Stairway to the Bridge and Lowe with a Moustache


Jun 12, 2004
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Doesn't look like anyone has ever posted here (which is surprising), so I guess I'll be the first...

Has anyone ever noticed while watching this movie that the boat deck set has a stairway heading upwards to a bridge on a supposedly higher deck? This is the only movie that has done that. I have often wondered why they did this, but then it occurred to me that the reason might be due to the possibility that a stairway on the boat deck made for a much more dynamic and dramatic appearance. Multiple stairways on a ship set, whether they logically belong there or not, tend to make that ship seem 'larger' and more 'intricate,' and therefore more captivating in some psychological way.

Also, this is the only movie in which Lowe has a moustache. Actually, I remember seeing several officers with moustaches in this movie (except for Pitman, who actually had one).

All in all, it appears that accuracy wasn't of any consideration on this movie. I would strongly question the sensibility and Titanic background of anyone who asserts this movie as 'most realistic.' Still, it was an interesting variation.

Just trying to get some conversations going here. Anyone else have thoughts on this?
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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I haven't seen SOST in very many years so I can't recall much about it, but didn't they use the Queen Mary as a stand-in for the Titanic? In which case the scene mentioned might have been the QM boat deck rather than a film set.
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Yes, Bob, QM stood in for the Titanic in SOST.

As far as actors with or without mustaches - I seriously doubt that was even an issue for the casting director. About the only character who would *need* facial hair would be Capt. Smith.

No, I don't think historical accuracy was much of an issue in SOST. However, it was nice to see Beesley's statements and actions given a cinema airing. Even though they added a love interest for him! (another case of ignoring historical accuracy)
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Been so long since I've seen it I can't remember Lowe having a moustache in SOS Titanic - he didn't make much of an impression on me, although I do recall wincing a bit at his voice/accent during the exchange with Ismay. Must drag out the tape again.

Bill, the Beesley romance is one thing that does spring to mind when I think of SOS Titanic...along with the vaguely insinuated Andrews-with-a-wandering-eye. And the Countess of Rothes (was it her? Or just 'The Countess') in the Turkish bath, with an envious Madeleine Astor looking on.

Was nice to see the Harrises get some screen time, though.

Re mo's...Boxhall seems to have had a short lived one in his early career, and Lightoller's and Murdoch's earlier stints with what Ned Flanders would call a 'soup strainer' are well documented. Pitman ditched his post-Titanic (I wonder why - it was quite a nice specimen of the breed). Moody never seems to have got around to experimenting with facial hair (no doubt it would have happened - as a friend observed, it seems obligatory for most men). There is perhaps one photograph in which Lowe might have a moustache - taken in later years, and it's hard to tell. More likely just a trick of the light.
 
Jun 18, 2007
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"Anyone else have thoughts on this?"

Not on this matter, but on this movie, or something about it...Ian Holm was too short a specimen to play Ismay. But he had the nice evil streak going on, though that was better served to playing an android.
 

Adam Usher

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Oct 26, 2004
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It was not Lowe who had the moustache!

It was Lightoller who tells the carpathias captain what happened during the sinking. Lowe looked very young and did certainly not have a moustache.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Well, it has been a long time since I've seen it, but I do remember seeing someone there who had a moustache that shouldn't have had one. Was it Lightoller? Murdoch?... or even Boxhall?
 
Dec 23, 2004
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I suspect that the set used for the sinking scene in SOS Titanic was a compromise between using the Queen Mary's Bridge for some shots and the studio for others, hence the bridge one deck above what it should have been. As for the lifeboats QM had completely different davits!
 
Nov 26, 2005
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Was there a set used for S.O.S. Titanic? I thought they just tilted the camera on the deck of the Queen Mary and had some water hoses laying around. Does anyone know where to find pictures of this set? I love Titanic movie sets. I always find them interesting. How close they try to get to history, but yet how far they stay from history. Except for Cameron's set which was basically flawless. Anyway, if anyone can tell me about the S.O.S. Titanic set I'd love to hear about it. Thanks, Matt.
 
Dec 23, 2004
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As far as I am aware the only large set used was part of the boat deck, and an innacurate rendering at that with the bridge one deck up. The rest of the film was shot either on the Queen Mary, the Adelphi Hotel at Liverpool, and other locations. A pumping station was used for the engine scenes and the boiler views in it are again totally inaccurate.

You will notice continuity errors as the QM had gravity davits and the set used fake Wellin ones.
 
