Movies We Missed: 'Titanic'

Sep 23, 2017
Originally published on September 23, 2017 11:34 am
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(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CASABLANCA")

HUMPHREY BOGART: (As Rick Blaine) Here's looking at you, kid.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GONE WITH THE WIND")

CLARK GABLE: (As Rhett Butler) Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ON THE WATERFRONT")

MARLON BRANDO: (As Terry Malloy) I could've been a contender.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ALL ABOUT EVE")

BETTE DAVIS: (As Margo) Fasten your seat belts.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "JERRY MAGUIRE")

CUBA GOODING JR: (As Rod Tidwell) Show me the money.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TAXI DRIVER")

ROBERT DE NIRO: (As Travis Bickle) You talking to me?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "WHEN HARRY MET SALLY")

ESTELLE REINER: (As Older Woman Customer) I'll have what she's having.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE COLOR PURPLE")

OPRAH WINFREY: (As Sofia) I ain't never thought I'd have to fight in my own house.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LION KING")

JEREMY IRONS: (As Scar) Long live the king.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE SHINING")

JACK NICHOLSON: (As Jack Torrance) Here's Johnny.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "STAR WARS: EPISODE V - THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK")

DAVID PROWSE: (As Darth Vader) I am your father.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE WIZARD OF OZ")

MARGARET HAMILTON: (As The Wicked Witch of the West) I'll get you, my pretty.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS")

ANDY SERKIS: (As Gollum) Precious.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE DARK KNIGHT")

HEATH LEDGER: (As Joker) Why so serious?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY")

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: (As The Terminator) Hasta la vista, baby.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE GODFATHER")

RICHARD S CASTELLANO: (As Clemenza) Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And - I'm king of the world.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TITANIC")

LEONARDO DICAPRIO: (As Jack) I'm king of the world.

SIMON: You know, there are people who've seen "Titanic" more times going to the dentist - a dozen, 25 times. James Cameron's 1997 film won the Academy Award for best picture, was the highest-grossing film of all time for many years. But one of our producers, Oliver Dearden, had never seen it. So for the latest of our open-ended series of great films you may quote but actually missed, we asked Ollie (ph) to see "Titanic." And he joins us in our studios. Ollie, thanks for being with us.

OLIVER DEARDEN, BYLINE: It's my absolute pleasure, Scott.

SIMON: Set up the film for us.

DEARDEN: OK. So it's kind of "Lady Chatterley's Lover" meets "The Love Boat" meets "The Poseidon Adventure," except that bit's actually real.

SIMON: (Laughter).

DEARDEN: The ship did sink in 1912. And then there's all this gubbins that's stuck onto it to get you to that point with some flashback stuff thrown in and a treasure hunt.

SIMON: That's pretty good. I'd missed the "Lady Chatterley's" part. I mean, what...

DEARDEN: The main protagonist, Rose, is trying to have it, you know, with a bit of rough down in steerage.

SIMON: (Laughter).

DEARDEN: So I guess that's the kind of...

SIMON: (Laughter).

DEARDEN: That's the Lady Chatterley to his Mellors.

SIMON: All right. OK. Been a while since I've seen the film. Remind me what happens. Titanic makes it safely to New York, and everyone lives happily ever after, right?

DEARDEN: There's something a bit - a bit goes awry in between that not happening. They set off on the maiden voyage. All the well-to-do people get on. And then this young whippersnapper - he wins a card game...

SIMON: Leonardo DiCaprio, yeah.

DEARDEN: ...Gets a ticket, gets on just as the boat's leaving, having convinced a man he doesn't have lice.

SIMON: Yeah. Right. And, of course, Kate Winslet plays the ingenue.

DEARDEN: Yeah. She's a forlorn, young woman who loves art and wants to be free. And she's engaged in this kind of forced marriage because she's from a well-to-do family that's gone bust. And she's being...

SIMON: This is Billy Zane, right?

DEARDEN: ...Paired off to Billy Zane with hair...

SIMON: Yeah.

DEARDEN: ...Who is a Pittsburgh or Philadelphia tycoon's son. So he's minted.

SIMON: Yeah. Yeah. Leonardo DiCaprio's character is also an accomplished artist, right?

