Movie vs Historical


Shane Worthy

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Aug 12, 2004
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Greetings all!
I just wanted to mention one innacuracy (Out of many...I know) that I have often overlooked. On the ode of the ship sequence, before Jack hollared his King of the World line, there is an officer mistake. Smith tells Murdoch to take the ship to sea.
But in reality, this would have taken place at around 3:30 pm, when Titanic was passing the Old Head of Kinsale and headed out to open sea. At this time, the officers in command would be Wilde, whom started his watch at 2:00 pm, ending at 6:00 pm, when Lightoller takes over. Murdoch's shift had begun at 10:00 am and was over at 2:00pm.
Is my information correct?
All Ahead Full!
Shane N. Worthy
 

Matt Simons

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Mar 12, 2005
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I don't understand why Cameron, with all his knowlledge of Titanic, made so many inaccurate mistakes, espeacilly with help from Lynch and Marschall. Too much use of dramatic license in my opinion.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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But then again, its not easy to correct and identify the mistakes before releasing the movie, how many times have we noticed our mistakes only after it has been done?
 
Jun 12, 2004
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It's called hindsight, Jeremy, and that's much how we learned about the real Titanic tragedy. Unfortunately, the mistakes there caused 1, 496 deaths.
 
Feb 24, 2004
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It's also called, as Michael correctly pointed out, poetic license. Imagine a non-Titanic audience (which buys most of the tickets, BTW) trying to keep track of all those people and all those events. Story compression and the occasional historical fudge become necessary evils, even if we buffs don't like it.

One thing is for certain: Don't go to the movies to learn history.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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The non-Titanics wouldn't notice the difference anyway. How could they know, and why should we expect them to do so? It's the fact the we know all too well the myth from the truth (or what is still speculative) that allows us to notice these things and to know what to look for, that makes us say, "yeah, right!" It's not only the movie-makers having erred, but also that fact that we have an advantage, which makes the movies so erroneous. Ongoing research is that which gradually straightens it all out. Before 1985, Titanic was in one piece. Now, the movie-makers go out of their way to emphasize that fact through spectacular special effects and such. If we weren't there to say, "that's wrong, and that's wrong...and that's not exactly right," the movies wouldn't be getting closer in sync with the truth.

That's my take on it, anyway.
 
Feb 24, 2004
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I just can't get all that bent out of shape over movies and their inherent limitations. I'll never agree totally with what they show anyhow.

What really fries me are the authors and so-called researchers who continue to dump book after book, and documentary after documentary, on the unsuspecting public without keeping themselves current on the latest research and discoveries.

Roy
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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>>What really fries me are the authors and so-called researchers who continue to dump book after book, and documentary after documentary, on the unsuspecting public without keeping themselves current on the latest research and discoveries.<<

Agreed!
 

George Heiss

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Aug 1, 2005
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Hello Mark & Matt, I have noticed the fact too that there were quite a bit of inaccuracies in James Cameron's film. One thing that bothered me just happened to be the climactic point of the film, the breaking up of the ship. I think Cameron over riched it Hollywood style. Yes, it was spectacular, yes it was interesting. I myself enjoyed the scene and the work Cameron put into the scene...or the whole film for that matter. But historically, the scene still was not correct. Mark, take what you said above...before the discovery of the Titanic in 1985, it was largely accepted by eye-witnesses that the ship sank whole. Even Lightoller himself said so. However, there were eye witnesses that did see the truth and that the ship DID in fact break up. But by and large they were dismissed because they were in the minority. Most of the survivors actually DIDN'T see the breakup. So it is given that the breakup mostly occured just at or just below the water. In Cameron's version, the ship clearly splits way above the water and ALL the funnels break off. In the movie this is so obvious and blatant that if it were the case in real life, just about all the survivors would have seen it. Also historically it is given that only one of the funnels broke off above the surface. Then there is the final plunge. Again JC's version is spectacular and well done, but still, the stern didn't rise to 90 degrees. It was no where near that according to witnesses. Even in the movie "A Night To Remember", the angle of decent was thought to be excessive. So I have mixed feelings about the scene. Yes, it does depict the newer information that the Titanic did break up at the surface in a very interesting way. But at the same time Cameron did it with such flambouyancy that it does push the limits on what is historically accepted as fact based on eye witnesses. I even believe that to a certain extent even "A Night To Remember" is the more accurate of the two films. To this day, I prefer that film over Cameron's version. But true, if Cameron did stick to tride and true detail, what would have? Another "A Night To Remember", but updated a bit and colorized. Clearly that is not what Cameron was shooting for and that wouldn't have won him all those awards. So it boils down to us Titanic buffs that it is a like it or lump it situation when it comes to inaccuracies the film. So overall I do come to accept both films as they are.
 