Nov 26, 2005
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Oh yes Ernie. That was a pretty cool set they built for that movie. A little inaccurate, but they did a great job with the budjet they had. I liked the fact that they built the set tilting so they acually had to tilt the cameras to make it seem like the ship is on even keel prior to the sinking scenes. The interior sets were the closest to being accurate of any Titanic movie until JC's Titanic came out. Good movie and good documentary.
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Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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To address a couple points from awhile back:

1-Murdoch and Boxhall are depicted with moustaches, but Lowe is shown clean-shaven.

2-The Beesley "romance" is not really a romance per se, but was set up so Beesely could have a character to talk to and vocalize many of the things he wrote down in his book. For instance, when they watch the young boy in Third Class and Beesley speculates he's likely from a First Class background, that comes straight from something Beesley wrote about, as do their comments on the stars and the sea when they're out on deck. Read "Loss Of The Titanic" all the way through sometime and it becomes apparent that what was done with Beesley's character in SOS Titanic isn't as outlandish as you first think.
 
Aug 14, 2005
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It was not Lightoller who had a moustache in the film, that was Boxhall talking to the Carpathias captain.

Where in the film where the Liverpool Adelphi sets used?
 
I'd rather have inaccuracy and a compelling film than a boring story with a meticulously-recreated set.

The script for SOS Titanic achieved everything that Cameron should have. It showed several storylines taking place in difference classes. My opinion of Cameron's script is that he used the first class/third class romance to show as many parts of the ship as he could. But SOST achieved it better.

The cast is fantastic. I think the only bad performance is Beverly (something) as a greasy-haired, trailer park Madeleine Astor. Cloris Leachman did all right with a cartoon Molly Brown. The two standouts are David Warner and Ian Holm. Ian Holm added a layer of humanity and threw out the handle-bar mustache that Ismay's character is usually given. The struggle he shows about getting in the boat, the remorse he expresses on the deck of the Carpathia...his performance is anything but the usual Ismay portrayal.

We also have characters and events that don't appear in other Titanic films. Jack Thayer and Milton Long make an appearance, the Turkish bath is shown, second class is shown. What other movies have these?

SOST was made in the 1970s. It wasn't a cinematic film, it was a two-part television movie. In the 70s, television films were starting to get bigger budgets than in previous decades. But there were definitely the A-list budget (Roots, etc) and the B-list budget. SOST fell into the latter and I think that they did the best they could with what they had. They sacrificed accuracy to get the thing made.

My issue with the historical inaccuracy debate that surrounds every Titanic movie is this: Why does every depiction of the disaster need to be so accurate? Shouldn't we lay down the complaints and be thankful that with every movie and documentary, someone somewhere is going to watch it and be compelled to pick up a book about it?

So, who cares if the actor playing Ismay is too short? Or if there is a fictional character here and there? Or if this set is wrong or that set is wrong?

It really comes down to the fact that SOST, T97, T53 are all entertainment, not docudramas. Shortcomings or no, they still further the pop culture hold that the Titanic has on people.
 
Dec 29, 2006
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Well, I may be entirely wrong here, but as I understand it, no British (or Commonwealth) naval officers would have had a moustache - hirsute accessories of the nasal kind being associated with the army. They would certainly not have moustaches if they were naval reservists.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Spot on, Stanley. King's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions, facial hair for the wearing of - all or nothing!
 
May 12, 2009
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Her name is Beverly Ross, she did only a handful of tv movies and sitcom guest spots before vanishing off the face of the earth in 1982.

And, yes, Dear God, what WAS the casting director thinking? Madeleine Astor was the forerunner of modern trophy wives! She was petite, with a cherubic face, light complexion and with tasteful expensive outfits and hairdos! But Beverly Ross was a hideous upon hideous trailer trash sideshow! Are we supposed to believe that John Jacob Astor would be attracted to THAT to the point of divorcing his wife and destroying his reputation with high society?

Sorry for this rant, but the horrible miscasting of Madeleine Astor in this film has always drove me insane! I hope I'm not the only one in this... ;-)
 

Erin Hopkins

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Apr 11, 2009
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Cloris Leachman, love her. She's an amazing actress.
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I rather enjoyed SOS Titanic though Madeleine Astor annoyed me after a while. I couldn't help but think "I realize you don't think that you're pretty but please, stop already!"

I feel the actress really did try with what was put before her. There's only so much one can do and I don't know if she had any say in how she was presented physically or otherwise.
 

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