Are we EVER going to get


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Oct 23, 2000
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Are we EVER going to get a Titanic film that dares to tell the real story in it's entirety with decent historical fiction involving the real people filling the gaps between the known actions of the selfsame (a la "Gettysburg") or are movie makers going to be always gutless cowards when it comes to making a Titanic film and instead churn out clinkers which carve out real people and incidents and plunk down a ton of fictional hooey in their place?
I can think of a few events in history that would translate well to the sliver screen solely based on the real facts, and the REAL Titanic saga is one of them. There was SO MUCH that went on that night- from the couragous sacrifice of the Titanic's Engineers to the valorous daring of the Carpathia's officers and crew in their rush to the call for help, to the poigant failure of the Californian's officers to do anything-that are prime seeds for good drama to spring forth from.
The people involved are just as good, if not more so. Just imagine the ways one could bring back to life, with the use of facts and sublte fiction, folks like Eva Hart, Walter Douglas, Thomas Andrews, Captains Smith, Rostron, and Lord, etc. The sky is the limit, by the Eternal!
I can't wait for the day the REAL Titanic story and the REAL PEOPLE of that story get its just due on the screen.

Richard K.
 
Aug 29, 2000
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The only way that will ever happen if is WE make it ourselves. Sadly, I think with the Cameron epic, nobody will try to top the special effects and big-budget extravaganza. I was watching Hollywood Special FXs last night and they said after Spielberg's Jaws- nobody tried to tackle underwater horror for over 20 years. I understand quantities of accurate and exciting historical material was handed to Cameron- the man spent a king's ransom diving on the wreck, researching details- and when he got them all on a silver plate- he sold us out. The visuals were superb- I have watched the film twice- surprising to some- and I guess that is because when one knows the real story , the frills only please briefly- there is no substance afterwards. Such a shame...I feel certain we will not see another Titanic effort. The public seems to have peaked and waned- and there can hardly be a sequel.
 

Ben Holme

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Well, let's hope something of that nature is dreamed up soon. I agree, the poignant separations which took place, the horrific scenes on the swamped lifeboats A and B, and the on-board acquaintances that were made during the four days prior to collision would indeed make excellent visual drama.

If there were to be any main characters, it might be a good idea to narrow it down to a specific group of passengers e.g. the Canadians, the Irish, the British or the New York/Philadelphia society. This focuses the drama as we get to know specific HISTORICAL characters. The Canadians have merit in this respect as they were pretty much dispersed during the sinking. Wouldn't it be an achievement if every person walking round the ship in the various saloons etc represented a real passenger?! The a la carte restaurant on April 14th would be fascinating to depict! Not just the Widener party but others who were known to have been present.

Best Regards
Ben
 

Jim Kalafus

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Shelley and Ben- You've made excellent points. Were I to make a Titanic movie, I think that I would go for an anti-Cameron feel and make the film small, intimate, and with characters who weren't an irritating bunch of stereotypes. Narrowed down, I would probably concentrate on Second Class, as First and Third have been overrepresented on film, and the stories of people like William Harbeck/Henriette Yrois; Mary Corey /Claire Karnes; The Laroche family, and Edgar Andrew are great film material. Special effects would be used sparingly, because, hype aside, much of the work in Cameron's film (particularly during the sinking sequence) was barely an improvement over A Night To Remember, and in some cases was LESS realistic (the worst being the part where Leonardo and Kate and Charles Joughin are climbing over the rail, and they have the Chroma-key "glow" about them which generations of Godzilla watchers know so well) and even shoddy. Watch it on video and you'll see what I mean.....when you remove the "bigness" many of the F/X just look like cr*p. I also would "go outside the loop" and probably use non-Hollywood script writers and consultants, to avoid idiocies (like a faux jewel heist for added drama AFTER the ship strikes the iceberg- what the hell were they thinking when they included THAT?) and inaccuracies. And I wouldn't work with "stars." I would work with actors, as all- star historical efforts tend to become ham-laden self parodies and, as much as I enjoy watching those indulgence marathons in which the talent Acts and Acts and Acts in order to insure that THEIRS is the performance you carry away at the end of the film, I like the Titanic too much to subject the story to that.
 
