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Titanic

Titanic (1997 Film)
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Titanic is an Academy Award winning 1997 dramatic film released by 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures. The bulk of the plot is set aboard the ill-fated RMS Titanic during her maiden voyage in 1912. The movie won 11 Academy Awards on March 23, 1998 including best picture of 1997. As of 2006, Titanic has the highest box office take in movie history (unadjusted for inflation; adjusted for inflation it is #3 all-time). The 1997 film should not be confused with the Titanic movie made in 1953, nor a made-for-television film of the same title that was telecast in 1996.

Titanic holds the record (with Ben-Hur and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) for the most Academy Award winning film, taking in 11 including the coveted Best Picture award.

The film's taglines are "Collide with Destiny" and "Nothing on Earth could come between them."

Production

When this epic disaster film was not finished in time for its scheduled July 1997 release date, it sent shockwaves throughout Hollywood: studio execs began wondering if they might have another Heaven's Gate on their hands. The two releasing studios, 20th Century Fox (which handled the international distribution and actually had movie rights to the Titanic name) and Paramount Pictures (which had the U.S. rights) panicked. By the middle of 1997, Titanic had become the most costly film ever made (its reported cost hovered in the $285 million US range) and the bills were still coming in. When director James Cameron finally delivered the film to Paramount, it ran over 3 hours and it was anyone's guess whether he would ever work in Hollywood again (2008 will be his first major commercial release since Titanic). But Cameron stood his ground and threatened edit-happy studio executives with the message: "You will cut my film over my dead body." Cameron later admitted that he was slightly worried that the film might bomb.

Moved to a crowded release date of December 19, 1997 (opposite, among other major releases, the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies), the film opened with a little promotion, and returned $28 million in ticket sales on the first weekend. Within a week, the gross tripled. By New Year's Day, the film had hit $100 million and showed no sign of slowing down. It held a virtual lock on first place at the box office for nearly four months and would become the (inflation unadjusted) highest grossing film of all-time with more than $1.8 billion in ticket sales worldwide.

Cast

Response

Box office

When the film opened in the U.S. on December 19, Titanic received steady attendance, but by Sunday that weekend theaters were beginning to sell out, with the opening weekend gross of the film totaling $28,638,131. Three months after the film’s release, its popularity did not abate and theaters were still being sold out. Titanic differs from most films released since the late 1990s in that it took fifteen weeks for its weekly gross to drop by 50%. Typically films drop by about 40% a week. By the end of March, 1998 Titanic had become the first film to earn more than $1 billion. Many filmgoers saw Titanic multiple times, and the related soundtrack and book became top sellers.[1]

Titanic grossed a total of $1,845,034,188 worldwide and is the highest grossing film of all time. Titanic was relatively even more successful outside North America; no other film in the top thirty (non inflation-adjusted) worldwide box office hits of the 20th century took more than two thirds of its receipts outside the United States and Canada. [1]

Criticism

Titanic received a great deal of negative advance publicity for its budget overruns and delayed release. When it was released reviews were mixed, but less negative than many had anticipated. Some reviewers felt the story and dialogue were weak while the visuals were spectacular. Jeff Millar of the Houston Chronicle wrote, "When the ship does hit the berg, at the one-hour-and-45-minute point, we are immediately compensated for the padding in writer-director James Cameron's basic narrative — a shipboard romance."[2] On the other hand there were also positive reviews. Titanic's cost and size was compared to classic Hollywood epics, Roger Ebert said "It is flawlessly crafted, intelligently constructed, strongly acted and spellbinding. If its story stays well within the traditional formulas for (Hollywood epics), well, you don't choose the most expensive film ever made as your opportunity to reinvent the wheel."[3]


Controversy

The depiction of First Officer William McMaster Murdoch caused controversy in Murdoch's hometown of Dalbeattie, Scotland. The film depicts the first officer accepting a bribe, (later rejecting it) and shooting two passengers in panic before committing suicide. 20th Century Fox apologized for the depiction and James Cameron donated $8,340 to a memorial fund dedicated to Murdoch.[4]

Awards

Won

Titanic won Oscars in just about every category it was nominated in except for the acting and makeup categories. Titanic was nominated in 14 categories and won 11, being the second movie to win that number (the first was Ben-Hur with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King matching the record in 2004). At the time, it was also the only movie in which two people playing the same person (Kate Winslet as Rose and Gloria Stuart as Old Rose) was nominated for an award (coincidentally, the second film to do so, Iris, also starred Winslet).

