Titanic Cast 1997 Film


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Adam Odle

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Hello All,

I resently sat down w/ my niece to watch Titanic for the 1st time (her first - she's 10). I noticed that James Cameron and Casting: Mali Finn did a GREAT! job casting characters who looked like the REAL passengers. Especially The Countess of Rothes (who i think should have had more screen time) also is this the first movie The Countess is portrayed in? Molly Brown, Mr. & Mrs. JJ Astor, and more. I just think they did an awesome job! Anyone else think they did a great job also? Thanks!

Adam Odle
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Actually, I had a few reservations. Ewan Stewart, who portrayed First Officer Murdoch, was too short, as the real one was noticeably taller. Jonny Philips (Second Officer Lightoller), although a good actor, did not bear the resemblance of the actual, nor did Iaon Graffudd (sp.) and Simon Crane (Fifth Officer Lowe and Fourth Officer Boxhall respectively). Martin East (Lookout Reginald Lee) was younger than the original, and Paul Brightwell (Hitchens) was just the opposite--he looked older than Hitchens appears in his famous picture. Johnathan Hyde's (Ismay) hair was too straight compared to the real Ismay, whose hair was tight and curly. My biggest problem, though, was with Bernard Fox (Gracie). No offense to him, as he is a great actor, but he was British and looked nothing like the American Gracie. He, I think, was miscast. As for the rest, I think they were pretty much on the money, although Kathy Bates (Molly Brown) could have lost a few pounds.
 
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I also think they did a good job with the casting, especially with Victor Garber as Thomas Andrews and also Martin Jarvis and Rosalind Ayres as Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff Gordon. Amazing resemblances there. In addition to Mark's post I've read of people also having some reservations about the actors who played Benjamin Guggenheim and John Jacob Astor, saying they looked too old for the parts, in reality the real men were younger than portrayed.
 
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Adam Odle

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Desiree,

I completly agree w/ on the Victor Garber as Thomas Andrews, Martin Jarvis and Rosalind Ayres as Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff Gordon. Very good casting there. Also have to agree w/ Mark also about Ben and J.J Astor, Benjamin Guggenheim character looked WAy to old.

Adam Odle
 
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Actually, that's the one I missed--Garber (Andrews). He did a great job (IMO) in portraying the character of Andrews, but he appeared way too old. The real Andrews, at the time of the sinking, was 38 years old (two years younger than I) and therefore had no gray in his hair. He didn't look completely like T. Andrews in the face either. Still, he did a great portrayal. Garber is a good actor.
 

Inger Sheil

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I don't think the original Murdoch was much taller than Ewan Stewart, Mark - Murdoch was only c. 5'8" (I'll have to check his BoT documention again to verify that). If you look at photos of him with groups of other men, he actually seems fairly slight in comparison. I believe he was rather slimmer than Stewart.

Ioan Gruffudd wasn't a bad physical cast for Harold Lowe, IMHO. Some of the most common photos extant of Lowe date to his early twenties, before he joined the WSL, and show him with a fuller face - not representative of his appearance at the time of the Titanic disaster. His weight fluctuated throughout his life, and during his early WSL days and the war years (late twenties into mid thirties) he had a slimmer build and more defined facial features. In common with Gruffudd, he had dark sloe eyes and curly dark hair (which Lowe would crop short or use generous amounts of hair oil to manage). They're not exactly dead-ringers - Gruffudd is taller and has more chiselled features, with a well defined chin and nose, whereas Lowe's nose is of a distinctive upturned shape (more noticeable from the front, less so in profile), his jawline tends to be more square, and he was actually quite a slight, sinewy man - but I have seen photos of Gruffudd where I've noted the resemblance to Lowe, and vice-versa.

I agree that Jonny Philips is a very different physical type to Lightoller. Simon Crane I didn't mind as Boxhall in the few glimpses we saw of him, but there was too little screen time to really make much of a comparison. The historic Boxhall probably had finer features and had darker hair and eyes, but I'd need to google up a picture of Crane to really compare them. The most dissimilar casting to the historic individual among the officers would, I would suggest, be Edward Fletcher as James Moody. The original James Moody was almost six foot tall, very slim and fair with blue eyes, light brown hair, and a rather sunny disposition. Although his slenderness was noted in many accounts, his frame developed along fairly powerful lines as he entered his twenties - not muscular but, as with Lowe, sinewy. Had he lived, I believe he would have developed even more along those strong (but not bulky) lines, much as his oldest brother did.
 
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Adam Odle

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Who do you all think deserved more screen time? I personally think The Countess, Molly Brown, Thomas Andrews, Duff Gordons deserved more screen time. Also was the the first Titanic movie to have The Countess of Rothes? I think it is, correct me if i'm wrong. Thanks Everyone!

