Article in Historical Journal of Film Radio and TV


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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
I just came across an interesting article in this magazine written by Richard Howells in 1999. It's basically a comparison in filming between ANTR and the 1953 "Titanic".

http://www.findarticles.com/cf_0/m2584/4_19/58450332/p1/article.jhtml?term=%22Walter+Lord%22

It goes into great depth about American and British views of the Titanic incident, Hollywood versus accuracy, social systems, and business points of view. It's very interesting, and worth your reading. Howells has also written about the filming of the 1997 "Titanic" - haven't read it yet, but I'm sure I will. My apologies if I didn't do the link correctly.
 
Apr 11, 2001
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The link was fine and thank you Mary- this is one of the most intelligent and thought-provoking analyses I have read to date. It is right on the money on all counts and has explored areas which I have never considered before. I never knew Howard Hughes had a script in the works although I was familiar with the Hitchcock/Selznick project. His contrast of ANTR and the 1953 Titanic was enlightening and also amusing- and as the Brits say- spot on. I do remember the scene now in TITANIC when one sees the American view of the British in that scene on the bridge between Smith and Sanderson- drinking tea as "Rule Britannia" plays in the background and an old Union Jack flies up the mast. And who can forget the Brits' idea of the brash, slang-twanging Molly Brown character in ANTR- all the worst stereotypes in both films. Howells goes one step deeper in delving into the political climate of both countries at the time these two seminal Titanic films were shot- and relates the times with what ended up on film. The fact that Lightoller was made the hero, and a leading figure in ANTR was no accident. By all means- read this paper- it is long but worth the time.
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
Hello, Shelly! Glad you were able to read this, too! Interesting, isn't it? Loved your reference to the tea drinking-"Rule Britannia"-Union Jack in "Titanic" I missed that, but the not-so-subtle Molly Brown portrayal wasn't lost on me in ANTR! (Being from Denver, I've visited the Brown House and Leadville numerous times. I could post another thread about the mis-portrayals of "Molly" Brown in most movies! Silver, not gold. Maggie, not Molly..ad infinitum) I have only been printing articles that I think are quality, and this is one of them. I'm going to have to start ordering paper and cartridges by the case, though.

Aside: We must get together to discuss our common interests in all things anglophilian, as well as Vlad-Dracula-Nosferatu!
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Thanks for the link, Mary - a very good read. I was especially interested in Selznick's plan to buy the Leviathan and cast it in a starring role as the Titanic. I wonder, if he'd made his plans a few years earlier, whether the Olympic might have been on his shopping list. Had that been so, and had the film been made, we might now be critical of the script but we'd have little cause for complaint about the sets!
 
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Trent Pheifer

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Great article Mary!

I wonder what a Hitchcock Titanic movie would turn out like?! Thanks for posting it...it was a great read.

-Trent
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Nice thought, but Hitchcock would surely have had Ismay sleeping with the fishes! Another thought is that he always made a brief appearance in his own films. But as which character in this one? My suggestion would be the restaurant boss, Mr Gatti, pacing the boat deck in his topper. Any others?
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
Well, we could assume that AH might have appeared momentarily as a paunchy-but-sedentary British valet, addressing some unseen gent: "Yoaw lifebelt, suh". The real Vaterland/Leviathan might have taken center stage with just a few minor name paint changes (Deutsch to English) and an off-screen patriotic salute as she was deliberately cracked in half. The leading lady/s would have been blond (ala the AH affinity for blonds like Grace Kelly and Tippi Hedren) no matter what their actual Titanic status. Margaret (Molly) Brown (an Honor Blackman lookalike) would have knocked the snot out of Hitchens for his "shut that 'ole in your face" comment, and Sean Connery (in any role) would be the hero du jour! The Hitchcockian moment might - at the very ending scene - be when Ismay staggers without the benefit of Carpathian hot tea and warm soup to Captain Rostron and says: "I'm not Ismay. I'm Andrews"

Why would I knock A. Hitchcock?? He published my first very bad story, ferGawdsake!!
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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And of course there would be a very sinister sub-plot to explain the Californian's inactivity, Thomas Andrews would be played by Jimmy Stewart ("She's made of i-i-i-iron") and there'd be a nail-biting finale in which the survivors are attacked by angry seagulls.
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
Well, of course, Hitch would portray Stanley Lord as having an aversion to "Rope" in any form, giving way to Nazi mates using "Lifeboats" secured with "Bird" feathers to avoid a "Frenzy" from Californian officers. Stewarts' Andrews thinks that by "Dialing M" from the Titanic, the doomed ship can save her fate by sailing "North By Northwest". Alas - this "Notorious" decision quickly went "Downhill". Even by looking through the Titanic's "Rear Window", and consulting "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", the Titanic, "I Confess", went the way of the fishes. A "Foreign Correspondent" that I know has assured me that the "Family Plot" for the Titanic is resting peacefully at the Bates Motel.
 
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The Lady Vanishes indeed below the waves-even The Man Who Knew too Much was no avail-nor the hand of any Saboteur more deadly than the iceberg! Without a Doubt, even Strangers on a Train, I have a Suspicion, would be Spellbound to the point of Vertigo by such a tale.
 
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Mary S. Lynn

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But, didn't "Rebecca" "Blackmail" "The Wrong Man" into taking her to the "Jamaica Inn"? Dang it! I can't close my blinds because I have a "Torn Curtain!" Guess I'll have to sleep with the light on. Bummer.
 
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Mary S. Lynn

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"The Trouble With Harry" is that he just didn't know how to make a decent Titanic film. He must be "Psycho", to say the least.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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An interesting article by one of the very few professional academics to write about the Titanic affair. It's very typical of his work. Howells's main concern is the place Titanic holds in popular culture and in The Myth of the Titanic he examines the way in which the myth (in the proper sense of the word) came to be. As in the article, he occasionally gets minor details wrong, as he sometimes relies on the work of careless authors. However, rivet counting is not his concern and his book can be recommended. It's American counterpart is Steven Biel's Down With the Old Canoe.
 
May 12, 2005
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This is an extraordinary study of the two films and thanks to Mary Lynn for posting the link.

A bit of trivia: Rene Harris was likely to have been a technical consultant on the Hitchcock-Selznick film on Titanic that never happened. She had been recommended by several key industry people and was in correspondence with Selznick at the time that the decision was made to scrap the deal.

Too bad the project never got off the ground. It would have been quite something.
 
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Mary S. Lynn

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Shelley - great Silver Screen website! I enjoyed it very much. IF you get a chance, I would appreciate the Charles Barr paper, but please don't go out of your way. I've read some exerpts from Biel's book..not many, but enough to demonstrate that it is definitely from an American point of view (suffragettes, racial issues, etc.)! Was Rene Harris ever able to keep the theatrical business intact after her husband's death? It would have been a real treat to see a Hitchcock version of "Titanic", especially in 1939! I just watched the ANTR commentary by Lynch and Marschall, as well as the MacWhitty and Lord filming of the movie - truly fascinating! I can't believe how much I don't know....well, actually, I can! Thanks once more for all of the good information from the Board members!
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Hi, Mary. For MacWhitty read MacQuitty - I've mispelt that one myself on a few occasions!

Renee Harris not only kept the business going (after first paying off the debts her husband had incurred) but reached dizzy heights of success as the first woman producer in American theatre. And among her 'discoveries' was Barbara Stanwyck, who developed her own Titanic connection in the 1953 movie. I'm sure there are more detailed replies on the way!
 

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