Rose's Mother Ruth


Dec 27, 2006
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Frances Fisher basically plays the mother role that Barbara Stanwyck played in the 1953 Titanic film. Both actresses were in their mid-forties and both characters they played always gave those looks whether disapproving or not. Ruth (Frances Fisher) is portrayed as unsympathetic at times while Julia (Barbara Stanwyck) is portrayed as sympathetic. I think Barbara Stanwyck was much better and especially when she was out in the life boat looking out at the ship, she showed more emotion compared to Frances Fisher who seems (when there are shots of her looking out at the ship sinking) to be emotionless. She's looking at something which is suppose to be the Titanic sinking but there doesn't seem to be the genuine emotion that Barbara Stanwyck showed in the 53 film. The scene in the 53 film when Julia is given her sons gloves and she looks out at the ship, she has tears in her eyes. She really does care that her son is on board, her words "Oh, Norman, my poor little boy". While with Frances Fisher the first shot you see of her character Ruth sitting in the life boat next to Molly Brown (who says "now there's something you don't see every day) she doesn't even show anything really, her expression and the later ones are pretty much blank. Like she doesn't care that her daughter is on board. Now I know that these are two different films, two different actresses but the characters they play are very similar.
 

Mark Webster

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Dec 24, 2005
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I hav'nt seen the 1953 titanic so I cant really talk about that or which performer was better.

However I felt that Ruth did show a fair bit of emotion as she watched Titanic sink. I don't feel though that it was emotion as in 'oh my god, my poor baby girl' and tears flooding from her eyes because rose might die, but emotion as in shock and 'I am about to lose everything Iv ever owned and sink into a world of poverty'. Ruth showed through the film that she didnt love Rose as much as she loved her money. She was forcing her daughter to marry a man Rose evidently detested, and at one point it appeared she even acted out a little childish cry baby scene to twist Rose round her finger. Although theres moments where I wondered was that concern for Rose rather than the money, i.e when she calls Rose back as lifeboat is lowered, and in the deleted extension of the Carpathia scene.
 

Brian Ahern

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Dec 19, 2002
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I respectfully disagree.

I don't think Ruth is thinking of money while she's watching the ship sinks. I think she does show emotion in the shot we see of her in the lifeboat, and I think it's the natural mixture of an endless number of emotions - fear, shock, grief, horror.

Ruth was a woman without money and a daughter to think about in 1912 - a very frightening thing to be. Looking for a eligible husband for her daughter was the only option she could see. She was just doing for her daughter as had probably done for her. I think flashes of tenderness from Ruth to Rose are apparent throughout the movie.

My guess has always been that Ruth is effectively beaten after believing her daughter lost. Maybe Cal helped her out in some modest way, maybe not. I think of her proud and lonely in some little room somewhere away from Philadelphia; and, yes, I do think losing Rose will be no small amount of pain to her throughout her life.
 

Sam Brannigan

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Feb 24, 2007
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When you think about it, for Rose to leave her mother thinking she had perished for the rest of her life was a pretty despicable thing to do.

Her mother was only looking out for them both, albeit in a clumsy, desperate and selfish way.

She didn't deserve to be punished so terribly for that.

Also, Jack basically muscled himself in on another man's fiancee - not very nice.

When you scratch the surface they were a couple of nasty, selfish SOB's who were no better than Cal.
 
Aug 2, 2006
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They understood what was happening to Titanic. Unlike Ruth and Cal who wanted the boats to be seated by class and said only the better half would survive. They were the selfish ones.

On another note. 95 years ago tonight changed the lives of 2200 people forever. Bless them all.
 

Sam Brannigan

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Feb 24, 2007
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Hi Grant.

As you rightly said, they understood what was happening to the ship - which makes it even more unforgivable that Rose took a seat that could have saved someone else in the lifeboat, and then jumped out.
I would argue that Cal and Ruth in particular were still clutching to the comfortable notions of their place in society while their world was crumbling around them - nasty, yes, but understandable in the circumstances.
 

Mark Webster

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Dec 24, 2005
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Don't get me wrong with my last post, I am not at all stating that Rose and Ruth hated each other, you can dislike someone but love them at the same time. I think that it was shown in the end that Ruth realised her mistakes too late. Realistically though I am certain she would have been watching the sinking with the thoughts that she would lose her daughter...and at some point the thought would occur, that means I'm going to lose my last chance for money. This would occur to her at some point, because it was one of her main goals during the film, to keep her social standards high and respectable, have her daughter marry Cal, despite her daughters feelings, and not become 'a seam mistress'.
Of course she loved Rose...I don't think she realised how much she loved her until the ship went down and she thought Rose died, but naturally there is more than one emotion in a person at a time, and the selfish streak would be mixed in there with all the other hideous feelings she felt that night.

