please update us.

Thanks to Charles Sachs
Having worked on the film, at the end was allowed to select footage out takes for my files. I have over an hour of shots of the model sinking which we showed at a "Titanic Tonight" dinner in LA at the Biltmore Hotel.

Key was in filming. They had water gushing up by the bow making the shots unusable. The fore deck had enough ice to be an iceberg almost. I bought the sub models and life jackets (around 150 were made) that were planned to be used on Queen Mary boat deck scenes that were canceled when the film went over budget.

My full set of original Harland and Wolff prints, the second person to have ever ordered them no one had seen, had some used. Ken Marschall, who was initially helping with the model building, reviewed the prints and used them for hull plate detail. Later these and other prints and brochures added to the credits.

I saw the initial opening 6 weeks before release, which had around 3 minutes of sinking. I was a guest of the company at the premier and in seeing it cut in the opening, almost stood up in shock.

At the post dinner talked to Clive, a good guy, and asked how he liked the film (we were very disappointed) and he sort of shrugged, also not pleased. But this film made him a lot of money which helped with his outstanding further maritime expeditions, a credit to both his business expertise and look to further knowledge for society. One of the few good guys in all the Titanic expeditions and tales of self interest.

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1980 ITC
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