The first thing that I noticed when watching the film was that it was not in chronological order. The introducing scene is of the wreck of the Titanic from a submarine, we know that the people are searching for something valuable because they have a robot that is scouting the ship. This shows that the events that had taken place many years ago were no longer of any importance to us and to show that there are no longer any strong feelings towards the events. The opening scene makes us think about the disastrous events and about the many shattered dreams that were carried by the passengers in 1912.
We are then introduced to a survivor of the Titanic. This shows how significant an event the Titanic was because we are shown that people can still remember 84 years ago and still have a picture perfect memory of what happened. Cameron uses main characters very cleverly in the film. He makes us care about the characters so that the events that happen seem even more tragic. He does this by making us feel as if we know the characters and he makes us like them.
Jack is the character that gets sympathy from the audience because he is a steerage class passenger and is looked down on by many of the characters in the play. He is also a fun loving, exciting character, as we see in the film when there is a shot of Cal drinking brandy with the men and then a shot of Jack and Rose in the steerage part of the ship, dancing to Irish music and having a good time. Rose is very similar to Jack, as she gets the sympathy vote from the audience, basically because she is a women in Edwardian England that is always seen as inferior and mistreated by Cal, as he shows during his argument with Rose when he says,
“You will honour me, you will honour me like any other fian This also shows that he thinks that she is just a normal women – he doesn’t think that she is special, and you would expect that he would think his future wife was special to him. The first time you see Rose you can see that she is a good, kind character because the way the camera is used to show her as stunning and beautiful. Cameron makes us dislike Cal by emphasising his arrogance and snobbishness. From the first time we see him we know that he is the villain of the film.
The first impression that we get of him is as if he is too big for his boots. James Cameron also makes sure that we notice the class divide in Edwardian times by having the love affair be between Jack (a steerage class passenger) and Rose (a first class passenger). We are introduced to the class divide very early, when the passengers are getting on the boat we see 3rd class passengers being checked for lice and then the camera focuses on a 1st class passenger walking on the ship with a dog without being checked. When we are actually on the ship we see Jacks room and then the camera jumps to Roses luxurious room, which is more like a house than a room. One quote that is typical of Edwardian England is,
“You don’t want to stay out here with the women” This reminds us that we are in 1912 when watching the film because we know that men thought women as inferior in those times. Another example is the line, “Come along sweet pea”, Said by Cal when he is at the harbour. He says this with a hint of superiority in his voice, which makes him immediately disliked and also reminds us about Edwardian England.
There is a time in the film when setting is very important. When Rose is about to commit suicide and she is speaking to Jack is when the phrase of never letting go comes into the film – Jack tells Rose not to let go of the railings that she is holding onto, which separates her from Jack. In this scene Jack describes thoroughly what the water at that specific temperature feels like when it hits you. This sets the scene for the end of the film so that you know what the character must be feeling when the ship sinks.
The actual setting of this scene is important because it is where Jack and Rose meet, and at the end of the film it is exactly where the are as the ship goes under – pointed out by Rose in the ending of the film as the ship is about to go down when she says, “Jack, this is where we first met”. One sequence of scenes that stood out in the film was when the ensemble of violinists came back to play after saying goodbye.
The sequence starts by showing them finishing their last song and then saying goodbye to each other. They then all leave in different directions, and one comes back and begins to play a song by himself. It is a sombre song and the screaming of people on the ship is faded away to leave the sound of the one violin. The rest of the band then gradually join in with the man with the music still able to be heard clearly, as there is no dialogue. The Captain is then shown at the wheel of the ship preparing himself to go down with his ship, and Mr Andrews is seen at the marble fireplace, adjusting the time on the small clock that is sat upon its mantelpiece. An old couple are then shown together on their bed in their room, then a mother sending her children to bed with a bedtime story so that they didn’t suffer. There are then some more sequences shown of people on the deck who are stricken with fear and shock.
I believe that this sequence is one of the most emotive in the whole film, as it shows how many different types of people the sinking affected – old, young, 1st, 2nd and 3rd class. The music being played then stops and we see more frantic scenes where people are running and fighting for their lives. There is a huge contrast in scenes – going from quiet emotional scenes to frantic, loud scenes. Another well-directed scene is the scene at the end of the film.
