Tagged: RMS Titanic

Clifton Webb’s Blazer in Titanic (1953)

Clifton Webb as Richard Ward Sturges in Titanic (1953)

Clifton Webb as Richard Ward Sturges in Titanic (1953)

Vitals

Clifton Webb as Richard Ward Sturges, millionaire, estranged family man, and fastidious dresser

RMS Titanic, April 1912

Film: Titanic
Release Date: April 16, 1953
Director: Jean Negulesco
Costume Designer: Dorothy Jeakins

Background

Julia: You’re up early.
Richard: I had to scratch around for something to wear. Not a bad shop, they have everything.
Julia: Dinner jackets, I trust.
Richard: Naturally. It will be ready tonight. So… life can go on.

This exchange summarizes the 1953 melodrama Titanic, one of the first attempts to tell the now-infamous story of the real-life sinking of the White Star Line’s premiere ocean liner during its maiden voyage in April 1912, sending more than 1,500 passengers and crew to their deaths as a few more than 700 spend a chilly night in uncovered lifeboats, waiting for help to arrive.

Released 66 years ago tomorrow, 20th Century Fox’s Titanic focuses more on the personal drama of the fictional Sturges family: pretentious and aloof patriarch Richard (Clifton Webb) and his strong-willed, responsible wife Julia (Barbara Stanwyck) who tries to protect their children from taking after their profligate father. Cut from the same cloth as his wickedly snobbish Waldo Lydecker character in Laura, Richard Ward Sturges delights in his children’s obvious preference for him as he showers them with a decadent lifestyle that would no doubt spoil them as adults if not for their more practical mother’s interventions. Continue reading

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Clifton Webb’s Tuxedo in Titanic (1953)

Clifton Webb as Richard Ward Sturges in Titanic (1953)

Clifton Webb as Richard Ward Sturges in Titanic (1953)

Vitals

Clifton Webb as Richard Ward Sturges, millionaire and estranged family man

RMS Titanic, April 1912

Film: Titanic
Release Date: April 16, 1953
Director: Jean Negulesco
Costume Designer: Dorothy Jeakins

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Before there was Kate and Leo, there was Barbara and Clifton.

To know me is to know my obsession with the Titanic and other maritime disasters of the early 20th century. SS ValenciaEmpress of IrelandLusitaniaPrincess SophiaTitanic‘s hospital sister ship Britannic… chances are that if it sank in the first few decades of last century, I know a thing or two about it.

It was today in 1912 that the RMS Titanic actually struck the iceberg that sank her. The collision happened around 11:40 p.m., North Atlantic time, on the night of Sunday, April 14. Compared to most of the other disasters in the previous paragraph, it took considerable time to sink, finally settling under the waves at 2:20 a.m. on the morning of Monday, April 15, 1912, ending more than 1,500 lives of the roughly 2,200 that had been aboard.

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Titanic – Billy Zane’s White Tie

Billy Zane as Cal Hockley in Titanic (1997).

Billy Zane as Cal Hockley in Titanic (1997).

Vitals

Billy Zane as Caledon “Cal” Hockley, pompous heir to a Pittsburgh steel fortune

North Atlantic Ocean, April 1912

Film: Titanic
Release Date: December 19, 1997
Director: James Cameron
Costume Designer: Deborah Lynn Scott

Background

Exactly 102 years today, the RMS Titanic saw land for the last time when it departed Queenstown, Ireland (now Cobh) at 1:30 PM (GMT) on April 11, 1912. The destination was New York City, but the ship foundered in the North Atlantic Ocean, taking with it more than 1,500 passengers and crew and leaving only a scattered 700 in the ship’s relatively few lifeboats.

Oh, you’ve heard of Titanic before? Okay, then, I doubt I need to say much more. Continue reading

Titanic’s 2nd Officer Lightoller in A Night to Remember

Kenneth More as Second Officer Charles Lightoller in A Night to Remember.

Kenneth More as Second Officer Charles Lightoller in A Night to Remember (1958).

101 years ago at 2:20 a.m., the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean, resulting in the death of more than 1,500 passengers and crew.

Vitals

Kenneth More as Charles Lightoller, Second Officer of the RMS Titanic

North Atlantic Ocean, April 1912

Film: A Night to Remember
Release Date: July 3, 1958
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Costume Designer: Yvonne Caffin

Background

Obviously, the death of 1,500 people is going to be a tragic event. Unfortunately, the extent of most of a modern generation’s knowledge about the event is that “OMG Leo died bc he loved Rose so much,” naturally referring to James Cameron’s well-researched but poorly focused 1997 epic Titanic. The individual stories of everyone on board, whether they stepped onto a lifeboat, fought for their lives in the icy water and managed to survive, or perished are legitimately heartbreaking and fascinating without having to pander to teenage emotions.

Cameron stated that he was inspired by scenes from the 1958 film A Night to Remember, a comparatively little-known film when compared to his blockbuster. However, most experts will call A Night to Remember the definitive filmed adaptation of the disaster. Continue reading