As previously sated it was cruel of Rose to leave her mother, she would have guessed the fate that befell Ruth. If we think about it Rose obviously disliked her mother (as well as her surroundings) to just leave them all and pretend she was dead. She also loved her mother, shown through the fact she nearly gives up Jack and rarely mentions a complaint about marrying Cal. Rose surely must have felt that Ruth did'nt love her in order for her to make her change at the end of the film, and yet I am certain that the love would still be there too.

Sorry if I'm going on, just felt I was'nt too clear in previous statement. I am of the opinion we don't see Ruth in floods of tears as Titanic sinks because she is wracked with emotion, not only for her daughter, but for the selfish, shocked, and disbelieving feelings someone would suffer in such circumstances. Its also probable that she cried herself to bed every night after the truth of what she had seen had sunk in.
 

Matthew Smith

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Mar 12, 2006
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I don't think you should really compare the two. By the way mark I'm a bit of a punctuation geek; wasn't isn't spelt like was'nt.
 
May 3, 2005
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>>I don't think you should really compare the two. By the way mark I'm a bit of a punctuation geek; wasn't isn't spelt like was'nt.<<

Possibly.... But I don't think you can deny the fact that Barbara Stanwyck had a better track record than Frances Fisher...and I'd rate Clifton Webb over Billy Zane any day....but most certainly Laurence Naismith or Bernard Hill over Bryan Aherne....Kathy Bates (she can't all be bad...after, all she studied acting at SMU in University Park, Texas, no less ! :)...maybe a close tie with Tucker Mc Guire, but definitely over Thelma Ritter...et cetera, et cetera and so forth ! :)

So much for the critical review...Eat your heart out , Movie Critic and "Titanic (1953)" Commentator, Richard Shickel ! :)
 
1) Do you think that Cal provided for Ruth? Or Ruth could have found a husband for herself?

2) I don't think we can blame Ruth for her behavior. She was brought up around money and society. It was her nature. Also, marriage was not always for love (and still isn't). This was a marriage of necessity and everyone (except Cal) knew it. The thing is that Rose could have had everything that she wanted if she had gone through with it. Most upper class couples spent a lot of time apart, even having separate bedrooms.
 
May 3, 2005
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>>>>I don't think you should really compare the two.>>

....But.... At least Robert Wagner had better manners and was better dressed than Leonardo di Caprio.....LOL
 
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sharon rutman

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It's a shame Cameron didn't fill in the blanks as to what happened to Ruth post Titanic disaster. We know Cal married, got his money, and blew out his brains when the Depression wiped him out in 1929. Maybe Mommie weirdest really did become a seamstress--it would have served her right as she prepared to sell her daughter into a loveless marriage so she could keep her social standing intact. She needed to eat that crow bigtime.
 
Jul 12, 2003
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Mommie weirdest...that got a chuckle out of me...LOL. Started me imaging her in various jobs...like the drive-thru at McDonald's.
 
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sharon rutman

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Thanks! Sorry, No McDonalds back then, but she could have wound up doing menial work for some rich family like Cal's. No, better still, she could have worked for the very woman she held in total contempt and deliberately snubbed on the Titanic--Molly Brown. Who knows maybe Molly could have forgiven being snubbed if proud old Ruth had groveled before her begging for a job.
 
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sharon rutman

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I agree, flipping burgers would definitely crimp Ruth's style quite a bit. But better still is Ruth asking Molly Brown for a job. On the Titanic, when she could still play convincingly at being queen bee, Ruth sniffed at Molly Brown as vulgar because she was "new money." But with her bank account being completely depleted, it would be nice to see Ruth, in total desperation, being reduced to asking the woman she once despised for some crumbs. Talk about turning the tables.
 

Mark Webster

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Dec 24, 2005
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>>By the way mark I'm a bit of a punctuation geek; wasn't isn't spelt like was'nt<<

Sorry Matt. I was very tired when I wrote that
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Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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I like to think that free of the burden of her appalling retch of a daughter (and, yes, I know the difference between "Retch" and "Wretch," and my choice was intentional) Ruth became a somewhat more relaxed person. As so many women in her financial position did in Edwardian and Victorian times, I am sure that she slipped well into "reduced circumstances." She probably sold her house, moved into a suite in an upscale-but-not-the-best hotel on the proceeds from the sale (and, of course, the settlement money resulting from Rose's death and the liquidation of her effects) and lived out her days in genteel poverty. Never knowing, of course, that the viper she'd nursed in her bosom ~ Rose, the sort of Jerry Springer Show "class act" who has back seat sex without a condom on a second date- was still alive.
 
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Jan 28, 2003
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I think I'm living in "genteel poverty". But still with the 'adult' children, of course. Comparatively few worries then ... no vipers in the bosom, but no money, either. Oh well... at least I was spared a Rose.
 

Ernie Luck

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Nov 24, 2004
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>>>>I'm living in "genteel poverty; But still with the 'adult' children, of course<<<.

Just think how rich you will be when they leave home, Monica.
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