TITANIC
Photos: 20th  Century Fox
(Editors note: Anyone knowing the music played during Annette and Giffs dance, please, E-mail me and let me know.)
"Dinner Jackets I Trust?"
(1953)
  Production began on 20th Century Foxs' "Titanic" in November, 1952. Originally to be called "Nearer My God To Thee", the title was  changed to "Titanic" so that the movie going public knew it was a movie about a dramatic event at sea, and not a religious epic. Titanic was to be one of the last movies Fox filmed in the academy ratio of 1.37:1. If it had been filmed a year later, audiences would have been treated to a glorious widescreen color version of the film. Titanic was directed by Jean Negulesco and produced by Charles Brackett, who was disappointed by the box office results of "Titanic": "Maybe people had a certain reluctance to seeing a film in which, they knew, almost every one in the cast would be drowned". The Academy Award winning screenplay was written by Brackett, Walter Reisch and Richard Breen. Heading up the cast was Clifton Webb, the perfect choice for the elitist snob, Richard Ward Sturges. Walter Lord was quoted as saying that even if the Sturges family was not real, that Clifton Webb's portrayal was so vivid that if he wasn't on the ship, he should have been. Barbara Stanwyck did a great job as"Julia Sturges" a woman on the run from her husband Richard, with her two children in tow. Stanwyck said about the film: "The night we were making the scene of the dying ship in the outdoor tank at Twentieth, it was bitter cold. I was 47 feet up in the air in a lifeboat swinging on the davits. The water below was agitated into a heavy rolling mass and it was thick with other lifeboats full of woman and children. I looked down and thought: If one of these ropes snaps now, it's good-by for you. Then I looked up at the faces lined along the rail - those left behind to die with the ship. I thought of the men and women who had been through this thing in our time. We were re-creating an actual tragedy and I burst into tears. I shook with great racking sobs and couldn't stop". On hand was the great character actress Thelma Ritter, playing Montana lead mine heiress Maude Young. Obviously based on Denver's "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, why the name change is a mystery as Molly Brown died in October, 1932, and always embraced her Titanic celebrity status. On board for the bobby soxers in the audience was 23 year old Robert Wagner, who romances the Sturges' daughter Annette, played with great "Do not look at me, I'm too pretty for you" attitude by Audrey Dalton. Robert Wagner and Barbara Stanwyck developed a romantic relationship on the set of "Titanic". Of the A.E. Housman poem she reads to him, he said: "The content of that poem sort of sum's up where I was at the point in my life. Barbara was very helpful. She's a sensitive lady beneath that kind of sharp front. She changed my whole approach to my work - made me want to learn the business completely. She really started me thinking. It means a great deal when someone takes that kind of time with a newcomer". "Titanic" premiered on April 11, 1953 at the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia, to aid the Navy Relief Ball. Even though Titanic "purists" looked down on the 1953 "Titanic" for it's sloppy attention to detail, the film remains very popular and certain aspects of the film were resurrected in 1997 for James Cameron's "Titanic".
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