George Heiss

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Addendum to what I written above.

I have discovered new information as to what I originally said above. Much I found on this site. However it does contradict alot of what I previously know or accept as fact. So I do 'somewhat' retract what I said about Jim Cameron overblowing the breakup scene in the movie. It could be that he based it on this new evidence that I found as much of his depiction of the breakup scene can be traced to this information I found. But again it is contrary information. As I am finding out there is alot of grey areas about Titanic and finding new contradictory information certainly doesn't help things, and I find myself more and more trying to separate what is true and what is not.
 
J

Jeffrey Word

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George I wouldn't say you were really wrong with your first post. Really if you think about it, it was extremely dark that night and if you were in a lifeboat at the distance away from the ship that they are all said to have been, you wouldn't exactly be able to make out much but shadows and maybe an outline of the ship against the sky. A lot of survivors said that's all they could see once the ships lights went out. So being able to see the break up happen, and with everything happening so fast, well to them it was happening fast, it would be hard to completely recollect what anybody saw a 'shadow' do in the water. More than likely, the survivors that actually ended up in the water next to the ship, I would think, would be the more reliable source for information as far as the ships final moments. Simply because they were close to it.

However, being that close to something so huge can really throw you off too. Especially when you're being "stabbed by a thousand knives" swimming in that water with the waves slapping you in the face, it'd be hard to make out anything and then especially to REMEMBER it with 100% accuracy.

I guess the whole point of this post is that I feel that the "fine details" of the break-up and final plunge are a very much open topic to discussion. And an interesting discussion. People can go on forever about the physics of it, laws of nature, gravity, etc.

I guess the sad fact, with so many different/conflicting accounts by many reliable survivor sources, nobody really knows EXACTLY what that last 4-5 minutes was like. The baker, can't remember his name right off hand, the one that was reportedly drunk through the whole thing, said that he climbed to the outside rail of the poop deck and rode it straight down like an elevator into the sea. By his account that puts it perfectly vertical. People say the rudder and propellers were barely out of the water when the stern finally slid into the sea, smoothly, I might add, with no break-up. I just find all the theories very interesting and love to hear people's opinions on the subject. Hope to hear more from you too George!

Jeff.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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Hi George,

There are few places on the net where you can actually read the exact transcripts from the Senate hearings of the passengers testimony. It is a lot to read through but VERY enlightening! Many passengers and crew alike testified that the ship broke in two before sinking and that the ships stern reached a 90 degree angle before the slow wakeless plunge.

I was shocked to see that the majority of the people saw it this way, not the way Lightoller reported it. People like Gracie also were incorrect in their testimony only because they were under water (like Lightoller) swimming for their lives! But as Lightoller said, "A lot of whitewash was used in those hearings"

Oh! the crew testimony also mentioned the coal fire several times too. Amazing stuff that is fully documented yet lost in history because most people only read what is published in popular books.
 

George Heiss

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Aug 1, 2005
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Hello Jeff, David

Well, I found some information here the other day which caused me to make the addendum post above. This site has grown in leaps and bound since James Cameron's movie. Back then this site was 'ok', but now I see that this is a regular gathering place for all Titanic enthusiasts alike.

