How Cal Would've/Should've Died

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Actually I was glad to see that Cal was able to escape. I don't want to contradict the opinions of the majority, but Cal is definitely my favourite character. First, he's older than Jack and knows better the reality (Jack seems a little boy, talking about his dreams and desires, he should be a poet not an artist - although both jobs are connected) and can give Rose the life she was born for. Why should she want a different life without rules and society restrictions? She had to face the life and accepted the destiny (at the time there were people who born poor and they just faced the situation). Why should Rose be different? So, as you can see, Cal shouldn't have died in any away, at least is my personal opinion.

Regards, João of the principal flaws of Titanic is that Rose is so obnoxious that one instinctively finds oneself rooting for Cal. When a villain slaps a female character and one's initial reaction is "again, and harder" then the script needs some serious restructuring. If Rose thought that being RICH in 1912 was restrictive, her reaction to the restrictions of a life of poverty in 1912 can only be imagined. Let's face it- she was at a disadvantage to the other immigrant women who had marketable life skills, and could not even have found work in a sweatshop.
To me, a gentleman would not have slapped a matter how she behaved. I didn't see an "again, and harder" reaction in her. I saw only a look of contempt for Cal in her eyes.

And to me, I did not find Rose obnoxious in the least. I liked her character and found her to be a strong-willed and determined woman. I like that she didn't conform to what her position in life expected of her.

I don't think she found just being rich in 1912 restrictive as much as she found the expected behavior from someone who was rich in 1912 being restrictive.

She just didn't seem, to me, to be someone who liked to conform to any patterns.

Immigrant women did have many marketable skills. My great-grandmother came here in 1909 and she went to work right away in a silk factory and a factory that made cardboard boxes.

I think Rose could have gotten a job in any factory if need be. She was so determined to let go of her former life that she may have well done that at some point.
>I didn't see an "again, and harder" reaction in her.

No- on the part of the audience. By that time, her Patty Hearst like behavior had become grating and I was only exposed to her for the first 9 hours of the movie. Poor Cal was stuck with the whiny, rude, and pretentious Miss Rose for the whole voyage! On top of which, the discovery that his fiancee was the sort of tramp who has sex with a stranger upon first meeting HAD to have been a bit appalling. So, although I did not condone the violence, I must say that I understood Cal's motives better than I did those of the strumpet with whom he was travelling.

It's not Rose's fault, being that she is fictional. It is the fault of script writers not intelligent~ or perhaps dedicated is a better word~ enough to create a character with anything worthwhile to say. With her...uh...Freud reference, Rose established herself as the cinematic equivalent of the annoying Goth kid we all knew in High School who would memorize the preface of a Required Reading book and then regurgitate it ad nauseum, without ever having gained any original insight to the work. In short- the reference was "painfully obvious," as was the littering of her suite with Postermat Impressionist prints. Ignoring for a minute the quality of Jack's artwork ( his true "moment" was waiting 65 year in the future when the Black Velvet, and Powder Blue Chevy Van With Side Panel Mural craze hit) and just jumping with hobnailed boots on the character itself...the script doesn't bother to tell us ANYTHING about Jack, other than a few clumsy expository lines about his boyhood. He is a cliche even more flat than Rose- if possible- and for all WE know he could well be a serial killer with a good line and laughable artistic talent. So, we have a bratty heiress with a big mouth and indiscriminate, dangerous, sexual habits (Richard Bennett's notorious Syphillis expose Damaged Goods was still 3 years in the future in 1912) pairing off with a sweet talking non-entity of whom she knows LESS than we, the audience, do. All very disturbing.....

>I think Rose could have gotten a job in any factory if need be.