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Elaine R Barnes

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I, myself am absolutely amazed that no film,that I'm aware of, has ever portrayed the ONLY racially mixed family aboard Titanic! I never even knew that Mr.Laroche was the only black passenger ( with his daughters of course) aboard. I think that in it's self deserves some air time. I agree that second class passengers have not been portrayed very often in Titanic films. We have the ubiquitous Mr. Beesley, who no doubt has made enormous contributions to reporting what happened that night, but I also would like to see other second class passengers get a chance in the limelight.

O.K., so who has about $200,000,000 lying around? How many registered members did Phil Hind say he has on ET? Probably not enough, but I'm willing to contribute a couple of bucks.....
 

Jim Kalafus

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$200,000,000.00? Too bad you didn't ask last week. I'm a bit over drawn at the moment....but perhaps if every member pledges between $15,000.00 and $100,000.00 it will be an easier finance.
 
Aug 29, 2000
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A Night to Remember I have noted, seems to be the hands down favorite among us here and Titanic people everywhere. In analyzing my own preference- it was successful because it seemed so unassuming and low-key. Add to that the black and white film- the only colors we have ever seen Titanic appear in- and many unknowns in the casting and the result is far more believable than the recent epic which screams BIG BUDGET BLOCKBUSTER with handsome, sexy stars and special effects to rival the 7 wonders of the world. Given that the real action aboard happens at night in the dark- black and white really was believable. The best scenes of Cameron's film for me-the ones that worked- were in the interior daytime shots-or along the deck, in the diningroom, the ones without Rose and Jack chewing up the scenery and filling the frame. Blair Witch Project cost 100,00 to make- the real Titanic film needs the real script of real people- then let the computer whizzes fabricate the sinking ship, and all the frills as the backdrop for the human stories.
 

Jim Kalafus

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The thing which left ME cold was that irritating scene between Rose and Thomas Andrews where she demonstrates that "she isn't like the other women" by voicing concern about the lack of lifeboat space- then she gets out of TWO lifeboats without making sure that someone else gets in, in effect robbing two of the third class passengers of their lives. It would be different if there hadn't been that obnoxious scene with Andrews, but since Cameron chose to include it I can't figure out why he didn't have his character "sacrifice" her place in the boats, inkeeping with her earlier concern.I saw that movie with a friend who was as unmoved by it as I was, and another who, alas, joined the sobbing multitudes.....in the car going home I pointed out that if Rose had done what she had been told to do, Jack would have been able to stay on the paneling and they both would have lived, but her bratty behavior killed him, and was called a perverse ruiner of movies for my effort.

I got a snicker out of the part where, after being as obnoxious as possible throughout the film, she bellows "I'm through with being polite." Funny, too, that she was choosing to "step into" a world in which a man would have backhanded her for acting as she did and no one would have stuck up for her....in fact, would have supported HIM.

Sexist, I know, but my biggest laugh came from the dance sequence where Jack is far more lithe and and graceful than Rose.....the woman I was with whispered "is she SUPPOSED to be dancing like that?" and I started laughing out loud because I had just been thinking to myself "she moves like a defensive lineman." Got shushed by a humorless moron in the seat ahead of me.

Something is wrong when you watch a film of 1500 people going to their doom and you are so distanced from it that you think "it's a shame about those great SETS being destroyed like that."

SO, for OUR version of Titanic, I request that the script be gone over for internal contradictions by a panel of scholars; Titanic experts; etiquette mavens AND people who saw A Night To Remember and understand why it worked.
 
Oct 23, 2000
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James,

What you mentioned I ran into similarly in the cyber Titanic buff world whenver I naplamed the '97 chick flick in discussions (one person acted like I insulted a God. Can you say "hand-to-hand combat" boys and girls? Sheesh! "Take two Asprin and lie down." is what I say to such folks). One reason why I've withdrawn from the chick flick debate field.
However, going back to the main topic of this thread, a buring, deep desire remains in me that yearns for a Titanic film which dares to bring the REAL story and people of that story to life and avoid all the fictional hooey and characters who are carictures which so hobbbled the two 1990's Titanic flims.

