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by Terri Bey

It has been 25 years since the much-awaited film "Titanic " debuted on December 19, 1997. The film, directed by James Cameron (Terminator 2), follows a romance between an engaged First Class girl, Rose Dewitt-Bukator (Kate Winslet), and a poor Third Class vagabond, Jack Dawson (Leonardo Di Caprio) which takes place aboard the ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. The story is told in flashback by 101-year-old Rose Dewitt-Bukator to a group of selfish and greedy divers, led by Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) who want to know where her "Heart of the Ocean" necklace is located, as they found a naked photo of her with the necklace on in a safe they brought up. The viewer of this Romeo-Juliet-like story follows the lovers throughout the entire voyage, including the sinking, and events during the sinking and their escaping Dewitt-Bukator's evil fiance,' Caledon Hockley (Billy Zane) and his guard, Spicer Lovejoy (David Warner).

I watched this film today with members of the Titanic Social Club and members of the Titanic Book Club. It was an enjoyable time, but when I was watching the film, I wanted to see how well "Titanic" "held up." Now, what does the term, "held up" or "hold up" mean, concerning films? The term generally means whether the film has aged well or not. It really depends on what you are looking for. I am also going to discuss what I think should have been left in and added.

I saw this film in the theater when it came out. I think I saw it twice. The film was grand, and I found that James Cameron brought the ship to life. Right to the end, I thought I was on the RMS Titanic. I just loved the film right away. I knew immediately it would win many Oscars and Best Picture and I was right. It won 11 Academy Awards and Best Picture and Director for Cameron.

While I don't consider myself to be a historian, far from it, I admit that I did some nitpicking. While this was not the only Titanic Movie to do this, I said to myself, "Where was the S.S. Californian? The S.S. Californian was the Leyland Liner that saw the rockets and didn't come to the Titanic's aid. Cameron's explanation was that he wanted audiences to see how isolated the ship was. I get what he was saying. I do think the Californian scenes that were shot, but not used, should have been included.

Some of the criticisms I had 25 years ago, that I still have now, despite loving the film are as follows: I would have liked to have seen less of the Jack and Rose stuff. Some of it, like the escape from Jack's being handcuffed and going through that water and the part where they encounter that man and the boy, all could have been cut out, so some of the real stuff could have been included. The real story of the Titanic and her demise is way more compelling. There was a great scene that was cut out that showed White Star Line President Bruce Ismay boarding the Carpathia and walking between rows of passengers. There was the scene with the Straus couple that I believe was cut out. I mean. Cameron cut out one of the most famous incidents on the ship for Jack and Rose. For me, less Jack and Rose and more Titanic. I overall love the film, though.

After 25 years, this film has aged very well. It still holds up, even though the dialogue is still a little cheesy, but much of it is from the NY Inquiries, as "A Night to Remember" (1958) also took much of its dialogue from those Inquiries. Cameron definitely got much of his script from the 1958 classic. As a viewer, I still get the emotional feelings from James Horner's incredible score, and from hearing the legendary Celine Dion sing "My Heart Will Go On, " (music by James Horner, and lyrics by Will Jennings) during the end credits. I get goosebumps from seeing the Titanic move gracefully in the water, even knowing her fate. She was so beautiful. The model ship that was made for the film still looks like the Titanic. I still get the same sadness and grief when the ship strikes the big and right at the end, when she and those poor 1496 souls die.

Overall, James Cameron's "Titanic" is still a masterpiece of a Titanic film and a masterpiece of a film in its own right. The cinematography is incredible, especially in the scene where Jack sings to Rose, "Come Josephine in my Flying Machine" on the prow of the liner, with the sunset in the background, the sunset that would be the RMS TItanic's last. The realism of the accident, sinking, and the final plunge is still realistic and emotional for the viewer.

It has been 25 years since "Titanic" was first released, but this film still looks like it was released yesterday. Congratulations on 25 years. Here's to another 25!

