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Titanic Remarks: FACT VS. FICTION

Titanic Remarks

Thank you to Entertainment Weekly. The January 23 issue.
James Cameron's $200 million movie has hyped as Hollywood's most painstaking re-creation of the 1912 voyage, whats fact and
what's fiction? Questions that really make you wonder....

Did men grab babies in order to escape with the women and children?

Although Rose's villianous fiance, Cal (Billy Zane), is shown using an infant as his ticket to a lifeboat, Lynch says he knows of no such actual incidents. "But," he adds,"several times a man was holding a baby. They say,'Get In.' They didn't question it." They made no mention of the oft-told tale of the man who put on woman's clothes to get in a lifeboat.

Could a charcoal drawing on paper survive 85 years in a waterlogged safe on the ocean floor?

Yes, but only because it was inside Jack's leather-bound portfolio. "Anything inside leather is fine," says Lynch. "They've brought up suitcases and found newspapers inside intact. Whatever acid they use tanning leather was so acidic, those little organisms that eat everything wouldn't touch it. That's why they find pairs of shoes where the bodies landed."

Was there really a 56-carat diamond on board?

No. The most expensive jewelry on board were two strings of pearls, belonging to philadelphian Eleanor Widener, worth $1 million in 1912. "They were saved,"says Lynch."The owner's insurance stipulated that she couldn't leave them out of her care. When she left the cabin, she put them around her neck. Her grandson's wife wears them today." Nor were there works by Picassa, Degas, or Monet on the ship, though all are depicted in the movie. "When people file insurance claims afterward,nobody had any famous art treasures," says Lynch.

Is that actual "Titanic" footage we're seeing in the modern-day sequences?

Cameron shot footage of the ship during 12 dives in the North Atlantic. While some of it is included in the film, other wreckage was re-created on the film's set in Mexico. For example: "They took a piano and blowtorched it and rotted it out,"says Lynch.

Would a woman like Rose smoke at the dinner table?

Probably not. "It is possible some women did that as an act of defiance at the time," says Roberta Ferrence, director of the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit at the University of Toronto,"but it's more typical of six or seven years later."

How long can a person stay alive in freezing water?

The average person succembs in 30 minutes or less. And if "you spend even more than a few mintues in freezing water up to your neck you lose the ability to coordinate your muscles and your judgment gets impaired." Says Dr. Andrew Weinberg, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.

Other interesting tidbits of fact about the Titanic.

In the film,Rose,in her old age,owns a Pomeranian. Indeed, a Pomeranian was one of only three dogs known to have survived the disaster.
As the real ship sank, a passengar freed dogs from their kennels, and a survivor later recalled a French bulldog swimming in the ocean. Cameron filmed scenes portraying the doomed paddling pup but cut them.
The 1910 song "Come Josephine," which Jack sings to Rose, was a hit at the time. Not so coincidentally, Josephine is also the name of Cameron's 4 year old daughter.
Cal and Rose's luxurious stateroom was one of only two that featured its own private promenade deck. J.P. Morgan, who owned the Titanic, had reserved one but canceled his trip 24 hours prior to sailing. A Mrs. Charlotte Cardeza-who, like Rose and her mother, was a member of Philadelphia society-took the suite at the last minute. She survived. Her maid did not.
Molly brown's Louis Vuitton luggage was right in style. "It is accurate,"says a spokeswoman for the 143 year old company. "Lots of our suitcases went down to the bottom of the sea."

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