Adam Odle
 
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It is the first to have the Countess as a distinct character (mentioned and shown), yes, as far as I know.

As for more screen time, I actually thought they should have had the Wideners and Thayers introduced as well. There was that one guy they always showed in the background of every scene in 1st-class, and one in which he was engaged in a conversation with Cal. He had short red hair slick back, round glasses, and a fluffy, red beard. I got the impression that this was Widener (although, as far as I know, Widener didn't have a beard at the time, at least according to the pic I saw, but that may have been an earlier photo), but I wasn't sure. He was also shown with Molly Brown and a young man (presumably Harry) rushing through the 1st-class landing on A-Deck right after the collision 'in search for answers.' Does anybody know about whom I am speaking? Does anyone know if this guy is identified in the script? I am very curious to know who he was. He supposedly wasn't mentioned in the closing credits. Anyway, I think he, if Widener or Thayer, should have been identified.

As for Murdoch's height, Ingar, he seemed taller to me in those pictures that I have seen of him standing next to Cpt. Smith. Maybe it was just the angle.

Also, in an officer group photo, it appeared like Wilde had a beard on Titanic. Would you concur with this, Ingar?
 
Jun 20, 2004
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Hi Adam,

The 1979 movie "S.O.S. Titanic" has the Countess of Rothes. I'm not sure if it was the first Titanic movie to have her portrayed, but I'm pretty sure she wasn't in 1953's "Titanic" or "A Night to Remember".

I would have preferred to see a lot more screen time from the real passengers, especially the ones you mentioned. Molly Brown and the Duff Gordons did have more screen time but some of their scenes were cut in the final film. I would have liked more screen time for the ship's officers as well, at least to get an idea of what their personalities were like, since some were hardly shown much at all.

I love the film, but I think it has too much Jack and Rose time which should have been used more for the real passengers and officers, which would have been more interesting. Anyone else agree?
 

Inger Sheil

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Yes, angles can be deceptive! Also the impressions of eyewitnesses...Lowe is referred to in one account as being about six foot tall. He fell short of that mark by a few inches. A reporter accurately observed that he was 'small'...although female, I'm a few inches taller and I know how small his RNR dress uniform bicorn was in comparison to my headgear.

As far as I know, and from the photos I've seen of him on the Olympic, Wilde was clean-shaven (no beard or moustache).
 
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Desireee,

Although it has been a while, I don't remember seeing C. of R. in S.O.S. Titanic. Are you sure? The only female lead I remember was Susan St. James, who played Beesley's (David Warner) love interest. I will have to see it again.
 
Jun 20, 2004
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Hi Mark,

The Countess of Rothes is in "S.O.S. Titanic", played by Kate Howard, according to the cast list over at the imdb.com. I think in the movie, from what I remember, she only had a small role, not sure if she was even mentioned by name, but the DVD version I've got is not the full length TV version, so I might be missing some of her appearance in the film. Might watch it again later and see.

Desiree
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Adam Odle

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Hey All,

Mark i also agree they should have introduced the Thayers and Wideners, i must have forgot about them lol.

Desiree,

I dont remember seeing The Countess either in "S.O.S Titanic", i'll have to watch it again. Thanks for your input.

Adam Odle
 

Inger Sheil

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That's right, Paul (although he spoke fluent Welsh). I've often wondered about Moody's accent as well...I doubt that the sort of generic 'English' accent that the American who played him is an accurate reflection of it, but haven't found a description of it. He was from Yorkshire, but his mother was from London and he often visited family there. His correspondence doesn't contain many regional phrases, although I know of at least one local term he seems to have used. Given his class and education - and the fact he left home to be educated for his career at the age of 14 - it's doubtful he had a broad Yorkshire accent. And then there's the Scouser in the group, Wilde...

I believe Desiree is right - there is a rather enigmatic figure called the 'Countess' in SOS Titanic, isn't there? I vaguely recall a scene in the Turkish Baths in which she appeared, although its been so long since I saw it I could be wrong. Rather alluring and mysterious, and a touch vampish...doesn't seem to have overly much in common with the Countess of Rothes, although no doubt inspired by the presence of a Countess on board.
 

John Clifford

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Actually, I learned that there are two types of Welsh accents. My source was two gentleman who just came to LA, for a Queen Mary Odyssey, and a visit to the Baja Studios (myself, and a few others from THS joined them for the visit to San Diego and Rosarito Beach); now the group is touring other LA sites, before heading out on Friday (I'll see them, again, this Thursday).
The illustrious G.W. is also with the tour group, as well.