We see Rose on the boat that she has just told her thrilling story on and it is know evening. We see her bare feet walking upon the ship deck, towards the back of the boat. She then pulls herself up onto the rails, just like the scene in the film when she is about to commit suicide. She reaches into her pocket, looks at the vast ocean and pulls out the object that Brock Lovett has been looking for, the heart of the ocean. She studies it in her hands and then she throws it into the ocean where we see it slowly spiral towards the bottom.
We then see Rose in bed and the camera begins to pan across her collection of photographs on the ship. The photographs show Rose as a young woman doing various things such as flying an aeroplane. One in particular stands out of the collection because it relates to something that is said in the film. The picture shows Rose riding a horse ‘like a man’, which is what Jack promised to teach her when they got to America. This shows that she still has very strong feelings towards Jack because she kept all of her promises to him even though he wasn’t there.
The camera then pans across her face and the picture fades to the wreck of the Titanic, looming in the murky depths of the ocean. The camera enters the wreck and we see one of the corridors. The camera begins to travel along the corridor and sad music begins to be played. The music then speeds up as the camera progresses along the corridor and the ship slowly starts to change in appearance. By the time we reach the end of the corridor the ship is as it was at the beginning of the film, new and untouched. The camera then comes to a door where a doorman is stood. The door is opened and there are two lines of people on the ship, all looking at us (we are seeing this shot from Rose’s point of view).
All of the people are those that she met and more importantly liked, on the Titanic. We then come out of Rose’s eyes and travel with her towards the clock on the stairs where Jack is stood waiting. She walks up the stairs and they kiss with the music still able to be heard and the clapping of people’s hands. The music is the theme tune to the film and it is at this moment where you pay more attention to the lyrics of the song, as the directly relate to what has happened in the film. The music builds up emotion well in this scene, as it is touching and very moving.
“A Night To Remember” (produced by William MacQuillty, directed by Roy Baker 1958) is fairly different to James Cameron’s “Titanic”- Most probably because it was made 38 years before Cameron’s version. The most recognisable difference in the two films is that “A Night To Remember” is in black and white, which makes it less exciting. It is also in chronological order unlike James Cameron’s version. In “A Night To Remember” we don’t get attached to a character, which makes the sinking of the ship seem less tragic.
The film made in 1958 concentrates more on informing the audience about what had happened. There is great emphasis on the ice warnings in “A Night To Remember”, whereas; in the “Titanic” we are only briefly told about ice in the ships course. The crew are very organised in “A Night to Remember” with everything under control even when the ship has collided with the iceberg. There are no people screaming or running about the ship, unlike what is seen in the “Titanic”. Every passenger is calmly getting into a boat and sailing away. One of the main differences is that the ship does not split into two in “A Night To Remember” and there is no suction created by the ship, although in the “Titanic” these two important facts are made very clear.
The fact that we didn’t get attached to any character in the film makes it have less of an impact on the audience, which results in the film being less successful than the “Titanic”. James Cameron focussed on two fictional characters (Jack and Rose) so that he could make the events seem more tragic. If we were to become attached to one or more characters, Cameron knew that when the iceberg hit we would immediately be concerned about them because we care for them so much.
Taking it even further would make the film an even better story and more successful, so Cameron decided to have Jack die as the tragic hero, saving Roses life numerous times and becoming loved by the audience, from sympathy because he was 3rd class and because he was a gracious man. Rose dies at the end of the film at 101 to join Jack; I believe Cameron did this to show how love is eternal and also, (for a more obvious reason) – so that the story was believed to be true from a true Titanic survivor.
I believe that James Cameron’s intention when he made the film was to portray the film well enough so that the audience would be moved and care more about the events that happened in 1912. I think he also wanted to show that love and can blossom between two totally different people. I think that the way Cameron used the sound track and sound effects to create atmosphere was very professional. The way that he can get through to the audiences emotional side by making us feel attached to the characters and therefore making the disaster seem more tragic.
I think that Cameron wanted to make people like teenagers who had a brief idea of the events but had no idea of how many people it affected care more about the event, and also people like Brock Lovett who are so insensitive towards the event that they make sarcastic jokes about it. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching and analysing “The Titanic” and believe that it was a terrific piece of work by James Cameron.