Great Summation of this Movie & Why it's GREAT


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Aug 15, 2005
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Or maybe not. Some of what was said seemed valid, but it was a mere load of twaddle thrown together hastily - I'd assume so that the author could get down to something a little more productive.

Cameron wanted the sloppy, sentimental codswallop - it's clear enough. I hate that kind of thing, but I even find myself writing it from time to time, because it's the sort of thing that goes hand in hand with this manner of story, just like a chap plaintively staring into a tattered sepia photograph before asking the chap next to standing him "Do you have a sweetheart back home?" goes hand in hand with a story set in the fields of Flanders right before the whistle blows and the artillery starts up.
 

Dave Gittins

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"Chaining Jack below decks after the iceberg may smack of melodrama."

"May smack"? It positively reeks, stinks and pongs of it, as does so much of the last part of the movie. Sorry, but I find much of the film offensive to Titanic and those who died on her.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Sorry, but I find much of the film offensive to Titanic and those who died on her.

And having Rose say "This is where we met" 30 seconds before facing death (from which, sadly, she escaped) is a prime example of why this film is offensive to those who once enjoyed films.....
 
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Jon Meadows

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That paragraphs really sums it up. I just don't understand why everyone is utterly disgusted with this movie. No film is going to satisfy everyone.

Why not choose the part that interests you...the ship and sinking.

You have to admit that it's nice to have a fairly authentic recreation of the ship itself and a re-enactment of the sinking with today's special effects using the knowledge we've gained from the wreck. But people still say, "Well, that pillar wasn't there" or "There was too much light on the deck".

How about that we're lucky to have a recreation of the event with a huge budget?

A Night to Remember is great for what it is. A docudrama. But today, a docudrama would NEVER get the budget needed to do justice to the Titanic and its sinking.

So, from my standpoint, I tune out the annoying dialogue and enjoy the sets and costumes which are about as well-created as we're EVER going to get.
 

Jerry Nuovo

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The good thing about the film is that it is a great effort that went into recreating the ship Titanic and the Titanic's interiors.Now for the bad thing about this film is the silly sappy love story with the silly,sappy fictitious characters Jack and Rose.Aboard the real Titanic no real first class woman passenger would have had any interest in starting a relationship with any poor guy in steerage and also that it seems in this film the good ship Titanic plays second fiddle to Jack and Rose.That is why to most people the best film about the Titanic tragedy is still A Night to Remember.And yes no director today would be able to do a re-make of A Night to Remember.But that being said Titanic '97 is a film that lacks a good fictitious subplot and that the fictitious subplot should work with the real story of the Titanic not against it as the subplot in Titanic '97 most certainly does.
 
May 3, 2005
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>>I should have finished my above post by writing "As the subplot in Titanic '97 most certainly does work against the real story of the Titanic"<<

I agree with you Jerry...about 100% ! ;-)

But what does make "Titanic" (1997) great is not the subplot but the details. Many of the scenes are straight out of Ken Marschall's paintings...especially the "sailing into the sunset scene" (which seems to have gotten a bit of heat in another thread) and the "grand staircase scene" complete with the lady in the red dress and Jack's pose with his hand behind his back. The "Frederic Spedden's son spinning the top scene" is just another, which was taken from a photograph.

For comparison, another movie with details such as in "Titanic" is "My Fair Lady", especially in the "Higgin's House scenes".

One more comment, although it most definitely was not (at the time it was made in 1936, Republic Pictures probably thought they were just making another "B-Western Singing Cowboy Movie" ) and probably is not considered a docudrama : "The Big Show" (Gene Autry, 1936). Look at the scenes of the (Dallas) Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936 and then take a walk and compare them with the State Fair of Texas and Fair Park in 2006 !
 
May 3, 2005
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"I should have also finished my above post" with another comment on "The Big Show"...even if you are not a Gene Autry or Western Movie fan (I'm not all that much of a fanatic on either of the above), the movie also ends with a documentary of some sorts of scenes from "The Cavalcade of Texas" which is a bit of a "time capsule of history, circa 1936".

Jerry, I hope you will pardon my plagiarism on your quote. They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery ! :)
 
Feb 24, 2004
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Robert, I'm still looking for "The Big Show" around here. One of these days . . .

The 1936 "Pygmalion" also did a great job with Higgins' study. They made it look like a place where he actually worked (and created real messes!), as opposed to a neat, attractive movie set where no one would dare sneeze.
 

Mary Hamric

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May 4, 1999
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The negativity here is underwhelming. I know most of the rivet heads don't like the Jack-Rose story. I understand that. It's not my favorite part of the movie either but I do at least like it.

It was meant to be a short blurb for a larger article on indulgences with respect to food, movies, music, etc. It was meant to be a paragraph, not a detailed critique.
 
Feb 24, 2004
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Gosh, Mary, I'm glad it's just underwhelming. I'm sure quite a few folks here regard fictional characters such as Jack and Rose as being interlopers, whose interaction with historical figures bends a part of history they care deeply about. True, it's just a movie, but major Titanic films are few and far between. Don't be too upset if some people here dump on something you like.

