(Drama) (1997)
© 1999 by Raymond Weschler
Major Characters Jack Dawson......................Leonardo DiCaprio A young, charming and talented artist who is travelling throughout the world, painting as he goes. He wins a ticket to go on the Titanic’s first voyage in a poker game, just minutes before it leaves England. Rose DeWitt Bukater...............Kate Winslet A 17 year old women from a rich family who is going to marry Cal (see below), a rich and disgusting man who she hates. She feels trapped by her life situation, but is unsure how to escape. Rose Dawson Calvert...............Gloria Stuart The 100 year old woman who, in 1997, tells us the story of her adventures on the Titanic, as the 17 year old above, back in 1912. Caledon "Cal" Hockley.............Billy Zane An arrogant and classist businessman who inherited millions of dollars, who was planning to marry Rose. Ruth Bukater.......................Frances Fisher Rose’s snobby mother, who insists that Rose marry Cal, simply because the Bukater family was suddenly without money after her husband died. He had left behind only "lots of debts and a good family name." Spice Lovejoy......................David Warner A personal assistant (or "valet") to Cal, who had been a police officer. *"The Unsinkable" Molly Brown......Kathy Bates A colorful supporter of women’s rights. She was considered "new money," because she had grown up poor, but had married a rich man. *Captain John Smith................Bernard Hill The captain of the Titanic, who was leading the ship on its first voyage, in what was to be his last trip as a captain before he retired. *Thomas Andrews....................Victor Garber The designer of the Titanic, who was on board its first fateful trip. *J. Bruce Ismay....................Jonathon Hyde The manager of the White Star Lines, the company that owned the Titanic. Babrizio De Rossi..................Danny Nucci An Italian friend of Jack’s who was living out his dream of finally going to America. Tommy Ryan.........................Jason Barry An Irish friend of Jack’s who was also travelling to America for the first time. Brock Lovett.......................Bill Paxton The director of the 1997 expedition that was searching the remains of the Titanic, in hopes of finding a famous and extremely valuable sapphire stone that was believed to be on the sunken ship. Lewis Bodine.......................Lewis Abernathy Brock’s funny assistant, who did not at first believe that the 100 year old Rose Dawson Calvert was in fact Rose DeWitt Bukater. Lizzy Calvert......................Suzy Amis Rose’s granddaughter, who accompanied her to visit the expedition ship that was searching the remains of the Titanic.. Some Additional Notes on the Cast of Characters: All of those characters who have an * by their names are in fact true historical figures, who were on the Titanic when it set sail from England. In addition, you should notice that there are tiny roles by actors who play John Jacob Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, both of whom were also real people, and two of the richest Americans alive at the time (their wealth and names live on today, in the form of various museums and charitable foundations). Finally, it should be mentioned that this film has impressive performances by actors who played many of the Titanic’s crew, but because there were so many, and they generally were not referred to by name, I did not note them in the list above). Plot Summary On April 15th, 1912, the Titanic, the largest and most luxurious passenger ship built until that time, struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean while on its maiden voyage from Southhampton, England to New York City. 1,517 of the ship’s 2,207 passengers died when the great ship---which was generally thought to be unsinkable---went down to the bottom of the ocean floor just two hours after striking the iceberg. Among the dead were some of the richest people alive, but in fact the majority of those who died were relatively poor people who were trapped in the bottom of the ship, in what was called the ‘steerage’ quarters. This film tells the story of that tragic event from the point of view of Rose, a 100 year old woman who survived the sinking, and is now looking back at what happened, 85 years later. This happens because one day, Rose recognizes a painting of herself that was being shown on TV, after it had been recovered by a group of undersea explorers who were filming the remainsof the Titanic on the ocean bottom. After she sees her portrait, she and her granddaughter contact Brock, the leader of the exploration ship, so that she can tell him the story of her amazing adventure. At the time of the sinking, Rose was a charming but spoiled 17 year old woman who was sailing back to America in order to get married to Cal Hockley, a rich, arrogant and truly disagreeable businessman who was going to eventually inherit millions of dollars. Rose was desperate to avoid this fate, but she was being pushed to do so by her mother, a snobby woman who had recently discovered that her recently deceased husband had left her and Rose without any money, despite their rich family name. In a moment of great depression, Rose considers jumping off the Titanic, but is convinced not to do so by Jack Dawson, a charming young artist who travels around the world, painting the people that he sees. Jack has no money and is clearly not from the same social class as Rose or Cal, but over the next couple days, they quickly fall in love, which obviously does not please