Terrible Deaths

Jun 12, 2004
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>>Showing it in a cinema is beyond tacky.<<

Even if, as you say, it's to represent historical truth or realism? We can apply this question to Saving Private Ryan. Did Spielberg put the beach gore for an acceptable reason, or could the realism and historical truth have been expressed quite clearly and thoroughly without it? Sometimes, such scenes may be unnecessary, but they do help enhance the drama of the piece, and it could still be handled in a respectful manner. As I have said--it's the approach and the attitude behind that approach, not just the action itself.
 
Mar 28, 2002
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The beach scene in Saving Private Ryan was necessary, I believe. Before this movie, what did the phrase "D-Day Landings" conjur up for me? Loads of Tommies running up French beaches and knocking Germans over the head with rifle butts. I knew about the landings from history class, documentaries etc but I had forgot about the fact that thousands of people were killed, literally blown to pieces, riddled with gunfire. Saving Private Ryan reminded me that in order for D-Day to be an ultimate success, thousands of people, soldiers of many nationalities and French civilians, all died to make it happen. I don't think the violence shown was gratuitous because eyewitnesses and photographic evidence said that it did happen.

Any serious director who would show violent slash-horror deaths in a re-make of a Titanic movie would deserve to lose credibility because the evidence is not there to suggest that people died that way. True, bodies were recovered with crush injuries and survivors testified to the fourth funnel toppling onto people struggling in the water, hence the portrayal of people being crushed in the water by a funnel. Having people chopped in half for the sake of chopping people in half smacks of desperation and lack of imagination. If it happened, show it, but show it with a purpose. In Titanic's case I don't know if it did but I would concur with people who were there and they never made mention of it.

Another brilliant Spielberg movie was Schindler's List. The violence and death was pretty evident throughout but some of the most shocking and terrifying moments didn't involve scenes of systematic mass murder. Picture yourself on a freezing cold train with your whole family around you, clinging to you for life and knowing that you were going to be murdered when your train reached it's destination. How would you cope? Similarly, picture yourself on the sloping deck of the world's biggest liner, with your children clinging to you for life, knowing that you were all going to die painfully in the next few minutes and there is nothing you can do but love your family all you can for the last time. Scenes like these would convey the real horror of death rather than have some razor sharp wire cut you in half.
 
Aug 31, 2004
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So, if people were cut in half on the Titanic, maybe the musicians were in on it and they shot captain smith, tempted a man to his death, and took the gold in the cargo! Wait...thats what happened on Ghost Ship...are we confusing the Antonia Graza with the Titanic?
 
May 22, 2006
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If you really want to be brutal, showcase the engineers end. I can,t imagine what it must have been like to be ground up in the tearing hull during the breakup-some guy is crushed by a 50 ton lp cylnder.
 
Aug 31, 2007
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Hi all. Well, if terrible ends are the subject, think of any 3rd class passengers that went down trapped inside the stern. As the pressure mounted, they would have imploded inside their cabins, certainly an almost incomprehensible way to die.
 

Noel F. Jones

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May 14, 2002
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"So, if people were cut in half on the Titanic, maybe the musicians were in on it...."

We'll take that as an intimation of scepticism.

For what it's worth, it would have been quite possible for people to be "cut in half" by such as a parting funnel stay.

Noel
 

Mark Draper

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Nov 9, 2004
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Yeah, those cables were like whips when they snapped. Terrible way to die IMO, even the breakup would have people probably being sliced in two. Think about it, shards of glass or broken steel could easily do that. Looking at the wreck, the ripped decks and hull plates look razor sharp where they ripped. Also some may have been pierced by falling debris, like pieces of the deck planking or individual ribs or beams that tore from the plates. It's grusome if you try to think back to what it might have been like to see Titanic break apart to watch people dying. The rivets popping out as the ship was splitting would be like bullets flying through the air, no need to tell you what that would result in.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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I don't get this. I don't understand anyone's preoccupation with how people died on the Titanic - or anywhere else. Death is rarely instantaneous, even though it comes to us all. It's not something one should contemplate. Horrible though it is, it might be better to die on a sinking ship than slowly by cancer, or motor neurone disease, for example. Why are you all discussing this?
 
