Discussion in 'James Cameron's Titanic (1997)' started by Cyndi Lovell, Jun 8, 2000.
Titanic was an excellent movie, but how much of it was true?
Well, the obvious(ships sinks...hits iceburg..which I am sure you knew) and some of the characters were really on the Titanic like
J. J Astor
Officer (all of them)
I probably missed alot...
The Carpathia really did pick up survivors.
Well, most of it is truthful besides the characters:Cal,Rose,Jack,Rose's Mom,and the romance between Rose and Jack was also unreal...though it might have happened to other passengers..that we'll never know. If I am incorrect about any of this...please someone correct me. Glad to help.
The bribing of and subsquent suicide of First Officer Murdoch is also not fact. To have a real person (Murdoch) excepting a bribe from a fictional person (Cal) was in my opinion a terrible injustice to Officer Murdoch as was his suicide. While there were accounts of officers shooting passengers and themselves, there was no concrete evidence (regardless of process of elimination) that it was Officer Murdoch. This man was a real person and no matter how long he has been deceased I don't think you can sully his reputation in a movie no matter how big a Hollywood director you are.
Dear Karen, I couldn't agree with you more. I have never understood why Murdoch (who actually saved a lot more lives on the starboard side than officers in charge on the port side did) often has been rather sinisterly portraid.
I have always been interested in Murdoch, more than the other officers and being of Scottish descent, I have always felt a connection to him. With that said, I have to say that I did not think Murdoch was portrayed badly in Cameron's film. If you recall, he throws Cal's money back at him a bit later in the film, saying "Your money can't save me now anymore than it can save you." I also think that his suicide does NOT sully his reputation. Remember, suicide was often considered the noble thing to do. One eyewitness to the suicide on Titanic (we don't know if it was Murdoch they were speaking about) gave the comment "Now THAT was a man!" The way Cameron portrayed it, I thought it made Murdoch a more sympathetic character. Remember, he kills himself right after he shoots two passengers. He is looking down at the blood on the deck and realizing how he has just been forced to directly kill two people, as well as being responsible indirectly for killing 1500 people (as he failed to avert the iceberg). His great remorse compels him to take his own life. I don't see this as a cowardly act at all. As for whether it was really Murdoch who killed himself, you might be interested to check out George Behes' web site (there is a link from this site) under "The Dalbeattie Defense." It offers some compelling evidence that Murdoch was indeed the officer in question. As far as I'm concerned, Murdoch was a hero that night as he stayed on the ship to the last and tried to save as many people as he could.
Thank you Mark and everyone else for the info.
I am new to this Titanic subject but I am finding it most interesting and have learned so much just from the message board. I have a few questions and I am probably sticking this in the wrong place AGAIN
Was Murdochs body ever recovered? The reason I ask is, if the body was recovered surely there would have been a bullet hole. Were any bodies recovered that did have a bullet hole?
Was Molly Browns story ever told? I found her character in the movie very interesting and entertaining.
I see some names on the message board alot of places...Peter, Tracey, Mark, and others. Are any of you descendants of a Titanic passenger?
In the movie, it gave the impression all the third class passengers died because the gates to third class were locked and there was no way out for them. This part of the movie was the tear jerker for me as it seemed so unfair. Was this part true?
And last, why was there not enough lifeboats? I certainly hope ships today are not that ill-equipped!
Unfortunately, none of the senior officer's bodies were recovered. If they had, it would have saved us a lot of conjecture as to whether or not Mr. Murdoch actually committed suicide. Others have put forth theories that it was chief officer Wilde, and others have theories that it was even Capt. Smith! We will never really know, but that's part of the allure of Titanic. I'm not an historian, but I love this site because people who are historians spend a great deal of time and energy to answer our questions. I, for one, appreciate their responses. Thank you.
As far as the regulations of the day were concerned, Titanic was actually over-equipped with lifeboats. The Board of Trade requirements were based on a ship's tonnage and not on how many passengers she carried. The regulations had not been revised since (I believe) 1890, when the largest ship was only 10,000 tons. Titanic in comparison was over 46,000, but was only required to carry the same number of lifeboats. Needless to say, after the disaster, this was remedied and is one of the positive things to come from the death of so many people. As for being a relative of someone on Titanic, I am exploring the possibility that I might be related to trimmer William McIntyre, who survived. Thanks for your interest!
Molly Brown's story was told and there is an informative website about her and her home, which is a historic museum now, on the website there are photos for you to view of her in later life along with other points of her life. The website's address is http://www.mollybrown.org/
I am not related to any Titanic Passengers, that I know of, but if you go to a website called Children of Titanic, you will be introduced to relatives of Titanic Passengers, you can read their stories and hear from people who think they are related to a Titanic Passenger and why. It was started by Kathleen Alice Jordan. Captain E. J. Smith happens to have been her Great Great Grand Uncle and she has proven this with a family tree that adds up. The site allows you to email the contributors(the people who told their stories) and hear more of their story and their relative who was on board Titanic. The address is http://www.fortunecity.com/millenium/tulip/129/children.htm
As far as there not being enough boats, I agree with Tracey. I would like to add that I think that White Star Line thought that it would take up too much deck space. I also think that they were very secure that the ship was "unsinkable" so why would an "unsinkable" boat need lifeboats for all of its passengers........I do not know if the third class were locked in the ship or not. There are different beliefs about this.
