The Top 5 Glaring Historical Errors in Titanic Movies


Sam Brannigan

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Feb 24, 2007
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I understand where you are coming from.

In Northern Ireland there is a "Malone Road"/ North Down accent which has been disparagingly referred to as "West Brit", a derogatory expression used to describe those with British leanings in the Republic, but now heard more commonly with reference to the still curiously prevalent "posh" accent in Northern Ireland.

I've always been curious as to how this accent has survived, even thrived, while practically everyone else around has sounded different.

I have friends who went to Inst. (Andrew's school) and while their accent is very definitely "Northern Irish" it is nowhere near as broad or distinctive as, say, a west Belfast or Ballymena accent.

Of course things may have been different in the 19th Century and Andrews may well have had a clipped accent driven in to him - any further information would be greatly appreciated.

As for changing accents, that is very possible. You should hear my dad's posh telephone voice..ugh!
 

John Lynott

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Apr 2, 2002
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Addingham, Yorkshire
It's been touched on before but Johnny Phillips' rendition of Lightoller's accent has more than a touch of the RADAs about it. "I'll shoot you all like dogs" indeed. I half expect him to twirl his moustache, pick up his walking cane and black bag, disappear into a Whitechapel pea-souper and murder a destitute floozy. Even Kenneth More's iconic portrayal of Lights in ANTR lacks veracity on this point - I think he only did one voice whether is was on board the Titanic, driving down to Brighton in Genevieve or chasing nurses in Doctor in the House. Audio tape is available of a 1937 radio broadcast given by Lightoller in which his west Lancashire (Chorley) accent is quite clear.
 
May 1, 2010
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Yep, I've heard that recording. It was at the Titanic exhibit in Seattle in 2001. Quite the "thick" and "deliberate" brogue. And quite compelling to listen to.
 

Sam Brannigan

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Feb 24, 2007
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There's a definite hint of the "Oh aaaar, me hearties" about Lightoller's accent - the influence of having lived in Hampshire so long?

I agree that Johnny Phillip's accent (and Kenneth More's) are nothing like the real Lightoller's but I still have a hunch that Phillip's performance is closer to the truth, hamminess and all.

That night everyone on board must have run the full gamut of emotions and struggled to hold it all together, 1912 stiff upper lip notwithstanding.

This could end up going round and round in circles but I think Phillip's portrayed the sheer shock of the situation very well.

I have a feeling there was a lot more shooting and panic on the decks than we have ever heard about which perhaps the surviving officers, crew, and passengers felt would be inappropriate to report due to the desperate, understandable nature of events. I know that is pure supposition, but it's just a feeling.

The story of the Titanic seems to go from people not too worried to begin with, to people panicking by way of not enough people around to fill spaces in boats - something just does not add up.

1,500 people on a giant liner about to sink and the last few boats are waved away by the masses - part of the story is missing, and we'll never know the truth.
 

James Smith

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Dec 5, 2001
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Didn't some survivor use the phrase "shoot like dogs" in reference to an alleged shooting by an officer during the shooting?

For my part, I was interested in the way Cameron took language that shows up in other Titanic literature and worked it into his script--whether it be Jack's comparison of the cold water to "a thousand knives stabbing into your body" (Jack Thayer, anyone?) or Andrews' claim that "she's made of iron; I assure you she can [sink]" (Cameron had been reading Pellegrino, I presume).

--Jim
 
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sharon rutman

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All this talk about accents is starting to bog down somewhat--neither William MacQuitty nor James Cameron were going to find actors whose accents accurately matched those real historical characters they were portraying. Both directors no doubt pushed the envelope a bit regarding historical accuracy. I'm sure that Kenneth More and Jonny Phillips did the best they could although I'll take More over Phillips any day of the week.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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quote:

Didn't some survivor use the phrase "shoot like dogs" in reference to an alleged shooting by an officer during the shooting?
I've found at least two references to Harold Lowe using the phrase, so I'm fairly confident that he, at least, said it.

Intriguingly, this doesn't seem to be what Cameron had in mind - the line was, if I remember correctly, ad libbed by Phillips. Cameron had instructed him generally on how to say, but he improvised the dialogue himself and Cameron thought it perfect. I need to re-check the script, but this is how I recall the scene was filmed.​
 
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Andrew Williams

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Accents are neither here or there. What's important are the actions of those involved -- Officers and Crew alike.
 

Inger Sheil

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I've always been fond of that line of testimony in which Lowe conceded he had to "halloo" a bit to keep people off the falls while he was lowering.

Somehow I doubt it was quite as genteel as "hallooing"!
 

Sam Brannigan

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Feb 24, 2007
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Inger,

If Lowe did say it, it may have been along the lines of "I'll shoot you f*****s all like f*****g dogs!"

When put like that, it's a lot easier to believe someone really means what they are saying!

Jack Dawson is the only character who swears in the film - everyone else around seems strangely sanitised, particularly the crew.

I think time and decorum has masked the dialogue of the night, and that many people today would be truly shocked at the profanities uttered in the heat of the moment.

Personally, I fly of the handle and curse when granny in front is returning home from a shopping trip at 25mph and I'm stuck behind her for half an hour.

Can't imagine what I would be like with a 46,000 ton ship disappearing beneath me.
 

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