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by Terri Bey

I am currently reading ''The Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger: The Complete Story of the Titanic and the Californian," by Dr. Paul Lee, an esteemed Titanic author, and expert, who is also a member of the Titanic Book Club. The author discusses both sides of the "Californian Incident." The brand new "unsinkable" White Star Liner RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg at 11:40 pm on April 14, 1912. As the great liner was sinking, she fired 8 white distress rockets for about an hour. Various officers and passengers stated in Inquiries and in the press that they saw the white lights of a "mystery ship which sat there, but never came to assist." The "mystery ship" was believed to be the Leyland Line tramp steamer, the S.S. Californian, led by Captain Stanley Lord, who claimed innocence.

I am about a third of the way through, but I do want to say that from what I have read, I highly recommend this well-written book. Dr. Lee's writing is excellent and the reader gets a clear understanding of the testimony in the British Inquiry, as that is where I am in this book. In the introduction, Dr. Lee informs the reader of the purpose of the book, which is to give a full account of this incident. The reader then reads about nautical terms and such.

Dr. Lee uses quite a bit of the British Inquiry testimony in his book. As he said in the Introduction, he uses the source, "word for word." I found the Inquiry testimony to be very helpful. I think the reader will understand what was in that person's mind. Some of the testimony from the Californian's Captain and Officers just made me so frustrated. Second Officer Herbert Stone's denial that the ship shooting the rockets was the Titanic annoyed me. Donkeyman Ernest Gill's testimony didn't ring true to me. He was very inconsistent. First the ship he saw as a "Big German" was moving. He then said he "could not see it anymore." He later said he could not decide whether the ship was going towards New York or Europe. All he confirmed was something happened that night.

Overall, I really recommend "The Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger: The Complete Story of the Titanic and the Californian," by Dr. Paul Lee. It is a page-turner as well as a very informative book.

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by Terri Bey

I recently finished "Titanic: The Homecoming: Tales from the "Lapland" by Dr. Paul Lee. This book is about the majority of surviving crew members traveling on the SS Lapland on April 28, 1912, two weeks after the Titanic disaster, hoping to see their families and friends. When the ship got to Plymouth, England, officials from the British Board of Trade threatened to delay the crew and keep them in Plymouth so that statements could be obtained for the British Inquiry, even though in New York, these same crew members had to keep quiet, per the White Star Line. Interference by their union played a role in releasing them. The book also features countless surviving crew accounts of their experiences on the Titanic with interviews written statements, and news articles that were once lost, but are reconstructed. The forward is written by Titanic expert and author George Behe.

"Titanic: The Homecoming: Tales from the "Lapland" by Dr. Paul Lee is one of the best Titanic-related books I have read. I could not put it down, once I started reading it. Dr. Paul Lee's way of telling the story of the experiences of the crew's ordeal at Plymouth and their meeting with their worried relatives is very compelling. The reader can empathize with the crew, at least I did when I read the book. I could relate to those crew members who just wanted to be with their families after experiencing the worst sea disaster, only to find that they might be held up to give statements to the British Inquiry.

Reading all those different crew accounts of what happened during the sinking was very fascinating. What I liked was that these accounts via newspaper articles, interviews, etc., came from all different perspectives. Some say the Titanic broke into two pieces. Some said she broke into three pieces. Of course, the reader needs to be very careful when reading these accounts, because there are inaccuracies. I would advise the reader to read the footnotes when reading these crew recollections, as the author thoroughly explains certain items, especially inaccuracies.

I recommend "Titanic: The Homecoming: Tales from the "Lapland" by Dr. Paul Lee, because it is a compelling and engaging book about the crew of the ill-fated Titanic.

Many authors write about the disaster, passengers, etc. What is particularly appealing about this book is the discussion of the surviving crew and their post-Titanic lives. This wonderful book is for just about every Titanic Enthusiast.

You can purchase "Titanic: The Homecoming: Tales from the "Lapland" by Dr. Paul Lee here: Titanic: The Homecoming: Tales From The Lapland, Lee, Paul, Behe, George, eBook -

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