DEARDEN: Well, he's a 10-bob, thrupenny-bit sketch artist.

SIMON: (Laughter).

DEARDEN: He's been making a living around the world drawing people in charcoal. He's not Monet.

SIMON: All right. But he's charming enough and gifted enough to get Rose to pose with - how do we say this? - the classic artistic Greek manner.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TITANIC")

DICAPRIO: (As Jack) That's nice. What is it, a sapphire?

KATE WINSLET: (As Rose) A diamond. A very rare diamond. Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls, wearing this.

DICAPRIO: (As Jack) All right.

WINSLET: (As Rose) Wearing only this.

DEARDEN: In the buff.

SIMON: Catch my - yes, in the buff. OK. All right. Look, a controversy that has persisted ever since that film came out 20 years ago - do you think both Rose and Jack could've lived, that there was room for both of them on that door?

DEARDEN: Well, there probably was. But they weren't very good at balancing. They tried it twice, and then they gave up.

SIMON: Now, you know, the show "MythBusters" actually did a segment a number of years ago where they said that with some slight or more than slight alterations, the door could've floated, and they both could've survived. But James Cameron, the director, pointed out, you know, it would have been lower in the water. And the water was 28 degrees. And they both would've died of hypothermia.

DEARDEN: That's true. Now, I ask you...

SIMON: Yeah?

DEARDEN: Why didn't she scream out? That boat's going away, and she's just (whispering), help, help. And then she manages to jump in the water and get the guy with the whistle. She could have - the boat didn't need to go away at the end. It was so many times when she could've saved herself.

SIMON: You're suggesting, of course, that they needed Jack - the DiCaprio character - to die in order to complete this love-struck, fatal romance, right?

DEARDEN: Yeah. I mean, I think he needed to die because, I mean, as evil as he was, you just knew that Cal, the Billy Zane character, was going to make it. I mean, he was pretty despicable. He was awfully awful.

SIMON: I mean, the test of a film that survives is, do you talk about it to your friends later? Do you say, oh, this reminds me of the time this and that? Any of that since you've seen "Titanic?"

DEARDEN: Well, I've been grumbling a bit to my wife about it. It was very long. It - I was expecting to hate it. I'll tell you that much.

SIMON: Yeah.

DEARDEN: I thought this film would be long, schmaltzy. But actually, the end - he really got that bit right. The drama of them dying and then seeing all those bodies floating like corks, just frozen stiff. You think, yeah, that was bloody awful.

SIMON: Yeah. Make you want to go on a cruise any time soon?

DEARDEN: Not really. Not really. But I wouldn't - if I did, I wouldn't go in steerage. Although, steerage - this is the other thing.

SIMON: They have fun in steerage.

DEARDEN: Steerage...

SIMON: That's where there's dancing and celebrating and, you know - yeah.

DEARDEN: You want to go to a real party? Truth be told, that real party would've been full of diphtheria, whooping cough, lice.

SIMON: (Laughter).

DEARDEN: You know, they wouldn't have had all the Guinness in there. People being really sad, trying to get away from England to try and start a new life in America. They wouldn't have been that happy.

SIMON: Well, Oliver, we're so glad that you started a new life here. (Laughter).

DEARDEN: Thank you. I can tell you what. Economy class flying over from the U.K. is probably not too different from steerage.

SIMON: (Laughter).

DEARDEN: But at least you get free peanuts and booze.

SIMON: (Laughter) Oliver Dearden, a producer here at WEEKEND EDITION, thanks so much for being with us.

DEARDEN: My pleasure.

(SOUNDBITE OF CELINE DION SONG, "MY HEART WILL GO ON")

SIMON: Ollie, let's sing them out, OK?

DEARDEN: Let's sing them out. (Singing) Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream.

SIMON: (Laughter).

DEARDEN: Oh, there's the iceberg one. (Singing) Row, row, row your boat gently down the river. And if you see a polar bear on an iceberg, don't forget to shiver.

SIMON: Is that really a song?

DEARDEN: Well, I'm not singing the other one.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY HEART WILL GO ON")

CELINE DION: (Singing) Every night in my dreams, I see you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.