She would have LOVED the 12 hour work day, the almost total lack of sanitary facilities, and the strong arm tactic employed by the owners. Even if she COULD operate a sewing machine, her "mouthy" quality would almost have guaranteed that if her boss did not quickly terminate her, her co-workers, who were notoriously tough women, would have.
It's all about romanticism. People want to believe that only third class people can actually love. And they want fairy tale love. If you were to show the scene with the Strauss's from ANTR to people nowadays, they wouldn't understand that they were seeing a much deeper love and Jack and Rose could probably ever concieve of. Hence, poverty=liberation. Of course Jack would probably have never got on as well as he did in the film in the real world of 1912 if he tried to make a living drawing pictures. God knows Rose would be less keen to "spit like a man" once she got her first-class hands dirty. People eat up the stereotype of the first-class as soulless stepford wives (and husbands)endlessly one-upping each other. As a result, they can understand cookie-cutter characters like Jack, Rose and Cal. And when you invest $200,000,000 in a project, you need a gimmick to ensure sufficient returns.
True! Funny to contemplate however, the world that the idiotic Rose was stepping into. She was stepping from a class in which women HAD opportunity (witness the educational and career achievements of many of the Titanic's first and second class women) into the one strata of 1912 society that almost guaranteed a life of drudgery. One of the things that bugs me about the film is that with four or five additional lines, Rose COULD have become a sympathetic character~ instead of the moronic plot device of having Classics of Impressionism posters dropped down in her suite to indicate "she's an intellectual!" could not she have been portrayed as a passionate would-be artist? It would have given her and Jack (after she stopped laughing at the quality of his artwork as shown onscreen, of course) something in common, other than horniness, on which to base a relationship. Likewise, had Rose been allowed to be a suffragette, at least her mouthy annoying traits could have been channeled towards some larger goal that "I am Rose and I am discontent!" Continuing with the thought~ Rose the thwarted intellect could have worked too: denied college in favor of an arranged marriage to Cal, she meets Jack and decides to risk it all....etc....etc....etc..... ANY of these things could have been achieved with fewer than five lines incorporated into scenes actually shot for the film (the whole denied college theme would have worked well in the stupid "Let's show her being strapped into a corset to indicate to the chimps in our audience that...SHE'S CORSETED BY HER LIFE! Brilliant! Let's run with it!" segment) sum it all up....the reason why I came to hate the character and found myself rooting for Cal, is that Rose as written seems to have no actual interest other than "Rose," making her conflict (and I use the term loosely) seem more like the tantrum of an obnoxious brat, and therefore quite irritating rather than sympathetic.

BTW- Did you notice the situational irony of the part where she makes eye contact with the doomed blond woman at the end? We commented, aloud, amid the sobs of our fellow audience members "Hey! I got out of TWO lifeboats that you were denied the opportunity to get in!" Yup. The stupid brat who earlier commented to Andrews (how clever!) that there was not enough lifeboat space, got out of two of them WITHOUT giving up her space to someone. Making her character, as written, seem incredibly soulless. How hard would it have been to give Rose one extra line ("Here!") as she propelled some other passenger towards the seat she was giving up? Instead, one cannot escape the fact that Rose cared enough to comment on the lack of lifeboat space but did not care enough about her fellow human beings to make sure that one occupied the space that SHE did not want.

>And when you invest $200,000,000 in a project, you need a gimmick to ensure sufficient returns.

Unfortunately, Hollywood's brains seemed to have softened post 1980. The 1970s were strewn with films that somehow managed to be commercial and have audience appeal beyond that aimed at the lowest common denominator. What I loathed and resented about Titanic is that the elements of a really first class movie were all there and were overlooked in favor of the obvious and stupid.

>People eat up the stereotype of the first-class as soulless Stepford wives

This is the only point I disagree with you on, Peter! I work for a designer in the quaint town in which Ira Levin once lived, and on which he based Stepford....and as a denizen of Stepford I can tell you that both the book and original film are eerily on target! Don't know if you are familar with the film, but I had a disconcerting experience a few years back with a customer who seemed to be malfunctioning in much the same way that Mrs. "I'll Just DIE If I Don't Get This Recipe" did in the film, and it got me thinking if maybe, just possibly, it was all truer tahn we knew. And Stepford is NOT a stereotype.
(Begins mumbling "I'll just DIE if I dont get this recipe....")
And, a final thought. Improbability aside, the plot device of having her sneak off the ship to her new life at the end is pretty lame. In a totally old-Hollywood "Big Scene For The Oscar Bid" way, having Rose come face to face with her mother and Cal, and square her shoulders before wordlessly walking away from them- in addition to being a scene that Susan Hayward would have killed to do~ would at least have shown that she developed SOME sense of determination from her interlude with Jack. Why have her sneak when she doesn't have to?