Roy
 

Jim Kalafus

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The sets and art design of a film taking precedence over things like logic, coherence, and pacing is a rather depressing trend. It is not that Jack and Rose are fictional that makes a surprising number of people resent them- it is that they are sloppy, casually drawn, flat characters ambling through situations that range from stupid (Molly Brown and the tux) to VERY stupid (chained to a pipe) to insultingly stupid ("Jack- this is where we met!") at too leisurely a pace. Here- try this. Take your VHS copy of Titanic and randomly remove 20 consecutive minutes from any of the first two hours after the disappearance of Old Rose (the only good part of the picture) and the flashback to 1912. Then watch the film again, and observe the sad fact that EVERY LINE OF DIALOGUE in it post Old Rose is a throwaway, as is every scene leading up to the accident. There are not too many movies in which randomly deleting 20 minutes of expository material won't hurt the flow of the storyline.

>The "Frederic Spedden's son spinning the top scene" is just another, which was taken from a photograph.

Therein lies one of the major problems of the film. It is all background and no foreground.

>Why not choose the part that interests you...the ship and sinking.

Because to get to them one must endure:

-Static dialogue.
-improbable situations.
- mediocre animation. (One must REALLY suspend disbelief during the shot of the ship sailing towards the camera by daylight, to avoid acknowledging how cheesy the animated people are)
-stereotypes.
-a plot that lags 20 minutes into the film and never regains its pace.
- Jack handcuffed to a pipe.
- A Mr. Goodbar style 'pickup' complete with backseat sex.
-Yet another dance in steerage.
- Leonardo feigning 'butch' in the Card Game Sequence.
- "I'M KING OF THE WORLD!"
- Let's name drop Freud.
-Jack's artwork.
-The animated sunset.
-"It doesn't look any bigger than the Mauretania."
-Molly Brown travelling with a tux that fits.
-Lightbulbs that burn under water.
-Cal and his Big Gun.
-Cal's obvious hairpiece.
-Kate's bordello style nude layout...should have been executed on black velvet.
-The animated sailboat after Captain Smith "opens her up."
-Billy Zane's evil valet.
-The corset.
-Mrs. Bukater.
-Twenty minutes of storyline expanded into two hours of screen time.
-Rose's suicide attempt.
-Rose.

...all of which are a great price to pay to look at sets.
 
Aug 15, 2005
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I once began a list similar to yours Jim, but whilst watching the film so 'twas all chronological.
We'd just left Cherbourg (lovely recreation of a Ken Marschall painting there, too) and I gave up with a sore wrist (watch it, boys!) - I'd filled three A4 sheets before the film even started!


Brilliant sets, though, as you say Jim.
 
May 3, 2005
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Roy-

"The Big Show" on VHS (they haven't gotten around to it yet for DVD ) is available on line from the Autry Store at:

http://www.autrynationalcenter.org/store.php

Admittedly, it's a bit of a "cult movie" for fans of the Centennial and Fair Park at the Dallas Historical Society ....Gene Autry and Kaye Hughes ain't exactly Leonardo and Kate or even R.J. and Audrey . LOL.

My gripe about "Pygmalion" is that it's 1938-ish and not 1912-ish. Wonder what Shaw had to say about the oscilloscope ? Everyone to their own nit picks, which is what this website is all about !

>>Don't be too upset if some people here dump on something you like.<<
 
May 3, 2005
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Roy-

If you should chance to view "The Big Show" be advised of the shocking scene at the very end....HE kisses HER instead of CHAMPION ! :)
 
Jun 8, 2002
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As a fan of 1953's "Titanic", winning the Oscar for "Best Screenplay", I support that film's creative subplot of an American family in crisis set against the factual tragedy. I love Cameron's film, but agree that his subplot is insipid. I believe that the "Best Screenplay" award, if not also the nomination, was denied him, keeping the film from being the all-time Oscar winner.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Brilliant sets, though, as you say Jim.

Yup. Praising a film exclusively for its sets is the cinematic equivalent of saying "the food in that restaurant is disgusting, but what a beautiful room!" or "That book was intolerable but look at tht dust jacket!"

>I once began a list similar to yours Jim, but whilst watching the film so 'twas all chronological

I've not seen the film since its release on video, where I realised that divorced of its bigness it lost whatever impact it once had. So, the list was off the top of my head and not as comprehensive as it might once have been. For me, the film went from drama to comedy during the card game where Leo was trying to pass himself off as...well...masculine~ or at least over 17 years old~ and I found myself thinking "he couldn't successfully hold his own in an argument with a convenience store clerk who short changed him, no less these bit players, if this was real-life" and after that things deteriorated rapidly.
 
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Jon Meadows

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> Praising a film exclusively for its sets is the
> cinematic equivalent of saying "the food in
> that restaurant is disgusting, but what a
> beautiful room!" or "That book was intolerable
> but look at tht dust jacket!"

Actually, film being a visual medium, those comparisons are irrelevant.

In a film like Titanic, where the period and the visuals used to tell the story are crucial, praising the sets, costumes and visual effects is as important as praising the screenplay.

Insipid or not, I'm happy to have a retelling of the sinking that does not begin with a fully-lighted iceberg tearing open the side of a model ship on the wrong side like a knife through butter (and you all know to which version I'm referring). Now THAT was silly.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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>>Actually, film being a visual medium, those comparisons are irrelevant<<

Agreeing, the visuals in James Cameron's Titanic is so far the best and most accurate to a large extent.
 
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