Jun 12, 2004
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It's called morbid curiosity, Monica, and people can't help it - it's within their nature. Still, I understand the desire not to discuss it. Just knowing the inevitability of death is enough.
 

Tim Brandsoy

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Feb 19, 2002
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Is in inappropriate? I don't know. Ask Oliver Stone. In JFK the Zapruter fatal head shot was replayed...and replayed...and replayed. It was certainly the most gruesome event ever caught on film. There certainly was no consideration for the living members of Kennedy's family, they were all still very much alive then.

If done on Titanic it could be mind numbing. There were so many people who died in so many different ways: snapped cables, falling funnels, breaking glass, drowning, crushing, suffocation, implosion, falling, bullets, hypothermia...etc. etc.

Maybe some were suicide, maybe even murder.

I think mainstream movies have gotten more realistic about death and sex and everything else. It's less sugarcoated, they don't turn away to a shadowy image or a sunset. Slasher films have gotten more graphic, but less inspired...except for the comedies like Scary Movie I, II, and III. NOT that I want a Titanic comedy......Noooo

Even an expose like Michael Moore's Farenheit 911 or Columbine didn't need graphic violence to get the point across. They were fairly restrained considering the subject matter.

It all depends. Is it necessary? Is it historical? Is it exposing a truth or a weakness?
 
Jul 9, 2002
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Let me break this down Barney Style for ya'll. When I was in Iraq durring the first part of the War, I saw people blown up, shot, hit with shrapnel, burned, etc, etc. Convoyed through a town about 5 minutes after the 101st Airborne boys mopped up. Friggen bloody mess. There is NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING cool about violent death. NOTHING!!!!! As far as movies are concerned though, I agree with Mike who much earlier said something to the effect of it COULD have happened, why not show it. Not gratuitously, just a flash or something. You can still make a HIGHLY respectful and somber movie of Titanic but have a scene or two of a grisley demise, because lets face it, it probabley did happen. And hey SOMEONE may appreciate it. (Not I, but someone may) Long and short, if you make a movie about death(which a movie about titanic is) then show death. But don't glamorize it. Simple.
 
Jul 9, 2004
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I know it seems a little late for my two cents, but I might as well.

I'm a teenager, I'm young and I do have a hard time imagining how things will be and how I will be when I'm 86. BUT, I understand the view of Mr. Theissen and Monica Hall and the like. I don't think it would be a good idea to have a Titanic horror flick, not that anyone directly said that they wanted to make one. Portraying the death is one thing, but to portray death insensitively and without reflection is another. By reflection I mean the effect other people, whether they witnessed it directly or indirectly. Imagine the horror of the passenger seeing so many other people die around him and know he was next? I think that would be more moving. How would that person react? What would he be thinking? If he had a friend, a family next to him, what would he do?

I agree that the gory, horrible deaths did happen in the sinking. I've read accounts of Andrea Doria survivors and there was some pretty gruesome things happening. Titanic was no exception. To depict those deaths without reflection inducing some kind of emotional reaction would be blunt desensitization. To portray those deaths over and over again would be mind numbing and tasteless.

I'm no romantic. I am disgusted at sugarcoating history, but I don't think that we have to blow it wide open and let absolutely everything hang out. Sorry for the bad choice of words.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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Hello, Brandon.
I think your post is very well considered. Although I am not 86, or anything like it yet!

I think, maybe, Cameron portrayed horrible death fairly OK in his movie, and I think probably Spielberg did in "Saving Private Ryan", rather well. In order to make several quite particular points, whether one agrees with them or not, historically.