Eliane,

That would be something if Mr. Larouche and his family were depicted in a film about the real Titanic saga. They would be good if we just focused on Second Class.
Another family we ought to focus on in Second Cabin is the Hart family. I'd just love to see Eva Hart portrayed in a Titanic film! :)

Richard K.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>"it's a shame when you see all those great SETS being destroyed like that."<<

Hi James, and comments like that really make you wonder about people's priorities these days. I don't know what they expected. A theme park built around the mockup of the ship perhaps?

Personally, I rather enjoyed the film, even if there was a lot in the script that was hokey, but knowing that it was just Hollywood helped me keep things in perspective.

I wouldn't mind trying a production which was made to be as accurate as possible, peer reveiw and all, but I doubt that there would be a market for it. Public tastes are nothing if not fickle.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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Elaine R Barnes

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James,
I thought I was the only one who thought that if "Rose" had just gotten in the stupid boat then
"Jack" could have saved himself, as resourceful as he proved himself to be...
 

Jim Kalafus

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Michael-I am afraid you may have misinterpreted that comment I made about the set being destroyed. What I was saying was that the characters were so repulsive and one dimensional that the only thing in the movie I ended up "bonding with" so to speak were the excellent sets. Let's face it- watching the Grand Staircase being destroyed was a lot sadder than the separation of Jack and Whiny Rose.

I think that there WOULD be a market for a smaller,better written and researched Titanic Film. Movies with low production costs, lasting appeal and good stories are the rent payers which keep the successful but marginally profitable big budget flicks going, and I'm surprised that no one HAS tried doing an intimate story-motivated Titanic film, along the lines of the moving (and successful) A Night To Remember.

And, thinking about it some more after reading your comment about remembering that it was only Hollywood (something I do myself, constantly) made me realise that it was not so much the hokiness which irritated me, it was the relentless publicity touting the great lengths they went to to insure accuracy (not to mention the end-of-the-world-fever-pitch about the awesome special effects) and then actually seeing the film and discovering that it was full of anachronistic characters and special effects which were in some cases WORSE than those in A Night To Remember which set my teeth on edge. Had the movie been promoted as "schlock" I would actually have enjoyed it, but I went in expecting a fusion of a good historical story and state of the art special effects, and what I saw was something Valley Of The Dolls dumb instead.

BUT, I keep myself on an even keel imagining the h*ll which BOTH of their lives would have become had Jack survived to "claim his prize." A woman with NO survival skills , and the social skills of the Nouveau Riche, adrift in the harsh world of lower class 1912 would have been miserable indeed, and a man saddled with a demanding suicidal girlfriend with no money and the kind of artistic talent which translates so well on to black velvet would have been even WORSE off. Happily ever after? I think not....
 
Oct 23, 2000
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My friends, I most respectfully ask that we please leave the chick flick out of the discussion at this point and stick to the topic.
IMHO, in a Titanic film you ought to have a few members of the crew, a few people from First Cabin who aren't people who've been dramitized before (Walter and Malhala Douglas would be good choices), DEFINITELY a selection of Second Cabin folks (besides the Harts, maybe we could also have
the Brown family, of which Edith Brown Haisman was a member), and some Third Class folks who haven't been dramitized before (Dainel Buckley? The Sages? Peter Farrel?)
That way the viewer gets a cross-section of people on the Titanic and what the social order was like aboard ocean liners of the early 20th Century.
And when it comes to famous people like Captain Smith or Thomas Andrews, they, as all the other people from history in the drama, should be as close to the real people as possible in their dramitization for it would show these legends as the HUMAN BEINGS that they were and not as some kind of mythical gods.
And what of the Carpathia and the Californian?
Carpathia characters should be Rostron, Cottam, and others of her heroic crew like the officer who was a friend of Lightollers, and the steward who knew two of the bandsmen on the Titanic.
As for the Californian, Captain Lord, Cyril Evans,
Herbert Stone and James Gibson, plus Charles Groves and Chief Officer Stewart should be shown, and perhaps maybe even Earnest Gill.
How should the Californian incident be dramitized? Well, the sky's the limit!
I'd vote for her seeing the Titanic, as the evidence (IMHO) shows that did indeed happen.

Richard K.
 

Ben Holme

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Hi Richard,

I would certainly be inclined to include as many passengers as possible. As far as first class are concerned, Walter and Mahala Dougals would be excellent for dramatisation as would the Canadians. I would also major on 2nd and 3rd class as they have been glossed over in previous films - 2nd class particularly.
Families such as the Laroches, the Mallets, the Harts, the Navratils and the Harpers would make for poignant viewing.