David, I did read some of the Testimonials here and it appears that there is alot more information not presented then what I originally read. Much of the information I am reading now wasn't available at the time I originally collected. So bascially I am retracting my comments. Yes, more then likely James Cameron DID add his Hollywood flair to the film...but it could be more accurate than I was lead to believe. Now I see there are many more testimonials saying that the Titanic did raise up and sink vertically. Yet much of the information I had prior stated that it sank more like that in the movie "A Night To Remember". Here I found out there was much more to Lightollers testimony. The information I had was truncated and in many different places. Also there is alot of grey areas. So much of the new information I am finding out now is that a great number of the people were really not sure what happened. As Jeff stated, there was the darkness, the pain and agony from those in the water as well as everyone probably being half numb from the cold anyway. Also most of the testimonials are from those that were anywhere from 1 to 2 football field's distance away from the sinking ship. But as you pointed out with "whitewash", I am lead to believe that there very well could have been an initial coverup to perhaps protect the interests of the White Star Line. Also, I see more testimonials based on what people heard as well as seen. And much of this was not brought to light earlier (at least not to me and my prior readings). Yet, by and large, a greatest majority of those that testified really were not sure what happened. So all in all there is still much brushing up I have to on my part.

Jeff, yes, there is alot of controversy about the angle of descent. I could very well say to that even though the baker was riding the outside of the rails, he could very well have, hung on if the angle was about 45 deg or greater. But by and large I MOSTLY heard that the Titanic's stern reached somewhere a little bit above this figure. I guess the actual angle may never be known. I guess now I will take it there it was more than 45 but perhaps less than 90. But as you mentioned because of the cold and the darkness and the shear scale and magnitude of the sinking, it could affect the accuracy by one which testifies. I mean if you do think about...here you have the largest man made moving object that is rearing up on end like a huge building hundreds of feet in the air. Typically not what you would think of how a ship would sink at the time. So it must have been an awful spectical to behold to say the least. Also for those in the water like Lightoller, the viewing angle would make a tremendous difference as well. I guess it is one of those things that we may never fully know. Yes, for the longest time, I thought the depictions in Walter Lords book as well as the Movie "A Night To Remember" were perhaps the most accurate. But there is alot of new information to take a look at now.

Yes, Jeff, you will be hearing more from me. I can see that you and Mike are regulars here and I have seen posts from both you and him scattered about here and there.

As for myself, I will say that I do not consider myself a die hard Titanic nut as it doesn't consume my life as I do have many many more interests. But I am a fan enough to know a good portion of it's history. I do have a small collection of Titanic reproduction items as well. I also have a nice 32" long wooden model of the ship in my livingroom. As for books...well, I lost count. I have alot of books on the Titanic. One of my favorites is the Ken Marschall picture book (title escapes me at the moment). His artistry and detailing is absolutely stunning. I refer to that picture many times.

Oh, Jeff...or anyone for that matter. Do you know where I can get a really detailed copy of the deck plans? I have a really good one on my computer and also on my James Cameron Titanic Explorer CD-Rom. But I want a large poster that I can put on my wall. I'd like to be able to point out parts and rooms on the ship at a glance. The original H&W plans that are printed in books are old, small and lack the detail. I am pretty sure someone has redone these by now. Yes? I mean if they have been redone for computer, they should have a good updated poster sized printed version, right?

Is there a section here in E. Titanica that I could perhaps refer to?

Geo
 
Sep 26, 2009
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I don't know if this topic has been discussed before, but what about all those fire engine red fire "extinguishers?" cones in the third class hallways? I don't recall ever reading about them, so does anyone know if those red cones were actually on the real Titanic? Robert H. Gibbons
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Robert,

The conical extinguishers are correct for the period, but so too are smaller, cylindrical ones. There is no photographic evidence of what was used down in the working or third-class alleyways. There is a photo of Olympic's reception area that reveals one of the cylindrical extinguishers, but that's also a fancier area. So, to answer your question...we don't know.

I spent some time researching this with Ken Marschall. We corresponded with a couple of Fire Museums in the UK. Essentially, we came up empty-handed....those conical extinguishers could have been used and may not have been used aboard Titanic.

I got involved in the research because I was building my re-creation of the Marconi Silent Room. I originally put an extinguisher there, but eventually was convinced to replace it with fire buckets full of sand.

Parks
 

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