Rock the Boat

Titanic - (1953) Directed by Jean Negulesco

Starring Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck,

Robert Wagner, Audrey Dalton

This summer or spring, the last survivor of the Titanic passed away. I was at the World Financial Center. Inside the WFC, there's a Winter Garden Theatre thats occasionally used as a rather impressive music hall. I forgot the composer but I believe the piece was called Requiem for The Titanic and it was then followed by the news of the last survivor passing away that same day.

I can't help but compare the two films. After all, in 1997 I was 15--In 1953, well, I think my mother was born in 1953. Naturally, I saw the 1997 version first. I don't think either film was bad and keep in mind it would be unfair to call James Cameron's film a remake of Jean Negulesco's film of the same title. That would be like saying Roman Polanski's The Pianist is a remake of George Steven's Diary of Ann Frank. Yes, they both take place during the same event and yes, both follow characters trying to survive the unfortunate catastrophe of said event but the stories are different, as are the protagonists whom each story occurs to. So not only would it be unfair to call the latter a remake of the earlier, it would also prove untrue. However, if your imagination is just as vivid a playground as mine, you'd also enjoy noting that as Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck argue over custody of their children and the current state of ruins that was once a successful marriage; at the very same time this is occurring, Leonardo Dicaprio is running around with Kate Winslet on the same sinking ship. The two stories run parallel. Just like Wladyslaw Szpilman and Ann Frank, as one was hiding in an attic in Nazi occupied Amsterdam, the other was in an abandoned Warsaw ghetto, both during World War II.

Like I said I like them both, its just I like each at different parts. I like the central story from '53 slightly more than the story from '97. The romance between Leo and Kate is just not for me I don't care about their love, I'm a cold iceberg myself, in fact that was my favorite character in that film. I enjoyed the failed marriage, the father's relationship with his children, as well as the fact that Clifton Webb is just so great to listen to in the 1953 film. Its a good central story and could easily have been a film on its own if it took place on land with a resolution that did not involve sinking, separation, and death. However, the rest of the cast and their smaller stories don't seem to do much other than remind you, The Sturges aren't the only people on the Titanic. An underdeveloped love interest between a student (a young Robert Wagner) and daughter Sturges (Audrey Dalton) and a lush ex-priest nearly come close to interesting at first but then are interrupted by the iceberg before anything useful to the film can happen.

And there lies the difference, the 1953 film is itself sunk by the iceberg while the 1997 film gets snapped in half and the remainder stands straight and high with great momentum, suspense, passion, and panic. As much as I don't care for the love story it is effective in investing interest in the characters so to enhance the action after the ice cube pokes the boat. 1997 also has subplots involving class division; not to mention the special effects and set designs that fully bring to life the last hours of The RMS Titanic. The film is huge, its Titanic, which was probably what James Cameron had in mind.

Another fun thing my imagination likes to do during 1953 Titanic is imagine Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as the Sturges, it would be like Revolutionary Road onboard The Titanic. I'll stop now.

An Affair to Remember - (1957) Directed by Leo McCarey

Starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr

Wow! This was far more romantic than I was ready for. Its probably one of the most romantic films I've ever seen and I watched it alone, late at night on Columbus Day.

October has wasted no time in getting cold, no formalities or subtleties, just straight down and forward into business. My hands are gloved in a thin atmosphere of cool air, leaving my fingertips with a most strange sensation whenever I move them across the keypad of my laptop. Getting into bed is the worst, it takes so long to warm up under the sheets, especially my feet.

I thought about how one could not know the full story when something set to happen suddenly doesn't; how the most natural idea is often a greedy and selfish one. And then one day, you realize this about yourself and immediately everything inside shifts and rearranges once again as it was before, like an involuntary reaction. I haven't found the right quotes for certain events of my life, I haven't read that many books and I haven't had that many events. I do know I've had a Terry McKay and a skyscraper to meet her on, I was there but she was too busy rushing into her own accident.

At night I eventually fall asleep despite the cold feet and hands.

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