I think several of these points were just perceptions on your part. For example, I never felt Gracie was portrayed negatively in the slightest. He seemed warm, not condescending, etc. I'm not sure where you get that he was portrayed as a snob and coward? This is why I say this is an example of perception. Not facts.
And Cameron never portrayed Jack as being real, so that point is irrelevant.
Cameron's portrayal of Fleet & Lee being distracted is based on his opinion that they may have been distracted momentarily while searching for the bergs. Of course he isn't saying that a loving couple did it. He just believes something perhaps distracted them. He could be right or he could be wrong. I'd say it falls within the acceptable range of opinion concerning this event. Again, I believe this is a point of opinion about a fact.
Just a couple of examples. I have no interest in getting people who hate the film to like it. But I just wanted to give you my feedback.
....Thank you, Mary! About time I got an ally! So true, complaining that Jack and Rose are in the film is like complaining about the Nazi subtext and a fictional German Officer in the 1943 version. Sheesh!
My only complaint about Colonel Gracie in both Cameron's and ANTR films is that he is either portrayed as a jolly old fat guy or a feeble old man. In reality, Colonel Gracie was an energetic and athletic man.
I'm on the fence about this. I can see Richard's side, his understanding, and where he's coming from.
Yet at the same time the movie is only fiction. If you try to find truth in a fictional story you're only going to drive yourself crazy. You can find bits and pieces of truth but you won't always find the exact truth. We only have written and verbal record to go on for the events. Since time machines haven’t been invented yet that’s all we have to go on. And when they are invented remember don’t step on that butterfly!
It's been eons since I've last seen Cameron's Titanic and I don't remember that much about the Colonel Gracie character.
I found it disappointing that Isidor and Ida Strauss had so many of their scenes cut. I remember reading that they both died together on the decks. Had the scenes cut from the Irish mother and her children to other people where the water was flooding in to the Strausses on the deck it would've cut with the flow of the scenes. True, it was entirely creative license but it made for good drama and a moving scene.
Movie!Murdoch and the bribe seem to be a never ending debate. Some say he willingly took the bribe while others say he gave Cal a look of disgust but was too busy with the lifeboats to throw the money back at him.
Titanic came out when I was fifteen and I remember leaving the theater and my Dad asking me how Murdoch died. I told him that it's strongly believed Murdoch fell overboard when the ship lurched. He must've drowned or froze to death.
When it came to the mentioning of the bribe Dad said something that I thought was interesting. True he may have a selective memory but this is the way he also saw it. He said, "I believe Murdoch's suicide was horribly out of place and James Cameron should very well apologize to the family for it.
"I may be drawn and quartered for this but by movie Murdoch committing suicide it said to me that he couldn't live with what he was doing. He couldn't live with himself knowing that no matter what he did innocent people were going to die. No matter what he did or didn't do he knew innocent people were going to die and he couldn't stop it.
"Perhaps I'm reading too much into this...movie Murdoch looked like he had a big heart and Titanic's sinking pained him greatly. If he could have he would’ve stood on the ocean floor just to hold the ship up until help arrived.
"If it were me in his place I don't know if I'd do the same thing. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I knowingly sent at least 1,000 people to their deaths."
I don't know if real life Fleet and Lee could have or were distracted momentarly. I read in one book that the iceberg was still "black ice" meaning it was still coated in sea water making it very difficult to spot it. Also with the calm sea it was even more difficult to see the iceberg. It's one of those things you wouldn't notice until it was directly on top of you.
With the casting I think a lot of it for rather small parts it was "I like your looks. Go over there, stand still, and say such and such lines when your cue comes."
If memory serves one of the men who played the officers was also a crew member. I think he was with the lighting or the cameras.
My great-uncle used to work in films when he was younger. He said he'd sometimes be asked to drop what he was doing and walk across a room because he "was there" and they just needed someone.
Unfortunate line is sometimes it just comes down to the bottom dollar. If someone's already standing there that person is likely to be used so that the production crew doesn't have go to out and search for someone who looks right.
Even when I was fifteen and saw Titanic for the first time in 1997 I didn't get the feeling that Jack was the "hero" of the movie. He didn't strike me as the main hero. To me the heroes were the men and women who tried to save the lives of others. I always saw Ida Strauss as one of the bravest women aboard the ship.
I was disappointed that we didn't see more of Captain Rostron or the Carpathia. That would've been a very nice touch to the end of the movie and would've brought it all together.
