April 15, 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking. For the last century, it’s been a subject of seemingly endless fascination. There have been over 200 books written about the Titanic, as well as numerous television specials, a musical (which wasn’t all that bad) and at least a dozen movies. Last week, James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster Titanic returned to theatres re-mastered in 3D, and judging by the already strong box office numbers, the magic is definitely still there.
What some of you may not know is that all of us at Pubcrawl are HUGE Titanic fans! To celebrate this important anniversary, and the re-release of the movie, we thought we’d share some of our Titanic memories with all of you, and recommend a few of the Titanic novels that have released in the last few months.
Starting things off, I was in my early 20’s when the original movie came out, and I’d never seen a movie get so much hype! My best friend and I promised each other that we’d see it together, which we did, as soon as it stopped selling out! 😉 Three hours couldn’t have gone by faster. I was completely caught up in the story, and ended up loving the movie. Part of me still hopes that the ending will be different and Jack will survive! When I see it again in 3D, I hope it will be as good as I remember it!
Joanna Volpe: I did see this in theaters. In fact, I was working at a movie theater when it came out. It was sold out, lines around the corner, for MONTHS. No joke. I haven’t seen anything like that happen since!
Marie Lu: I am an unabashed Leo-forever fangirl (I first fell for him in Growing Pains, then Basketball Diaries, then Romeo+Juliet), so I have very fond memories of his breakout film! I was lucky enough to have been 13 the year it came out, which meant I could watch it with my friends w/o dragging my parents along. Thank god, because my little tween self bawled nonstop through the last third of the movie. I also vividly remember needing to pee really bad right around when the ship first started sinking, and by the movie’s end I was, like, delirious from holding it in. It didn’t help that there was a LOT of water in that second half. O__o
Sarah: I think I was 11 or 12 when it released (…11 seems young, because I totally sat with my friends and I can’t remember where our parents were)… I seriously cried myself to sleep for THREE NIGHTS afterwards, listening to “My Heart Will Go On” on repeat and mourning Jack’s death. I’m honestly surprised my parents weren’t more concerned.
Leigh: When I went to see Titanic, the theater was packed, and I was seated next to a rather large man who kept making little comments and exclaiming things throughout the film. When Rose got naked for her portrait, he declared, at the top of his lungs, “MAGNIFICENT!” That’s my clearest memory of the movie.
Kat: I’m excited to say that I did indeed watch Titanic while it was in theaters, though the only scenes I remember from it are the ones where Rose is being sketched while naked and the end when she’s on the door (Six-Year-Old Me: “Mommy, why don’t they take turns??”) I think I might appreciate the movie more now 😉
JJ: The first time I got to see Titanic in the theatres was April 4, 2012. Why? Because wee JJ was 12 years old when Titanic was released the first time, and her parents had a weird, arbitrary (and frankly, draconian!) rule about not letting their daughter watch PG-13 movies until she was actually 13. I WAS SIX MONTHS AWAY FROM IT. I was the only kid in my 7th grade class who hadn’t seen it (you can imagine what that did for my popularity levels) and I begged, pleaded, and cajoled my parents (I even brought in my Mormon aunt to make my case for me–“See? She had no moral objections!”), but alas, they did not relent. And yeah, I still resent them a little for this.
Erin: Like JJ, my parents had a strict PG-13 rule. But they bent it for Titanic, for some reason. It may have had to do with the fact that I was two months away from turning 13. Anyway, I saw it in theaters and remember bawling my eyes out for about the last third of the movie. As JJ points out in her blog post, I think one of the most powerful pieces of story-telling in the movie (aside from Rose rocking her sexuality) is the smaller, quieter moments given to minor characters. That string quartet! The elderly couple that holds hands in bed as the water rolls in. The mommy saying there will be another lifeboat for the daddys soon. Ugh. *dies* These are the moments that brought me to tears back then and still stand out in my mind today.
Sooz: I still haven’t seen it…EEK! Not all the way through at least. I would have been a dapper, fresh 13-year-old when the film first released, so while I WAS allowed to go, it would seem for some reason, I chose not to. (Like many of the other ladies here, my parents were VERY strict about that whole “PG-13 is for 13-year-olds!” nonsense. Clearly anyone who grew up with that rule was destined to work in publishing.) I tried watching the film on TV when I was in high school, but I remember being incredibly bored, rolling my eyes, and finally turning it off when Kate Winslet does that absurd little trick on her toes. Yes, I was a jaded 17-year-old. Yes, it appears I remain a jaded 28-year-old. Also, TVs were smaller then–I blame my boredom on that.
Jodi: I was thirteen or fourteen when the movie came out. My younger sister and I went to see it in the theater together. We both cried. Aside from the crying, my strongest memory of seeing the movie is a few older girls laughing when old-Rose’s feet are the biggest things on the screen. Shut up, older girls! We’re trying to cry in peace over here! My sister and I were very offended. (PS. There was totally enough room for both of them on that door.)
Julie: The images that jump to my mind when I think back on the film are those that emphasized the differences between the classes – I loved the Irish party scene in steerage and was horrified to see the same passengers locked behind gates while the ship sank. I also remember thinking Kathy Bates was pitch-perfect as Molly Brown.
Aime:I first saw Titanic as part of a huge group of teens. We were at a national sailing championships, and had been packed off for the night to give the parents a break. I sat next to a boy who kept trying to hold into my hand like he was Jack and I was that raft. Only he wouldn’t let go in the end. The rest of the championship was plagued with bad Titanic jokes, and kids falling off dinghies after unwisely standing up to do comical King of the World impressions…
To end this post, I leave you with a few Titanic novels to feed your Titanic-loving souls.
First we have The Watch that Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic by Alan Wolf. 24 distinct voices (including the Unsinkable Molly Brown, a rat aboard the ship, and the iceberg itself) are evoked in this powerful novel in verse. The voices span classes and stations, and it’s a fascinating glimpse into the lives behind the tragedy.
For those of you who are fans of paranormal romance, check out Fateful by Claudia Gray. Eighteen-year-old Tess is travelling aboard the Titanic as a lady’s maid when she meets Alec- a handsome upper class passenger. Tess falls helplessly in love. But Alec has secrets of his own. A sinister brotherhood determined to induct Alec into their mystical order has followed him on board, and soon Tess finds herself entangled in a dangerous game. They will have to fight the dark forces threatening to tear them apart, not realizing that they will face an even greater peril before the voyage is over.
From Suzanne Weyn, author of Reincarnation comes a historical, supernatural romance, focusing on sisters whose lives are intertwined with the sinking of the Titanic. Four sisters and their mother make their way from a spiritualist town in New York to London, becoming acquainted with journalist W. T. Stead, scientist Nikola Tesla, and industrialist John Jacob Astor. When they all find themselves on the Titanic, one of Tesla’s inventions dooms them…and one could save them.
And finally, what would a Titanic post be without mention of the famous novel A Night to Rememberby Walter Lord. First published in 1955, this novel remains one of the most riveting accounts of the Titanic’s fatal collision, and the behaviour of the passengers and crew. Available in a special trade paper anniversary edition, and with an introduction by Nathaniel Philbrick, it brings the disaster to life for a new generation of readers. Fans may also want to watch the 1958 film of the novel, which is regarded as one of the most accurate accounts of the disaster.
Rachel Seigel is the Children’s/Young Adult Book Buyer at wholesaler S&B Books in Mississauga, Ontario. She also maintains a personal blog at http://readingtimbits.blogspot.com and can be found on Twitter as @rachelnseigel.