Ben
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Thinking of the films made thus far- we could take segments of the best moments. splice them together and create a new film- not hard to do -for our OWN pleasure of viewing of course- with 2 VCR'S. I would opt for a great deal of crew and ship footage from ANTR- then turn off the color for great segments from SOS Titanic- the third class snippets WERE wonderful- Martin and the gorgeous beauty, the dance in third class, the guys sneaking up to peek in the turkish bath at Countess de Rothes, and many believable and charming glimpses that may have happened. I actually am a fan of SOS- so much WAS good- in the 3 hour version- some bad casting was at the bottom of a lot of it. But it was the first plausible attempt at representing 3rd class with sympathy and verity. Then a few clips from other attempts- the lifeboat scene from the Stanwyck film- with Norman and his Dad- and she in the lifeboat holding the gloves- we can EDIT like mad and produce something from the best of everything! I did love the Cameron soundtrack- well- except maybe for Celine wailing.
 
Oct 23, 2000
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Hi Ben!

"I would also major on 2nd and 3rd class as they have been glossed over in previous films - 2nd class particularly."

I agree. In this flim they would get their just due.

"Families such as the Laroches, the Mallets, the Harts, the Navratils and the Harpers would make for poignant viewing."

Those are excellent choices.

"Thinking of the films made thus far- we could take segments of the best moments. splice them together and create a new film- not hard to do -for our OWN pleasure of viewing of course- with 2 VCR'S."

Hi Shelly!

That's a novel idea, but I'd go for a brand-new flim myself, even though as you said a film made out of segments from other T. films would be just made by and for us T. buffs.

To all:

How should Captain Lord be portrayed in our hypothetical Titanic film?
While I believe he failed to follow the sailors code of helping one another in distress that night, I'd vote he be depicted as a human being just like any other who, alas, made a mistake that night and did not even wake up his wireless operator to see what was going on.
Something that eithier he or one of his other officers on their own inititive finally did
after it was long too late to do any good.
What I'm saying is, he would not be made into a caricture monster of a person but rather a human being who made an unfortunate mistake.
Then again, maybe there could be a thoughtful, moody, but not overwrought segment where he realizes his error afterward and instead of deciding to own up to it elects instead to try to shirk his culpability when he reaches shore.
So, Lord would be dramitized as just an ordinary ship captain who, after failing to do his duty, succumbs to temptation and vows to worm his way out of his responsibility. Perhaps we could even show him subtly telling Stewart not to enter the rockets into the log and offering a specious reason why to the puzzled Chief Officer.
Ah imagination! :)

Richard K.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Captain Lord will be difficult, because whichever approach you take concerning his guilt or lack of, you won't have enough time to tell the story properly without straying away from the Titanic for too long.....unless you want to skirt the issue briefly as did A Night To Remember. Likewise the Carpathia- to tell the story properly would divert the plot away from the Titanic for too long, and if dealt with in brief but accurate fashion the whole thing would seem as if it was lifted out of ANTR.

And that is the trouble with making a new Titanic movie- unless you comes up with a radically different structure (and that will be hard to do, given the story) it will be next to impossible to create a film which won't be a rehash of either ANTR or Titanic(199?). That IS something to consider, because your product will be compared (most likely unfavorably) to the two established favorites. If you go for "intimate" you will end up with what comes across as an ANTR rip-off no matter how accurate, and no matter how many true stories are worked into the plotline, and if you go for "epic," the same will happen, only with Cameron's Titanic being the work by which yours is judged. So, before going on to details such as which stories to use, and which approaches to take regarding Captain Lord, we had better find a way of making the product seem "fresh." I am at a loss.

SHELLEY: I liked you Titanic Patchwork Version idea myself.
 
Mar 30, 1997
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Shelley : I did something close to your idea a year or so ago - my birhday is April 15th so during the week of the 10th to the 15th I lined up the family VCRs and played parts of all four Titainic movies in as close to sequence as I could fast forwarding past the parts I don't care for - Tim Curry for example - my family thought I was crazy but humored me as it was my birthday "week". (It was also one of those rare weeks when I had a lot more extra time than one should have!) Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
 
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