The problem I have is that some people seem to have, what I would call, a morbid interest in how the Titanic victims died. Or at what ages they were (often very young). Maybe through ignorance of the reality - and Ryan Theissen seems to have more experience that most of us - but whatever way the cookie crumbles, I am not in favour of discussing modes of death, personally.

Many researchers would disagree with me, on quite legitimate grounds. But I just feel uncomfortable with a preoccupation with violent death as a subject for glib discussion, because I suspect that sometimes this over-rides a genuine interest in the Titanic and her aftermath. But I seem to be in a minority here.
 

Mark Draper

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Nov 9, 2004
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I saw the movie again, and you know it was a true shock to imagine that that is as close to what did take place that night. Though the scene of Titanic breaking in two, using the theory shown at http://home.flash.net/~rfm/BREAKUP/Breakup.html would make the sinking more violent. I'm now trying to draw that scene using Mengot's version of the sinking.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Dec 3, 2000
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"But I seem to be in a minority here."

No, I don't think you are. Violent death is not something I feel comfortable talking or want to know about either.

I agree, it does take away from the real interest in the disaster. There are so many other interesting areas of it, that violent death doesn't need much thought or input.
 
May 9, 2001
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In Titanic '1997', Cameron showed people, (digital people), falling from the stern and striking the ship's propeller with a dull "Tong!". Also shown were, a man shooting himself in the head point blank, a man and small child engulfed and drowned in a torrent of seawater, a dead young woman floating in the lounge, the captain killed when the bridge implodes, a young man killed by a falling funnel, a young lady falling from the stern rail and being killed by striking the stern docking bridge rails below her, and a young man drowning after being overcome from hypothermia and allowed to sink to his grave. Plus many more not listed above.

What am I missing here? Seems there was quite a bit of horrible death shown in the film to me.
 

Mark Draper

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Nov 9, 2004
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Cameron wanted it to look more or less to be like what did happen that night. Compared to older films, none were as realistic looking as Cameron's.

For anyone who has the script book, there were still some death scenes cut out of the finished film. In the scene where Titanic snaps in two, there's a scene of the inside of the engine room that was written, but I don't recall if it got to being filmed. Engineer Bell and his crew were killed in the most violent way as the machinery crashed down around them and the sea blasted in.

That was cut out.

Me, I'm more still interested in the ship's death- Titanic herself and how she sank.
 
Jul 9, 2004
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I wasn't suggesting you were 86, Monica, I was just using it as an example of how I'm not one to use "Long distance foresight."
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I recently saw some of Cameron's movie, specifically the scene with the people falling from the stern and hitting things on the way down. I thought it was a bit ridiculous that the Rose character would be seeing all these people dying and when she gets to New York all she can think of is DiCaprio dying. Bad character writing on their part. Personally, if I was a witness to the sinking I think I would be scarred for life. Many survivors were if I remember correctly. (Titanic isn't my main interest. More of a very minor one.)

To me, what's most annoying about Titanic is that it's reduced down to either a story of death or of rich people and class envy. No director or producer has yet to take much time to grasp the general feeling of the time. Cameron got close. But they got caught up in the Dramatics. I think if Ken Marschall hadn't been there things wouldn't have gotten close. That Perruchi guy or whatever his name is didn't help things. But I'm getting sidetracked.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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"I wasn't suggesting you were 86, Monica, I was just using it as an example of how I'm not one to use "Long distance foresight."

Thank you, Brandon, what a relief. Compared to you, I am sure I am ancient, but compared to 86 I am a mere spring chicken. Which I have just proven by trotting across the road to the pub and challenging my 19-year old to a game of pool - not played it for 20 years - but I have to say, I acquitted myself quite reasonably, despite the spectacles, even though I didn't win. Son has obviously spent FAR too much time perfecting his game...

Yes, Rose was an unlikely character, but she was supposed to be only 17 - in itself fairly unlikely - so maybe she was - oh, Lord knows!! I originally watched the film in a cinema, and spent most of the time passing Kleenex to teenaged girls in the row in front.... quite fun, though.