Anyway, the people from Wales stated the 5th Officer Lowe was from North Wales, and that his accent would have been different from the actor who portrayed Lowe; his accent is that of the southern part of the country.

Also, regarding the Countess of Rothes, I recall that in SOS TITANIC, there was the scene where Madeline Astor and Molly Brown are having a meal, when the Countess walks by their table.
One of the women who was also at the table made a remark about the Countess arriving late. To that, Chloris Leachman's Molly Brown commented "Well she's a Countess!! She dines whenever she wants!!".
 

Inger Sheil

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That's right, John - there is more than one regional accent in Wales. Gruffudd is from South Wales, if I recall correctly - he's from somewhere around Cardiff. Lowe was born in an area that is today part of Llanrhos, not far from Llandudno, Colwyn Bay and Conwy...areas with a heavy Anglo influence. The family moved twice during his childhood, finally settling in Barmouth which is further south than Llanrhos, but still in North Wales. His mother was not Welsh - she came from Liverpool. Nor was his father, who came from Chester. According to what his family have told me, Lowe himself did not have a Welsh accent of any description (some of them were quite amused by Ioan 'Welshing it up'). His own son, HWG Lowe, although he was born in Colwyn Bay and spent his early years in Deganwy before travelling the world post-WWII, decidedly did not have a Welsh accent. He spoke to me of the great gulf that existed when he was at school between the English and the Welsh children - a situation partly indicative of the particular era and socio-political climate in which he was educated. His father, HG Lowe, had a much closer relationship with the native Welsh of Barmouth when he was growing up - bilingualism was actively encouraged at the school he attended, for example, and he was educated alongside many middle-class locals.

It is worth noticing that Lowe described himself as a 'Britisher' (which of course incorporates Wales), but apparently did not correct a note on his written affidavit that refers to 'Barmouth, England'. He is also recorded as making comments along the lines of 'In England, I say a man would get a punch in the nose if he looked over a guestbook.' One's personal sense of nationality is a very individual thing and is not necessarily clearly defined - Lowe was Welsh by birth, but his sense of self-identity was English. Lowe has been described by some as a quintessential Welshmen in terms of temperament and physical appearance, which is interesting - it didn't come through genetics, as although family legend suggests a long-standing association with Wales, if there was any Welsh blood in their lineage it was far back!
 

John Clifford

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....He is also recorded as making comments along the lines of 'In England, I say a man would get a punch in the nose if he looked over a guestbook'....
Yes, that was at the Continental Hotel, in Washington DC. The surviving crew members had just arrived for the US Senate Hearings (the Russell Senate Office Building was just a short walk from the Hotel). Some reporters were watching Lowe check in.
My source is Wynn Craig Wade, author of "Titanic: End Of A Dream".

If they ever did a movie about the US Senate Hearings, that scene would be "a must", along with Charles Lightoller's exchange with Senator Smith's Secretary, William McKinstry:
LIGHTOLLER: "As an Officer, I am not going to be quartered with the crew".
McKINSTRY: "My God! your captain now sleeps quartered with the crew under the waves!".

The National Hotel is since gone, as, I believe, Louisiana Avenue was extended to where the hotel was (the same location of the C-Span and Agency of the States buildings). The Phoenix Park Hotel, just down the street, may give one a sense of what the Continental Hotel was like.
 

Inger Sheil

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That's right, John. Wade's source is the Washington Post. There was a lot more to Lowe's comments, as well - for some reason, Wade left out the bit about the scathing things Lowe had to say about reporters and their 'dirty cameras'
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(and cheers to Pat Winship for that additional material). Nor was it the only time in the US that Lowe made a few direct comments to (or about) the media...he was a walking sound-bite. Wade's book is a tremendous source, and one of the first to explore some of the behind-the-scenes interplay of the American inquiry, but he didn't tell the full story of what went on between Senator Smith, Lowe and the media. Reading the American newspapers at Colindale or Lowe's own collection of clippings was quite an eye-opener!
 

John Clifford

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Thanks for the additional information about Officer Lowe, Inger.

BTW, I goofed on the hotels, in my last post.

It was the Continental Hotel that was near to the Russell Senate Building; could walk out the door and head up to the Senate Offices.
It was at the Continental that 2nd Officer Lightoller did not want to stay, with the crew; a compromise was reached, where Lightoller was given a room on a separate floor, and with a dining time separate from the crew members.

The next day, though, everyone was transfered to the National Hotel, near Pennsylvania Avenue, on 6th Street. The National Hotel was less prestigious than the Continental.
The reason given, for the move, was that the crew members all wanted their own rooms.

Both hotels are gone now; a DC-area Employment Services Offices building is at the site of the National Hotel. The Continental is where Louisiana Avenue was extended.
 
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