either Cal or Rose’s mother. Yet for Rose herself, meeting Jack is probably the best thing that would ever happen to her, for during the course of their two short days together, Jack saves her "in every way that a person can be saved." A Brief Note on the Titanic and Social Class: While the plot is focused on the love story between Jack and Rose, this film often explores the role of social class in the lives of the individual characters. Indeed, in real life, the passengers on the Titanic were clearly divided along class lines, and thus when the ship sunk, few of the survivors were from 3rd class steerage, which was where the poorer passengers stayed, on the lowest levels of the ship. Words and Expressions that You may not Know. The North Atlantic Ocean, 1997: Treasure hunters return to the sunken Titanic, in search of a priceless stone. 13 meters. A unit of measurement, which in the US system, is about 3 feet. Take her over the bow rail. The railing on the deck of the ship, which kept people from falling off. Quiet; We’re rolling. "To roll" a video camera means to be in the process of filming. Seeing her come out of the darkness like a ghost ship gets me every time. In this context, if something really "get you," it means that it effects you emotionally, perhaps making you sad or very thoughtful. The sad ruin of the great ship. Note that "ruin" can be a verb, or as here, a noun, referring to the physical material that is left after something has been destroyed. You’re so full of shit, boss. A crude but common and interesting insult; If someone is "full of shit," it means that what they’ve been saying is nonsense, or lies. On the deck of the Titanic. The "deck" of a ship is a platform for walking, and is usually outside. These windows are 9 inches thick, and if they go, it’s sayonara in two seconds. In this case, "if they go" means if they (the windows) break. "Sayonara" is a Japanese word meaning goodbye, though here Brock uses it to mean that if the windows do break, he’ll be dead. All right, enough of that bullshit. A crude but critical noun which means nonsense, lies, distortions, etc. Put her down on the roof of the officer’s quarters. This refers to the room where the captain and his men worked on the ship. Set to launch. If any kind of machine or transportation is "set to launch," it is ready to begin or go (A rocket "launches" into space). Tether out when dropping down along the hull. A "tether" is a rope that is connected to an object which allows a person to hold on. Here, it’s used as a verb. The "hull" of the ship is the main part of the body, which floats on the water. Just chill, boss! "Chill" is an interesting slang verb meaning to relax or calm down. We’re at the piano, you copy? When talking on short wave radio, this is a way of saying "Do you hear and understand me?" That’s where the son-of-a-bitch slept. A common insult which refers to a mean or unpleasant man. You smelling something, boss? In this context, if a person smells something, it means that they think or suspect that there is something wrong or strange happening. Flip it over! "To flip over" something is to completely turn it over. It’s payday, boys! The day that a person is paid, or more colloquially, the day when a person finally gets a huge reward, either through hard work or luck. Ka-ching! A funny little slang word that refers to money (It is pronounced in such a way that it sounds like a cash register opening after a sale). OK, crack her open! "To crack open" something is to force it open. The same thing happened to Geraldo, and his career never recovered. A reference to the TV journalist Geraldo Rivera, who claimed that the security box of gangster Al Capone was filled with gold, but when it was opened on live TV, there was nothing of importance inside. It could be anywhere…Jimmy Hoffa’s briefcase. Hoffa was a labor leader who disappeared in 1974, and is presumed to have been murdered by gangsters. His body was never found. I have to trust my instinct. "Instinct" is a critical word which refers to a person’s behavior or personal beliefs, which are not formally learned, but inherited from birth or based on much personal experience. We just got to go through a process of elimination. A way of trying to learn what is the right answer to a problem by excluding all of the potential answers which are clearly wrong. I’ll be goddamn. A dated way of expressing complete surprise or other emotion. Treasure hunter. A person whose career is to look for lost gold and other valuables. Now he has chartered Russian subs to reach the most famous ship wreck of all. "To charter" a boat is to rent it for a few days or longer. A "sub" is an abbreviation for submarine. A "ship wreck" is the destruction after a ship has sunk. The secrets deep in the hull of Titanic. The "hull" of the ship is the main part of the body. This is Brock’s way of describing what he is really searching for. Robot technology. "Robots" are computerized machines that can do basic manual labor. Your expedition is at the center of a storm over salvage lines and even ethics. If something is at the "center of a storm," it is the subject of a great controversy. "Salvage lines" are companies that search for left over valuables after an accident. "Ethics" is the branch of philosophy that deals with morals. Many are calling you a grave robber. A person who steals valuable objects from cemeteries and coffins. These relics are preserved and catalogued properly. "Relics" are very old objects that have survived over time. If something is "catalogued," it has been noted in an official record. Should this have remained unseen at the bottom of the ocean for eternity? "For eternity" is a poetic way of saying forever. Submersibles. A technical word for small boats or submarines that travel underwater. Rose Dawson Calvert, age 101, returns to where the Titanic sank, after 85 years. Have you found the "Heart of the Ocean" yet? The "Heart of the Ocean" is the name of the priceless sapphire that Rose had worn on the Titanic, and that Brock was still looking for. It’s some nut case seeking money or publicity. A "nut case" is a funny slang term for a crazy person. I’ve done the background on this woman. In this case, "background" refers to general information about a person’s past, in order to see if they can be trusted. There’s your first clue, Sherlock. A "clue" is a key word which refers to any information or evidence that leads to the solution of a problem or mystery. "Sherlock" is a funny reference to Sherlock Holmes, a very famous fictional detective. She moves to Ceder Rapids and punches out a couple of kids. Ceder Rapids is the name of a city in the state of Iowa. "To punch out" something is a very slangy way of saying to quickly create or make. Doesn’t exactly travel light, does she? "To travel light" is to travel with only a little luggage. The Keyldesh. The name of the ship that is exploring the remains of the Titanic. Louis the 16th wore a fabulous stone that was called the blue diamond of the crown that disappeared in 1792. This is a reference to the sapphire known as the "Heart of the Ocean." It was a dreadful, heavy thing. I only wore it this once. "Dreadful" is an excellent little adjective meaning horrible or very unpleasant. Wasn’t I a dish? In colloquial English, a girl who is a "dish" is considered very pretty. An old claim that was settled under terms of absolute secrecy. This refers to an insurance claim, or legal demand, in which a person tries to recover for something they have lost. The claimant. The person who files an insurance claim or demand. It was filed a week after the sinking, so the diamond had to have gone down with the ship. A common expression which refers to anything that sinks with ship itself. How extraordinary! :: The reflection has changed a bit. "Extraordinary" is a powerful adjective meaning amazing. A "reflection" is the image that one sees when looking in a mirror. She hits the berg on the starboard side, right? "Berg" in this film is commonly used for iceberg. The "starboard side" of a ship is the right hand side, when facing the front. She kind of bumps along, punching holes like Morse code, dit-dit-dit. "To bump along" is to gently move forward while touching or hitting something. "Morse code" was the form of wired communication that was used before telephones, with coded signals that sounded like "dit." As the water level rises, it spills over the water tight bulkheads. When water "spills," it flows out of its intended container. "Bulkheads" are large compartments or divisions on a ship, and if they’re "water tight," this means water cannot get into them. The stern goes down and the bow goes up… until she has her whole ass sticking up in the air. The "stern" is the back end of the ship, while the "bow" is the front end. This is Mr. Bodine’s poetic way of describing how Titanic sank. We’re talking 30,000 tons, OK? "We’re talking" is a common and very slangy way to describe a particular aspect of the subject being discussed (in this case, the ship’s heavy weight). A "ton" is 2,000 pounds of weight, which is a lot! She splits, right down to the keel, and then she falls back level. If something "splits open," it breaks apart. The "keel" of a ship is a bar at the bottom that holds it together. If something is level, it is parallel to the ground (or ocean). The stern section kind of bobs there like a cork for a couple minutes, floods, and finally goes under at 2.22 AM. "To bob" is to move gently up and down, usually on water. A "cork" is the round material in wine bottles to keep it sealed. In this context, to "go under" means to go under water, or more specifically, to sink. The bow sections plane away. A rare but interesting way of saying to fall or drift away. It’s going 20, 30 knots when it hits the ocean floor. "Knots" is a measure of speed which is widely used in naval contexts. Pretty cool, huh? A critical slang adjective meaning good, great or perhaps fun. Thank you for that fine forensic analysis, Mr. Bodine. "Forensic" means related to the law, or to the art of debating. Come on, Nana. The most versatile phrasal verb in the English language, which often takes on the meaning of the words said just before. Here, meaning "Please get some rest and stop crying" (Nana is what Lizzy calls Rose). Rose begins her version of the journey of the Titanic. It’s been 84 years, and I can still smell the fresh paint. Noted here to show that if paint is new, it can be fresh, just like fruit. The china had never been used. A curious word for fancy and expensive plates and silverware. Queue. The British word for a line (of people). This is rare in the States. I don’t see what all the fuss is about; It doesn’t look any bigger than the Mauritania. "To make a fuss about" something is to discuss it a lot and suggest that it is something very important. You can be blasé about some things, Rose, but not the Titanic. "Blasé" is a great little adjective meaning unimpressed or not particularly interested or excited (when most people would be). You have to check your baggage at the main terminal. "To