In regards to the the passangers in third class being locked below decks: I think, from what I've read, that there were probably many gates that remained locked, but there were also gates that some of the stewards opened and directed passengers to the boats. I think with all the commotion going on, the crew probably didn't even think about what was going on down below. From what I've read, there were stewards who told third class passengers that when they finished 1st and 2nd class, they would be loading third class. I don't personally feel that third class was purposefully left below to die. Also, the design of the ship, the fact that many passengers didn't speak English and many of the women didn't want to leave their husbands contibuted to the high number of deaths in third class.When I say the design of the ship, I mean that there were so many decks to ascend, unfamiliar hallways, I'm sure a person could have gotten lost easily. Of course, no lifeboat drills played a very important part. I think, too, Mr. Cameron played to our sensibilities with the scenes of Mr and Mrs Straus, and the Irish lady with her two children. I think you'd have to have a heart of stone not to feel moved by those scenes. That's my 2 cents worth! Thanks.
Mark, Elaine, Tracey,
Thank you so much for filling me in on this stuff. You are very kind people and I do appreciate you taking the time to educate me on the Titanic. For each answer I am finding many more questions to ask. I am going to read thru all the messages on the site and go thru the passengers lists...and no doubt bombard everyone with questions.
Thank you Mark for the address to the site on Molly Brown. I'm heading there now!
I do find it interesting that none of the senior officers bodies were recovered. Any speculations as to why that may be? In the movie it showed the Capt. going into the "steering" room (sorry I can't think of what the area is called!) giving one the impression that he loyally stayed with his ship. Does anyone know if this is actually true?
I will have to pop the movie in the VCR and ask questions as I go along
I think the reason the bodies were never found is because it's highly unlikely that any of the senior officers were wearing lifevests. If they ever put them on to begin with,which I find doubtful, they may have found them difficult to load the boats with them on. There are many different eye-witness accounts to Captain Smith's final moments. I believe the Marconi operator Mr. Bride reported the Captain on the bridge during the final moments. Another crew member reported a man sounding like the Captain swimming up to one of the collapsables and asking to be helped aboard. When told there was no more room, The man swam away a short distance and became still. That person believes it was Capt. Smith. Another person reported seeing Smith in the water with his arms wrapped around a child. I guess the point is, we will never know what happened to Capt. Smith in the final moments. If anyone else can add to this...
On the subject of the locked gates, Wynn Wade mentions, early in his book, that the American Maritime regulations in 1912 stipulated that, due to health reasons - the possible transporting of diseases - steerage, or 3rd class, would be locked away from the other passengers. However, this is the only place I have seen any mention of this regulation.
On the subject of the surviving senior officers and lifebelts, according to an October 1912 Christian Science Journal article written by practitioner and Titanic second officer C. H. Lightoller, not only was he wearing a lifebelt but also Chief Officer Wilde told him he was putting his on as well.
Hope this is of some help.
If you dig into the evidence enough, you'll find that the gates which were supposedly kept locked were often left open in order to allow the crew to go about their work. Crew were constantly passing up and down from their quarters to the second and first class areas. The crew were supposed to keep an eye open for third class wanderers. Some of the gates on the upper decks could simply be stepped over.
During the evacuation of the ship chaos reigned. Third class passengers rushed past open doors, notably one leading from Scotland Road into second class. Those with some spirit, notably the Irish, found their way up and pushed the crew aside as necessary. Others seem to have given up.
It's usually overlooked that third class did almost as well as first class in raw numbers saved. Third class men did surprisingly well. On a percentage basis it's not a pretty picture, especially the failure to save 53 third class children. One would like to know how such an obvious family group as the Goodwins was not spotted and taken to the boats.
Somebody once said that given the possibility of a conspiracy or a stuffup, back the stuffup every time. The evacuation was a massive stuffup.
I guess I assumed that they were not wearing lifevests by reading Walter Lord's ANTR. Page 79: Paraphraed- Lightoller was sweating profusely,even in his sweater and pajamas ( no mention on lifevest). I figured that IF Lightoller had taken his off because it was warm work loading the boats, that the other officers had also taken theirs off or had not even put theirs on. Other eye-witnesses stated that Capt. Smith was not wearing a vest in the final moments.
Of course I could be wrong...
I believe that Lightoller testified in the Senate Hearings that he was wearing a life belt. I don't have the transcripts here at work so I can't give you a specific reference. Maybe someone else can. Until I read that, I was also under the impression that he wore a minimal amount of clothing, as also depicted in the film of "A Night To Remember." Hope this helps.
Just a note about "A Night To Remember".
First, I consider it one of the best of the group and Lord's book the fount from which we all drink. However, in the documentary "The Making of 'A Night To Remember'", Walter Lord acknowledges that some 'license' was taken with his book by Eric Ambler. For instance, giving Fifth Officer Lowe's chastisement to Ismay over to Lightoller or the combining of some passengers accounts - the couple modeled after Mr and Mrs. Lucien Smith in the movie have children. Consequently, the decision not to make Kenneth More wear the lifebelt may have come out of practicality rather than history.
Hope this is of some help.
Hi! I agree the film of "A Night To Remember" did take some license when it came to historical fact. Since Cameron's film obviously drew from its predecessor, perhaps that is why his Lightoller also did not have a life belt. With the nature of filming, it is inevitable that such license be taken. Still, it is the best way we have to re-live such moments in time.
Thanks for all the input about the lifevests. It's such a shame that none of the officer's bodies were not recovered. I wonder if the pull of the ship sinking dragged them down with it, or they just sank when they drowned or froze? I guess we'll never know. Have a good week-end everyone
anything new happening with regard to the group? Let me know if you need help with anything!
I think that Kathy Bates did an excellent job portraying Molly Brown.
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