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A fictional account of the sinking of the H.M.H.S. Britannic off the Greek island of Kea in November 1916. This explores the theory of a German Agent sabotaging the liner, a hospital ship.

Download Formats: M4V, AVI, MTS, MKV, M2TS, 3GP, ASF

original title: Britannic

genge: Action,Drama,History,Mystery,Romance,War



duration: 1h 33min

tags: They Never Thought It Would Happen Again


keywords: ship, titanic, weapon, torpedo, secretservice, germanspy, falseidentity, spy, nanny, year1916, irishrebellion, voiceovernarration, underwaterscene, uboat, titanicsurvivor, suspicion, strangulation, st





















































A fictional account of the sinking of the H.M.H.S. Britannic off the Greek island of Kea in November 1916. This explores the theory of a German Agent sabotaging the liner, a hospital ship. Though its infamous sister ship has received most of the attention over the last ninety-five years, the Britannic met its end in a manner eerily similar to the ship of Titanic. A true story that has remained largely untold, the Britannic was one of largest passenger liners in the world when it sunk, and the circumstances surrounding its demise are just as mysterious as those of the Titanic, as it sustained damage almost identical to that of its sister ship. Though it has never been discovered exactly what caused the Britannic to sink, the film is based on historical evidence and imagines that the liner's demise was the doing of German spies on board the boat. Along with this, the film follows some serious problems that a budding romance between a young Briton and German brings on the couple, as their countries are in the midst of fighting WWI on opposing sides. Britannic, an historical drama, provides the first look of its kind at the little known story of this ill-fated ship. The Britannic's tragic story will never generate the same interest or emotion as that of her more famous sister ship. Still, the Britannic met an even more mysterious fate and does constitute the world's largest shipwreck (the Britannic having been 20 feet longer than Titanic).

This brings us to the 2000 made-for-TV movie. Overall, it provided an enjoyable evening's entertainment. It wasn't until near the climax that some disturbing anachronisms and very unlikely character behaviors began to seriously take away from my enjoyment.

The film features Amanda Ryan as governess/British intelligence agent Vera Campbell, along with would-be chaplain/German intelligence agent/saboteur Father Reynolds (Edward Atterton). Jacqueline Bisset, as an aging and infirm aristocratic English matron, is the only big name in the cast-and her role is somewhat small. The cast is solid, though, also including John Rhys-Davies as Captain Barrett and Ben Daniels as First Officer Townsend.


There is certainly plenty of room for speculation with the Britannic story. Did it hit a mine? Was it torpedoed? Was an internal explosion the primary (or a secondary) cause of the sinking? If so, was it intentional? Was the hospital ship carrying contraband troops (as the real-life Germans seemed to believe) or a cache of weapons (as the movie Germans rightly believed)? These are all fair questions and any halfway feasible explanation is about as good as another. Therefore I had no trouble with the basic premise of a German spy on board and a German U-boat being involved-although the film shows the U-boat failing to sink the ship and then being destroyed by a British warship-something that did not happen.

Other than the tiresome, ever-present presence of a 1990s feminist, EXPECTING 1990s treatment (and thoroughly surprised and outraged when her male antagonists act basically as they would have in 1916 instead of 2000), the film has a few other anachronisms. For one, Atterton and Major Baker (Bruce Payne), the ship's doctor, glibly discuss the explosive dangers of coal dust in the bunkers. I could be wrong, but hasn't this phenomenon been discovered only in the past 25 or so years? Secondly, this IS 1916. Whatever Vera Campbell's morals, her sudden and uninvited (at least expressly uninvited) return to Reynold's cabin where she immediately began disrobing without a word is quite a stretch! Not having figured out his ulterior plans, she still thought he was a minister. True, they were beginning to be very attracted to each other. Yes, they had shared a steamy kiss a short while before. In 2000, perhaps the woman returning and diving into the man's bed would be a feasible occurrence. But with a MINISTER, in 1916? Not that the two of them COULDN'T have gotten together during the movie…but, my gosh…if nothing else, her assuming that he would welcome her advances was a clear lack of respect for the man and his principals! I would have to believe that 85% of REAL ministers in 1916 would have been both flabbergasted and offended (if titillated ) by a young women bursting into his room (even after sharing an earlier kiss) and disrobing.

This pales in comparison, though, with Agent Baker's suicidal desire to rescue Reynolds-AFTER she knew he was responsible for sinking the ship! Her being hesitant to leave him trapped in the sinking ship I can understand. But running back onto the ship to miraculously (love the length of time TV shipwreckees can hold their breath!) save a man who undoubtedly WOULD HANG within a few weeks' time is preposterous. What's more, despite her feminine racing heart (funny how these 1990s feminists are somehow too `feminine' to make a logical decision in movieland!), as a trained operative, she would KNOW that by aiding and abetting the enemy, she would be facing a REAL danger of being hanged, herself! This is where I felt cheated. A pre-flapper female charging around the decks of a ship, firing a pistol…OK…I can buy that within this context. There WERE female operatives throughout history. Yet, in making the character feminine and human enough to be liked, why does she have to make a mockery of the training she supposedly had received? My only possible explanation for this apparent plot hole is that only the two of them and the now-dead doctor (Payne) knew Reynold's identity. Perhaps Vera hoped they could just pretend he really WAS an innocent minister and forge a life together. This, too, sounds outrageous-although, under the stress and passion of the moment, perhaps such muddled thoughts COULD have been running through her mind.

In any case, Britannic is an intriguing little film, but one which leaves the viewer with more questions about the characters' bizarre actions than about the mystery of the ship's actual sinking. After the high-budget high-gross success of James Cameron's Titanic, it is quite inevitable to try and make a copy-cat film about something based on the same idea. In this TV made case, it is a fictionalised story of the events concerning the Titanic's sister ship. Basically, the Britannic was a hospital ship carrying thousands of medical supplies to be used for the troops of the First World War. As it is wartime, a certain passenger, British Secret Service agent Vera Campbell (Amanda Ryan), and a survivor from the Titanic sinking, is searching for German spies. The Germans' attempt to take over the ship fails, and the spy, Reynolds (Edward Atterton) sees no choice but to cause the ship to sink. There is a lot of discussion as to how the ship sunk, it was either mine or torpedo, in this case (true or untrue, I don't know) it is a strong alcohol dropped down a drain. Obviously when the ship has water coming in very slowly, Captain Barrett (John Rhys-Davies) gives the order to abandon ship, and while Vera gets out alive, Reynolds is mashed by a propeller, and the ship eventually topples over and sinks completely. Also starring Jacqueline Bisset as Lady Lewis, Ben Daniels as First Officer Townsend, Bruce Payne as Dr. Baker, EastEnders' Alex Ferns as Stoker Evans and Eleanor Oakley as Sarah Lewis. The story is pretty thin, the acting is a little lame, and the special effects (being made for TV) are nowhere near the quality Titanic had to offer, but it does have its moments. Okay!


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