True, you're going to get the folks that think that Jack and Rose are real. I'm still going to occasionally hear complaints from disappointed people that they didn't see Rose's mirror in any Titanic artifact exhibits. There's always going to be at least one person who thinks the movie is real. You can't escape that one person even if you move to Antarctica.
However, on the flip side Cameron's Titanic might have been a blessing in disguise. It has gotten more people interested in the subject.
When I was still in my teens I knew a lady who owned a small bookstore. After Titanic came out she told me there was such a demand for information on the real Titanic she could barely keep up with the special orders.
Rather long missive short give Richard his due for his passion on the subject. He works hard at what he does and is good at it.
When it comes to the subject of the movies we've got to agree that we all have different opinions and agree to disagree.
"I'm not sure where you get that he was portrayed as a snob and coward?"
Cameron referred to Gracie as a "blow hard" right in the script, but I did not mean to imply that the film depicted him as a coward. In fact, we saw nothing of his heroisim during the sinking in the final cut so he just vanishes in the film after hobnobbing with (cough) Cal (choke) Hockley a little bit.
"And Cameron never portrayed Jack as being real, so that point is irrelevant."
He also did a very poor job making sure people did not *assume* Jack was real, though. And inadvertenly birthed yet another Titanic myth.
He also omitted Arthur Rostron *entirely* from the script and finished film, so what other conclusion could people unaware of the truth draw other than that Jack Dawson was the Titanic's greatest hero?
"Cameron's portrayal of Fleet & Lee being distracted is based on his opinion that they may have been distracted momentarily while searching for the bergs."
This opinion of his, however, has not so much as a shred of possible evidence to back it up. Unless he chose to believe some "yellow journalisim" account that claims they did.
In my opinion, such theroies are more wild than acceptable.
Wait, wait, wait!!!!!! Many Titanic movies don't mention the Carpathia rescue! And Rostron is the "true" hero ONLY in your opinion as well! What about Officer Lowe, the only man to head back and rescue those in the water? Or Officers Wilde and Murdoch, loading the boats until the end, with little concern to their own survival. Ever heard of Wallace Hartley and his band?
What exactly did Jack do that was so heroic in the movie? Absolutely zilch! If anyone acts overtly "heroic" is Rose, the true protagonist of the film.
Also, by your logic, EVERY historical fiction film like "Gone With the Wind" or "From Here to Eternity" has to have a gigantic subtitle flash throughout the whole movie: "NOT REAL PEOPLE!!!"
To say that Cameron had to go out of his to make sure everyone knew his subplot was fiction is pure nonsense! In fact, I can't believe I'm even arguing this, I feel like fell through the rabbit hole into a Wonderland where logic doesn't apply.
*takes deep breaths in order to stop hyper-ventilating*
It is important to remember that this is just a movie. I can't think of a single movie off the top of my head that was purely factual. Any movie based on a true story is just that ... "based" on a true story. There are always elements of a movie that are fictitious. Even the most respected of documentaries have their fake elements added in post-production. Everyone is, of course, entitled to his or her own opinion and kudos to them for expressing them in a public forum.
That said, I'd like to express my opinion on the matter. I respect where you're coming from, Richard. Cameron's movie is widely regarded as entirely factual, especially with the hype that was surrounding it and the unprecedented attention to detail that was supposedly entirely accurate. As we all know, however, that wasn't the case, and it's great that someone has the guts to put it out in the open some of the things wrong with it.
However, I do agree with what some other people said: some of these points are just opinions. My main objection is your statement on Capt. Rostron. He *was* a hero, but it is your personal opinion that he was *the* hero of that night. Also, regardless of how Cameron may have portrayed Murdoch - and regardless of how others read that portrayal of Murdoch - Cameron himself said in the DVD commentary that Murdoch displayed real heroism - it's obvious he respects Murdoch's assistance to the passengers and crew. He did take a lot of criticism for the suicide scene, but it was based on sketchy testimony (forgive me here, I am not a passenger expert, so I could very well be mistaken). As you stated yourself, "there is nothing concrete that it was Murdoch" -- but, there is nothing concrete that it wasn't. Anyways, Cameron did apologize for that portrayal, donating money and props to those who protested the scene.
I also have discussed the lookouts situation in another topic - the illustrated screenplay states that Cameron used the Jack and Rose romance to distract the lookouts. It was nothing more than artistic license. This was Cameron's film, and as the auteur he is entitled to provide what he thinks will best suit the mood of the film. If he wanted to be purely accurate he would have done that, but he chose a fictitious romance to engage audiences who are not passionately familiar with the story - which I'm guessing is a very, very large percentage of the population.