Getting back to the theme of this thread~ Cal should have been paired off with Evelyn Nesbit. Admittedly a stupid twist ending, but still smarter than 99% of the actual script.
I'm with you on that, Jim...I thought Cal showed a lot of sensitivity towards Rose - not that he wasn't also guilty of the Spoiled Rich Kid Syndrome (evidenced by his tossing the table at breakfast) but his moment alone in their suite when he lovingly begged her to open her heart to him - that was romantic! Rose didn't deserve him. I would have tossed the table as well if my fiancee had gone dancing and carousing with another woman. Sure, Mom was a basket case and filled with panic - I would be too if my daughter flirted with a penniless stranger while she's engaged to a very nice wealthy man who loves her. And I think Cal did love her when they were alone together at home at the end of the day.
And I agree about the lifeboats - and also that the young penniless stranger could have saved himself on that plank of wood instead of her! She "killed" three passengers that night! All because of her spoiled and selfish impulses. No, as much as I adore Kate Winslet, I did not like Rose DeWitt-Bukater at all! Paris Hilton's role model, I'm assuming.

Though I would love to have had her wardrobe!

>All because of her spoiled and selfish impulses.

I DO get a laugh out of the part where Rose- supposedly freed of her shackles- bellows out "I'm tired of being polite!" and there is no one around to ask "When have you ever been?"

Surely you've noticed that Cal's supposedly unattractive traits are EXACTLY the same ones that Rose's character is endowed with! Having him suddenly snap and run through the ship firing a gun was up there with "This is where we met"; the chained to a pipe suspense building plot device, and the lightbulbs burning under water, in terms of groan out loud stupidity. But, what does one expect from a movie in which an animated ship sails into the tackiest sunset since Gone With the Wind?

Had Rose taken the time to read or watch Looking For Mr. Goodbar (yes, yes, I know....but if Jack can quote Bob Dylan then Rose can be aware of a fact-based novel from the 1970s) she would have been more aware of how suicidally stupid her behavior with Jack the Stranger was. Salvarsan was still a few years in the future; having one's infected genitals daubed with mercury was still the only option, and unwed mothers faced a broad option of equally unappealing choices in 1912. All of which Rose would have known unless she was a complete idiot. And 'though the script DOES allow for that, I'll be generous and assume that she wasn't. So, either the filmmaker endowed her with traits more common to the 1970s (consequence free sex) knowingly making her an anachronism in the hopes for greater audience identification, or he chose to make her suicidally self-loathing along the lines of the central character in Goodbar, perhaps endowing the character with more depth than for which I give him credit! There was a LOT more than alleged "Victorian prudishness" that made women of Rose's era reluctant to hop into bed with complete strangers and, as written, Rose can be seen as being "out of her era" and sluttish, or "of her era" and stupid. But, at least poor Cal did not have to face the consequences of "One night with Venus, one lifetime with Mercury" as Rose may have.
Which begs the claim that the Titanic was not brought down by ice, but by...THE KRACKEN!!!


(who's probably seen Dead Man's Chest 'way too many times...yet not enough.)
Dead Man's Chest annoyed me. The Kracken ain't no squid (hark at the writer usin' double negatives!), and Davey Jones is no captain of no Flying Pot Smoker.

Other than that, 'twas good.
Do you guys mean the Kraken? Or maybe Jack Kracken the heavyweight, who was floored by Joe Louis but could have sorted little Jack Sparrow, no problem. :)

sharon rutman

Former Member
I'm surprised that post-Titanic Cal wasn't tarred as a coward. First Class Anglo Saxon men were supposed to go down with the ship and stare death in the face without flinching. First class males who did survive had some serious splaining to do. Bruce Ismay was ostracized and pilloried for the rest of his life. The same punishment should have been meted out to Cal. He should have been cut off from polite society and never have been heard from again.
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