  1. Art direction — Art Direction: Peter Lamont; Set Decoration: Michael Ford
  2. CinematographyRussell Carpenter
  3. Costume DesignDeborah L. Scott
  4. DirectionJames Cameron
  5. Film EditingConrad Buff, James Cameron, Richard A. Harris
  6. Music (Original Dramatic Score)James Horner
  7. Music (Original Song) — "My Heart Will Go On," music by James Horner; lyric by Will Jennings
  8. Best PictureJames Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
  9. SoundGary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson, Gary Summers, Mark Ulano
  10. Sound Effects EditingTom Bellfort, Christopher Boyes
  11. Visual EffectsRobert Legato, Mark Lasoff, Thomas L. Fisher, Michael Kanfer

Nominated

  1. Best Actress in a Leading RoleKate Winslet
  2. Best Actress in a Supporting RoleGloria Stuart
  3. Best MakeupTina Earnshaw, Greg Cannom, Simon Thompson

Soundtrack

Main article: Titanic (soundtrack)

The soundtrack CD for Titanic was composed by James Horner and sold over 11 million copies, notable because it included only one pop song with lyrics. The soundtrack includes performances from the Norwegian singer Sissel KyrkjebÝ, and the famous Canadian singer Celine Dion. It became a worldwide success, and led to the release of a second volume that contained a mixture of previously unreleased soundtrack recordings with newly-recorded performances of some of the songs in the film, including one track recorded by Enya's sister, MŠire Brennan of the Irish band Clannad. "Hymn To The Sea" featured Bad Haggis's Eric Rigler on the uilleann pipes and whistles.

DVD

Titanic was first released to DVD in 1999 in a widescreen-only (non-anamorphic) single disc edition with no special features. Cameron stated at the time that he intended to release a special edition with extra features at a later date. Six years later, on October 25, 2005, a special edition release finally occurred with a 3-DVD set in North America that included an anamorphic widescreen-only presentation of the movie divided onto two of the discs, 45 minutes of deleted scenes, an alternate ending, a faux 1912-style newsreel, a crew tribute/gag reel, and other features. An international two- and four-disc edition followed on November 7, 2005.

Deleted scenes

The 2005 DVD release included about 45 minutes worth of deleted scenes that were cut from the film either for pacing, to shorten the film to a marketable running time, or for reasons James Cameron describes in his commentary as "tonal". Some of the cut sequences are minor additions, while others are major scenes. The public were first made aware of many of these deleted scenes with the publication of Titanic's screenplay in 1998 and a few of them were first shown in a Fox TV special detailing the making of the film, and later Cameron incorporated some of the cut scenes into his Titanic Explorer CD-ROM. Still other scenes involving Jack and Rose passed into near-legend with fans of the romantic subplot of the film wanting to see more of their heroes.

The following is a list of 19 of the major deleted scenes included on the DVD release. There were 31 deleted scenes in total:

  1. An extension of Rose unpacking her paintings, in which Caledon clearly states that he believes her to be a virgin. The context is in discussing how the beds have never been slept in before.
  2. Prior to her suicide attempt, Rose is shown trying to undress herself but growing violently frustrated when she is unable to do so (because of the nature of high society costuming at the time, servants were required to assist with dressing and undressing).
  3. A lengthy sequence that would have followed Rose being presented with the Heart of the Ocean, starting with a CGI morph of young Rose's hand holding the diamond to a closeup of Old Rose's hand. Old Rose announces that she is tired and needs rest, but Brock wants to continue pumping her for information. Old Rose is adamant and returns to her quarters. Brock is reminded that his sponsors want to pull the plug on the expedition, after which he is confronted by Rose's angry granddaughter Lizzy. Brock explains his dream of finding the diamond, and shows Lizzy how his hand will look as it holds the diamond. Lizzy asks Brock if he believes Rose was on the Titanic, and he replies "Yeah, I'm a believer". (This dialogue was included in some of the trailers for the film). The cut sequence continues with another CGI morph from the Titanic wreck to Rose walking along the Promenade Deck. She then sneaks through the gate into Third Class and searches for Jack in the Common Area where is he talking with Cora, a young girl. Rose finds Jack and thanks him for saving her life.
  4. A scene that would have followed the above had Jack and Rose discussing her dreams, and she talks about her desire to become a motion picture actress. To emphasize the point, she vamps for a passenger's motion picture camera.
  5. After the Third Class party sequence, Jack walks Rose back to the First Class entrance as they sing "Come Josephine in My Flying Machine." Rose says "I don't want to go back" and the two look at the stars for a few moments, spotting a meteorite cutting across the sky. Jack says every time you see a shooting star, it's a soul going to heaven. This scene emphasizes the later significance of Rose whispering "Come Josephine" while staring at the sky after the Titanic and Jack are lost.
  6. During Rose and Caledon's tour of the ship, they also visited the gymnasium, which was recreated faithfully from old photographs. (A later deleted scene shows passengers huddling in the gymnasium while waiting for lifeboats.)
  7. A brief piece of dialogue that reveals Spicer Lovejoy is a former cop hired by Caledon's father to take care of his son.
  8. After their romp through the boiler room, and prior to the lovemaking scene in the car, Jack and Rose kiss passionately among the boilers.
  9. The Californian tries to warn the Titanic about the ice fields, but are rudely cut off by the radio operators on board. The Californian's radio officer gives up and goes to bed.
  10. Right after the collision, there was originally a comedic moment with Molly Brown asking a bartender for "a little ice" as the iceberg passes the window behind her. Historically speaking, this is inaccurate as Brown had actually been reading in her stateroom at the time of the collision; Cameron said he cut the scene as he felt in retrospect that it was inappropriate to include a comical moment at such a crucial point in the film.
  11. Jack and Rose play with the ice that has fallen onto the deck, Jack is confident that the ship is safe and Rose drops a piece of ice down Jack's shirt.
  12. A historically famous moment in which one of the two Titanic radio operators suggests his colleague use the "new" SOS distress signal. "Might be the only chance you get to use it."
  13. In her lifeboat, Molly Brown teaches some of her fellow passengers how to row.
  14. After Caledon realizes he has accidentally given the diamond to Rose, there originally followed a lengthy and suspenseful cat-and-mouse fight sequence between Lovejoy and Jack in the quickly flooding main dining room. This sequence was cut by Cameron after it received unfavorable responses from test audiences. This scene explains why Lovejoy sports a head injury just before his death in the final version of the film.
  15. Cora, the little girl who befriended Jack, is shown drowning with her family, trapped behind a locked Third Class gate.
  16. Captain Smith orders the mostly-empty lifeboats to return to the Titanic for more passengers. Aboard Molly Brown's boat, the crewmember in charge (Robert Hichens) refuses, saying it's every man for himself. "The fools," Smith says.
  17. After Jack helps Rose to get on the floating door following the Titanic's sinking, another man tries to get on as well, but Jack threatens to kill him if he does as there's only enough room for Rose. Jack is also shown realizing at this point that he is going to die.
  18. An alternate, extended version of the Carpathia rescue sequence that shows additional footage of the survivors, including footage of Second Officer Lightoller and a group of other survivors balancing on the overturned collapsible lifeboat B (based upon historical accounts and a famous sequence from A Night to Remember).
  19. An alternate version of the scene in which Old Rose throws the diamond into the ocean. In the cut version, Old Rose goes to the stern of the ship and looks up at the sky and sees a shooting star (a reference to the earlier "Come Josephine" scene aboard the Titanic that was cut). Brock, Lizzy and Lewis notice her and think at first that she's planning to jump. She then reveals that she had the diamond the whole time ("Every time I thought about selling it, I thought of Cal and how I always managed to get by without his help.") When they realize that she had the diamond all the time, Brock tries to convince her not to throw it away, but she won't be swayed. She does, however, allow him to hold it in his hands - and his hand makes the shape that he showed Lizzy in the earlier scene. Rose then throws the diamond into the water. (This last sequence is not included in the "deleted scenes" section of Disc 3 of the DVD release, but rather is included by itself on Disc 2. It is dubbed an alternate ending, although strictly speaking the sequence in which Old Rose goes to sleep or dies and returns to the Titanic and Jack is identical in both versions.)

Although he agreed to include these and other scenes (there were 31 in total) on the DVD release, James Cameron has stated that he has no intention of reintegrating any of these sequences into the movie (unlike what he did with his earlier films Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Aliens which were released in extended versions with deleted scenes reinstated).

