|Dial "T" For Titanic|
|"The Titanic Movie That Never Was To Be"|
|January 1938. Producer David "O" Selznick was looking for a project to lure Alfred Hitchcock from his home in England to America. Selznick realized that a Hollywood-ized telling of Titanic could mean big box office with international appeal.
Selznick's office contacted the United States Line about buying the derilict S.S. Leviathan, which was rusting away at a pier in New Jersey. Selzick wanted to film on an actual ship, then sink it. The proposed $2,000,000 dollars wouldnt cover the towing to California, let alone the price of the ship.
During the negotiations in the East, Selznick was trying to get the rights to a screenplay from Howard Hughes.
Alfred Hitchcock heard of Selznicks interest in him helming a "Titanic" project, and wired him that he was also thinking of a movie based on Titanic.
By July, Hitchcock had crossed over on the Queen Mary and signed a contract with Selznick. In one meeting about "Titanic", Hitchcock suggested an opening scene that starts on a rivet and under the credits pulls back 50,000 feet to reveal the Titanic in all her splendor. He also mused about what might happen if, after filming the Leviathan sinking, they realized they didnt have any film in the camera, and who would inform Selznick.
Soon after, a German film company reported that they were starting a film on Titanic, and several law firms representing shipping lines rallied against the Selznick studios to block the film. Even a meeting between the boards and Hitchcock proved futile. With mounting threats of lawsuits, script and film ownership and other numerous headaches, Selznick seemed to move on and paid $50,000 for the rights to Daphne de Mauriers "Rebecca" and announced "Titanic" as Hitchcocks second feature after "Rebecca". As "Gone With The Wind" took over the MGM lot,"Titanic" slipped further and further away, and was finally dropped from the roster of films in production. "Rebecca" went on to win best picture of 1939.
|David "O" Selznick and Alfred Hitchcock|