When Titanic hit theaters in 1997, it blew away the box office. Leonardo DiCaprio was the lead role, the teen throb hunk at the time. Kate Winslet was naked on screen for one of the most popular scenes, which led to one of the most desired images in the film outside of the iconic, “I’m flying!” scene. We were all warm and fuzzy that the main leads, defying their class roles, professed their love for one another days after meeting on the famed unsinkable ship.
Unfortunately, while Jack and Rose weren’t real passengers aboard the R.M.S. Titanic, the ship itself was. Harboring famed first class passengers such as John Jacob Astor, the wealthiest man aboard–along with his wife, Madeleine, who was five months pregnant with their son. Or co-owner of Macy*s Department Store, Isidor Straus, and his wife, Ida. Famed Molly Brown, dubbed The Unsinkable Molly Brown. “Millionaire’s Captain”, Edward Smith, and White Star Line’s chairman and managing director, J. Bruce Ismay–who is best known for climbing into the lifeboat to spare himself from the icy waters of the unbearable North Atlantic. The orchestra, who played up until the end, the lookouts, and the Marconi Wireless Operator who masterfully received and delivered distress calls the night Titanic hit an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on April 14, 1912.
Captain Edward Smith set sail with Titanic on her maiden voyage–April 10, 1912 from Southampton, England, along with the ship’s builder, Thomas Andrews. Smith was preparing for retirement once the ship docked in New York City, Titanic struck an iceberg four days later from a side collision with an iceberg that was still in unnaturally calm waters, seen too little too late. One pair of binoculars was to be shared among the two lookouts high up in the crows nest that chilly April evening. Five of the supposedly watertight compartments were ruptured nearest to the bow of the ship.
The unsinkable ship was fated to founder.
Of the 2,228 passengers aboard Titanic, 1500 souls were lost when R.M.S Titanic finally sank at 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912. There were only 750 survivors.
Among the lost were Captain Edward Smith, Thomas Andrews, Mr. John Jacob Astor, Mr. and Mrs. Straus, and the list follows. The greatest loss was among the third class passengers, who were given the most meager of accommodations. The 20 lifeboats on Titanic left lighter than they should.
I will let that sink in. Despite the priority command of women and children first, not all of that was respected.
As we all know, Jack did not make it. He offered the love of his life of four days a door that is still under heavy speculation could have fit two. But I saw Jack’s death as a metaphor of the poor treatment and discrimination of the third class passengers, and that not even he could escape it. Dropped to the ocean floor in a set of handcuffs, Rose learned valuable lessons from Jack that her first class upbringing certainly couldn’t.
Make it count.
James Cameron opened a lot of eyes with the production of Titanic. Myself included. As much as I say I…heavily dislike the film based on the fact that the focus was on a pair of fictional lovers as opposed to honoring the actual passengers, I will take the homage’s instilled. The honoring of their spirits on this day that we look back on one of the most famed maritime tragedies to ever exist.
My fascination will likely never die down as I will continually seek to learn more.