As I said before, this isn't my area of expertise. I'm more into the technical kind of stuff. I just thought I'd throw in my two cents on the subject.
Either way, though, congratulations on getting published and recognized. Hopefully several of those who read your article will be inspired to learn more and will come visit us here!
However, it is hands-down that Rostron was certainly the greatest hero of the night for the very reason that he was pretty much nominated that by acclaim in the immediate aftermath of the sinking.
Think of it. Who else got more fan mail, and gifts from admirers after the sinking?
Who got rounds of hearty applause when thanked by the British Inquiry?
Who brought a performance by Al Jolson to a complete halt when Jolson himself mentioned Rostron was in addendance at his concert in New York in May of 1912? One which made the crowd go utterly wild and keep demanding a speech until they finally got one?
Who got a Congressional Gold Medal for his participation in the sinking?
Who toured the floor of the US Senate with Senator William Alden Smith meeting all the senators?
Who recieved a loving cup from the survivors?
Who also got other awards and honors in abundance afterward?
I cannot think of any other survivor, even Lowe and Lightoller, who got that. Even though they too deserved recognition (and I do believe Lowe recieved a watch from his hometown in honor of his bravery.)
Now Rostron himself admitted to being somewhat off-put by all the acclaim, so it never went to his head. But based on the evidence of that acclaim, acclaim all stemming from his stirring performance that night, it is not so much opinion but forgotten fact that he was the greatest hero. There is simply no other conclusion that fits the above facts.
Without Rostron so much as being glimpsed in the movie, well, the Carpathia became more or less just a magic nautical chariot to carry the bereaved princess to New York from where her prince died. And -again- with the film utterly silent as to Rostron, and the preponderence of time lavished on Jack's disaster movie save-the-girl antics, what else could be drawn other than that he was the biggest hero of the sinking?
Let those who trashed Joe Dawson's grave in Halifax speak as to that gross misconception.
>>....Thank you, Mary! About time I got an ally!<<
Mmmmmmmmmm....let's not lose focus on what the real issue it. This isn't about "Allies" or anything like that.
The issue in controversy is the asserted accuracy of the film itself, and that much is certainly fair game for discussion and debate since the film was promoted as such. Richard makes some completely valid points here and uses the real history to do so.
>>But you must admit the whole "Jack displaces Captain Rostron" argument is a bit odd!<<
How many times do you see Captain Rostron mentioned in the movie in any context? In any event, let's not lose sight of the fact that the real issue here is the purported accuracy of the film. If it had been pitched as a fantasy set in 1912, I doubt if anybody would have given it a second thought.
It wasn't, and pointing that out isn't quibbling over semantics. That's pointing out the reality.
True, rather than this becoming complaint thread #29 about how awful Cameron's film is...instead of discussing it outright.
The film isn't ABOUT the Titanic. It's about two people who fall in love on the Titanic and fight to survive a near-impossible situation. It's the same type of film as the 1953 Titanic, it uses the Titanic as a setting. The Carpathia rescue didn't figure into the story that Cameron was telling, which was the love story between Jack and Rose.
But, I'm not sure how Jack was made a "hero". He didn't load all of the boats, send wireless messages, and pilot the rescue ships. He didn't do anything really heroic. He saved another fictional character and that's the only impact he had on the action.
...and I would say that there wasn't one hero the night of April 14/15, there were many. Rostron did not single-handedly save the day. He was one of many people whose acts of kindness and bravery contributed to the saving of 700 lives.
"Hero" in terms of a film character in the leading role is not to be taken in it's common definition as applied to persons defined in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary as "a man admired for his achievements and qualities" and "one that shows great courage"
The dictionary also defines "Hero" as
"the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work"
In this sense, the character of Jack is most definitely and literally the "hero" of Cameron's Titanic.
"But the rest of the movie was made with much historical accuracy, she said, and she [Cheryl Mure] recommends it to those wanting a pop culture look at the disaster. (The sinking scene might be too frightening for young children, she said.)"
I think some of those points are quite valid, though concise.
1997's film was particularly Hollywood-ified, although in some respects it is excusable. For example, The Great Escape would never have proved so popular internationally (and in America, particularly) if they had stuck to the hard, historical facts and denied Steve McQueen's insistence on a motorcycle chase.
Having said that, Murdoch having killed himself and a couple of passengers should never have been allowed - particularly since his family pleaded with Cameron and the production team to cut it from the final edit.