Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tales of The Titanic...

There's been lots of "Titanic" watching in my house lately.

Seth has an encyclopedic knowledge of the shipping industry both commercial and recreational and the "golden age" of cruising is a favorite subject in our home.

His ability to recognize ships is formidable so do not match wits with him when it comes to how many stacks the Berengaria had, my friend, for you will lose.
The Berengaria had three stacks.

He has always been extremely interested in both the history and lore of the most famous sinking of all: The Titanic.

He's read all the books and watched all the documentaries and specials and, while fascinated by what they've learned by the exploration of the actual wreck, is an advocate of leaving the ship where it lies and has for one hundred years.

Yep, it happened one hundred years ago this month on April 14, with the actual sinking taking place at 2:30 in the morning the following day.
For most, our knowledge of the tragedy is based solely on the movie with Leo and Kate.
The Titanic leaving Liverpool in April of 1912
We love that movie and have seen it several times. It is, of course, an epic film that's still able to personalize the tragedy and loss with the story of two star-crossed lovers while successfully depicting the massive scale of the disaster.
"I'll never let go, Jack..."
Yeah, right.
I will admit, however, that I repeatedly marvel at how quickly Rose, after promising Jack that she will "never let go" pushes his body off the edge of their "raft." For that matter, I still do not accept that there wasn't room for poor freezing Jack with her on what appeared to be a floating door or some sort of panel they'd found to grab onto. C'mon, Rose, you know there was room for him.

But what I want, specifically, to bring to your attention today is that there is another movie that, in my opinion, is just as good as the blockbuster with which we are all so familiar.
Get it from Netflix,
you will not be sorry.

The movie is a British film called "A Night to Remember." Made in 1954, it 's in black and white, which does not lessen the experience in any way.

It covers it all. There's emotion, history and people to care about although the there is no specific story line as in-depth as the one of Rose*, her fiance--that nasty boy, Cal Hockley played with fabulous arrogance by Billy Zane and her "he-saved-me-in-every way a person can be saved" hero, the irresistible Jack Dawson**.

You will, however, notice distinct similarities and even a line or two that James Cameron, the director of the 1997 version, either pinched or used in homage to the original film dedicated to the sinking. You'll recognize the "unsinkable" Molly Brown from the moment she walks into the movie.

For those gentleman who will sit through it just to get to the scene in which Leo draws a naughty picture of Kate in her stateroom, there is no nipular content in the older movie. Sorry, kids.

In certain ways, I prefer "A Night to Remember" to the new version and highly recommend it.

 It has always elicited more emotion from me than it's showy younger brother with some searingly poignant moments that, I have no doubt, happened in similar ways, on the deck of the real Titanic on that awful night.

Sometimes when something is fictionalized so often or in so grand a manner, it can be easy to forget that the events shown happened to people just like us. Many goodbyes were said in the dark, in the cold. Many acts of sacrifice and bravery, whose specifics have no one left to remember them, took place on the wooden decks of that "unsinkable" ship.
"She threw what into the

As for the newer movie, I am consistently annoyed when the old lady tosses that giant diamond into the water. I might have sold it and spent the spoils but certainly would have left it to my granddaughter or given it to that poor bastard of a treasure hunter who's nearly out of cash instead of sending it to he bottom of the ocean...but that's just me.


*Other actresses considered for the part of Rose (who is only supposed to be 17 in the movie) were Gwynneth Paltrow and Claire Danes.
**Actors up for Jack Dawson were Matthew McConaughey, Chris O'Donnell and Billy Crudup
I think they were perfectly cast, don't you?


  1. I've seen the older version and it is wonderful.
    I agree with you on the floating piece of wood. You would think Rose could have allowed skinny Jack to slid up there. Of course, then the movie would have ended differently.
    The necklace tossing reminds me of when Tom Cruise throws Goose's dog tags off the side of the ship in "Top Gun." Didn't he think that Goose's son might want those?

  2. I remember crying the first time I watched It Happened One Night decades ago. Looking back at it now the special effects weren't all that great; but it really got to me at the time.