check" baggage is to give it over in order to be transported. Now, kindly see my man. This is a very dated way of saying "please," though "kind" is still used for nice, or perhaps caring. The parlor suite. An old fashioned term for a large room to receive guests. All 3rd class passengers due here for a heath inspection. Note that only the poorest passengers were forced to get inspected. Outwardly, I was everything a well brought up girl should be. "Outwardly" is an interesting word to describe the part of a person that can be seen by others. A girl who has been "well brought up" is one who has learned to behave well, especially in polite (rich) society. When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose. An excellent expression, and one used to justify taking great risks. The moment of truth. This is a way of referring to a critical moment in a game, or situation, or perhaps life in general. We’re going to America! Full house, boys! A term in poker used to describe a hand where a player has three of one kind of card (three 8’s, for example), and two of another. We’re riding in high style, now. We’re practically goddamn royalty. "To be riding in style" is to be living the way rich people do. "Goddamn" is a crude but common adjective added to show anger or other emotion. "Royalty" refers to kings and queens. We don’t have any lice; We’re Americans, both of us. "Lice" are tiny insects that live in people’s hair, and are more likely to be a problem for poor people than others. We’re the luckiest sons-of-bitches in the world. A "son-of-a-bitch" is a crude slang term for a mean, or abusive man, though here, it’s just as a way to describe people in general. Who says you get top bunk, huh? "A bunk" is a word for a bed that is placed one on top of another. This is your private promenade deck; Would you be requiring anything? A "promenade" is a French word for a place to walk. The second sentence is the type of question a servant would ask a wealthy person. Wardrobe. This is both a collection of clothes and the closet that holds them. The difference between Cal’s taste in art and mine is that I have some. A clever line by Rose; Her way of saying "Cal has no taste." Picasso? He won’t amount to anything. Cal’s way of saying that Picasso will never become successful (!) At Cherbourg, a woman came aboard named Molly Brown; History would record her as the unsinkable Molly Brown. Cherbourg is the city in France where the Titanic stopped before crossing the Atlantic. She was what mother called ‘new money.’ A funny term referring to people who only recently became rich. Amazingly, people who inherit their wealth often look down on them! Let’s stretch her legs. "To stretch" is to make longer, or more generally, to loosen one’s muscles before exercising or running. Come on, lads, get moving. This is a cute British word for a young boy, or more generally, a guy. Our master shipbuilder, Mr. Andrews, designed her from the keel plates up. A way to say that Mr. Andrews designed every single part of the ship. (Keel plates are large metal sheets in the hull of the ship). Well, I may have knocked her together. "To knock together" something is to quickly build or assemble it. She envisioned a steamer so grand, that her supremacy would never be challenged. A "steamer" is a dated word for a big ship. "Grand" is an old adjective which, here, means luxurious or rich. The "supremacy" of something is it’s rank as the best or highest in comparison with others. Here she is, willed into solid reality. A rare but interesting verb. "To will" something is to accomplish it through complete determination or great effort. I wanted to convey sheer size, and the size means stability. "To convey" is to express. "Sheer" is a useful adjective meaning pure or complete. Do you know of Dr. Freud, Mr. Ismay? His ideas on the male preoccupation with size may be of interest to you. A reference to Sigmund Freud, the founder of modern psychology, who was becoming well known for his theories on the penis and sex! What’s gotten into you?! A common question that one person will ask another who has suddenly started to act strangely or defiantly. She’s a pistol! This is literally a small gun, but here, it’s Molly’s way of meaning a person who is difficult to control or who acts rebelliously. I’ll have to mind what she reads. An old fashioned way of saying to control, or limit. That’s typical; First class dogs come down here to take a shit. "To take a shit" is a crude way of saying "to poop," or use the toilet. One of Tommy’s funny comments about the Titanic’s class divisions. It lets us know where we are in the scheme of things. A useful expression that means approximately "in comparison with others in the universe." Often used when showing how various people are related to each other, such as in this case, the rich to the poor. You’d just as likely have angels fly out of your arse as get next to the likes of her. Tommy’s very Irish and colorful way of saying "It’s very unlikely that you will be able to be with her." Note that "arse" is a way to say ass. Always the same narrow people, the same mindless chatter. A good expression for rapid and unimportant conversation. Rose gets ready to end her life, but Jack convinces her to keep on living. I was at the precipice with no one to pull me back. A "precipice" is an educated word for the edge of a cliff. Come on, I’ll pull you back over. Note the complex phrasal verb used when you want to save someone who has climbed over the railing, and is now in danger of falling. Don’t