The Life and Mystery of First Officer William Murdoch
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Country: Germany Release date: 10 November 1943 Director: Herbert Selpin Cast: Sybille Schmitz, Hans Nielsen and Kirsten Heiberg
Plot: Building the Titanic has been a huge financial effort, and White Star Line president Ismay wants her maiden voyage to hit the headlines. He urges Captain Smith to make the fastest possible crossing to New York. When iceberg warnings come in, the captain must ask himself if he is willing to risk the safety of his ship just to please Ismay.
Trivia: Director Herbert Selpin was arrested by the Gestapo during this film's production and later died in his cell.
Titanic (1943) Theo Shall
The 1943 German film Titanic is essentially Nazi propaganda made during World War II in Berlin by Tobis Productions for UFA. After a brief theatrical run in
occupied Europe starting in December 1943, the film was banned by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, although he was originally the driving force behind the
It used the sinking of the RMS Titanic as a setting for an attempt to discredit British and American capitalist dealings and glorify the bravery
and selflessness of German men. During the production the director Herbert Selpin was arrested for making allegedly anti-Nazi comments and within 24 hours
found hanged in his jail cell. The film was completed by Werner Klingler.
The hero is a fictional German First Officer Herr Petersen (played by Hans Nielsen). He spends most of the time criticising the decisions of the
Captain and crew, especially over speed and warnings of ice ahead. Several of these conversations are with Theo Shall who plays "Mr Morlock" a jovial and
positive officer. He is shown as having three stripes on his arm which would make him the Chief Officer -an interesting detail (or most likely an oversight
over confusion with Wilde). However IMDB lists him as "1st Officer Murdoch (uncredited)".
Mr Morlock appears in several scenes, including one in which he defends his superiors when Petersen critices their speed by saying: "President Ismay surely knows what he's doing, ordering this speed. The captain naturally does what the president of the line requests."
Later, when another officer questions why there is a German officer on board, Morlock, with binoculars around his neck, provides an explanation by explaining: "An Englishman was scheduled, but he got a bad case of appendicitis, so the captain hired Petersen, whom he knew from before."
When something is spotted in their path, Morlock shouts for the starboard searchlight to be turned on and the rudder "hard-a-port". After the possible
collision Morlock is seemingly cavalier, thinking they 'made it through okay' since the engine room would have "notified us if anything serious had happened". When it is finally reported to the Captain that the Titanic will sink Morlock's smile drops. There does not seem to be any other shot or reference after that.