Parodies

As with any classic film, Titanic has had many scenes spoofed:

  1. Scary Movie features a cinema scene in which a movie called 'Amistad 2' is advertised, with a black man mimicking the famous "I'm the king of the world!" scene at the ship's prow.
  2. A scene in Scary Movie 2 involves Cindy orally pleasuring Bobby to keep him awake, telling him he'll live and lead a good life. Jack, obviously minus the oral pleasure, has a similar scene with Rose atop the floating door. During the scene in Scary Movie 2, the Titanic theme "My Heart Will Go On" plays gently in the background.
  3. In Bruce Almighty, Jim Carrey asks an old woman several questions as if she was Rose: "Why did you throw the blue "Heart of the Ocean" jewel over the railing of the Titanic? Didn't you feel bad letting Leo DiCaprio drown while you were safe floating on the big door? Couldn't you have taken turns? Or were you just too afraid to freeze your big fat ass off?!?" A factual error in this scene is that Rose did not throw the jewel over the side of the Titanic: she threw it over the side of the salvaging ship. However, one may also argue that "Why did you throw the blue "Heart of the Ocean" jewel over the railing of the salvaging ship after the Titanic sunk?" is a bit of a mouthful.
  4. The ending of the Leslie Nielson film Wrongfully Accused involved Nielson's character and his love interest on the ship's front in a parody of the scene in which Jack helps Rose up on the railing to make it seem like she is flying. In Wrongfully Accused, when Nielson and the female go to kiss, the ship's horn blows, and sails under a low bridge, causing the lovers to hit their heads and collapse. In real life the ship's super-structure would have quickly run into the bridge.
  5. A television commercial features old Rose throwing the diamond into the ocean, then diving in and retrieving it, only to sell it to a pawn shop. The commercial was for a yellow pages, and advised "making smart financial decisions." Another ad featured Jack and Rose freezing in the ocean atop the large door, with Rose saying, "I'll never let go, I promise," as she lets Jack sink under the water. A moment later, he resurfaces, only to be pushed forcibly back under by Rose.
  6. An episode of French & Saunders in 1997 spoofed many aspects of the film, notably James Cameron's "King of the World" Oscar acceptance speech, the computer-duplicated extras in the film, and the Max Factor tie-in advertisements.
  7. An episode of Futurama, "A Flight To Remember" spoofs the entire film, having the events set aboard a cruise spaceship named Titanic. Ironically, the ship was brashly piloted at high speed through a field of comets (described in the episode as "the icebergs of the sky"), but ultimately ended up being sucked into a black hole.
  8. In the Britney Spears song Oops! I did it again, Britney is heard saying to the male love interest in the song "...but I thought the old lady dropped it into the ocean in the end?" He responds with "Well baby, I went down and got it for you!"
  9. In a Saturday Night Live skit from 1998, Bill Paxton plays his character interrogating Rose (played by Cheri Oteri) on where the diamond went. Rose's daughter (Ana Gayster) becomes upset at learning her mother has been sitting on a fortune all these years and joins in. A crew member points out how wrong Rose's story is and has made it all up. The scene cuts to Cameron (as himself) in an office, explaining this was the original ending but it was changed "after test audiences rioted and burned down the theater." After saying that sharing this makes the audiences "king of the world," Cameron lights a cigar with a $100 bill.
  10. In an episode of Family Guy, the ending scene is shown from the Titanic. Jack just dies as he hangs on the door Rose is floating on. She lets him go and he falls into the ocean. To show what the world would be like without death, instead of dying, Jack floats back up and says "You know what? Actually I think I'm going to be ok." Rose expresses her joy and implies that they can now get married. Jack says, "...Well, I have a girlfriend in New York, and things are getting pretty serious, but hey, thanks for letting me draw you naked! I still can't believe you let me do that!"
  11. Hanson's music video for "The River" parodies the movie's frame story. In the end, old Rose (again played by Gloria Stuart) opens up her CD player and drops a copy of Hanson's CD into the ocean. The video was directed by "Weird Al" Yankovic.
  12. In the movie Shark Tale, there is the painting of Rose on the wall, but she has had clothes drawn on her.
  13. In the satirical Japanese anime Excel Saga, the main character demonstrates her obsession with another character by imagining a re-creation of the kiss scene at the front of the Titanic.
  14. In the parody trailer mashup for a sequel, "Titanic Two the Surface," by Derek Johnson.
  15. In an epidsode of The Simpsons, Smithers is seen painting Mr. Burns naked while on a boat, even though Burns is seen dressed. This is a parody of the scene where Jack Dawson paints Rose nude.