presume to tell me what I will and will not do! In this case, "presume" is a powerful verb meaning to dare to do something that one may have no right to do (It can also simply mean assume). You’re distracting me. Go away! "To distract" someone is to prevent them from concentrating or focusing on something they think is more important. Don’t be absurd; You’ll be killed. An excellent little adjective meaning totally ridiculous or unbelievable. I grew up near Chippewa Falls. A small town in the state of Wisconsin. We went ice fishing. This is fishing in which the water is so cold that it is mostly covered by a thick sheet of ice. The fishing rods are put in holes in the ice. You seem like an indoor girl. This is Jack’s diplomatic way of saying he thinks Rose would not survive well in the country. A more common version is a "city girl." Water that cold hits you like 1,000 knives stabbing you all over your body. "To stab" is violent verb meaning to strike or penetrate with a pointed weapon, such as a knife. I’m hoping you’ll come back over the rail and get me off the hook here. "To get somebody off the hook" is to help them get out of any big problems they may have. A "hook" is a curved piece of metal used to hang things such as clothes. With all due respect, I’m not the one hanging off the back of a ship. "With all due respect" is used in a conversation when the person speaking disagrees with a person who may have more education or authority. "To hang off" a boat is to be holding on to the edge. Come on! Pull yourself up! A key phrasal verb, meaning here to use one’s own hands and arms to climb up and over the railing. Stand back, and don’t move . An "inch" is a small unit of measurement; 12 inches make a foot. Fetch the master-at-arms! "To fetch" is a dated verb meaning to get or search for, though it’s still used when talking about dogs, who will fetch the morning newspaper. A "master-at-arms" is a naval officer in charge of keeping order. What made you think you can put your hands on my fiancée? A "fiancée" is the person that one is going to marry. Look at me, you filth! "Filthy" is a useful adjective meaning extremely dirty. Here, Cal uses an abbreviated version as an insult noun. I was leaning over, and I slipped. "To lean over" is to bend one’s body, usually from the waist up. "To slip" is to begin to fall. Propellers. Blades that are turned at high speed on a plane or ship. Women and machinery don’t mix. If two things "don’t mix," they create problems if put together. Mr. Lovejoy, I think a $20 bill should do it. :: Is that the going rate for saving the woman you love? The "going rate" is the price that any given product or service normally costs. Perhaps you can join us for dinner…to regale our group with your heroic tale. "To regale" is a dated word meaning to entertain. A "tale" is a story. Settled, then. If something is settled, then two people have agreed to it. Can I bum a smoke? A very slangy way to ask "Can I have a cigarette?" I know you’ve been melancholy. "Melancholy" is an excellent adjective meaning sad or a bit depressed, often used to describe people who are travelling who miss home. The engagement gala. "An engagement" refers to the official decision of a couple to get married. A "gala" is a formal party, usually with lots of good food. Good gracious! An old-fashioned way of saying "My god!" 56 karats to be exact. "Karats" are a unit of measurement for the amount of gold in jewelry. It’s overwhelming. An important adjective which means too big or powerful to resist. We are royalty, Rose. "Royalty" refers to those people who are associated with kings, queens and their families. There is nothing I’d deny you, if you’d not deny me. In this case, "to deny" means to refuse to give or allow. As the Titanic heads West, Jack and Rose get to know each other. I’ve been on my own since I was 15, since my folks died. "Folks" is a slightly old-fashioned word for parents, or perhaps people. A tumbleweed blowing in the wind. This is a type of brown and dried up plant. We’ve talked about the weather and how I grew up, but I reckon that’s not why you came to talk to me. "To reckon" is an old-fashioned verb meaning to think or suppose. I want to thank you for your discretion. A key word that refers to the quality of showing good judgement by being sensitive, by not revealing secrets or delicate information. I know, poor little rich girl. What does she know about misery? A "poor little rich girl" is how a cynical person would describe an unhappy girl with lots of money. "Misery" is extreme unhappiness. What could have happened to make her think that she had no way out? If a person thinks that they have "no way out of a problem," they believe that there is no solution or escape. The inertia of my life…plunging ahead and powerless to stop it. "Inertia" is a scientific word that refers to the tendency of things to remain without motion, or to continue moving at the same speed as before. "To plunge" is to dive or move suddenly. All of Philadelphia society will be there. Rose’s way of referring to the rich and important people of the city. I’m screaming at the top of my lungs and no one ever looks up. This is a set expression meaning to yell as loud as possible. You’re being very rude. "Rude" is a small but great adjective meaning very impolite or crude. This is not a suitable conversation! "Suitable" is another way to say appropriate or acceptable. You are rude and uncouth and presumptuous, and I am leaving now. "Uncouth" is a very useful adjective meaning crude or vulgar. "Presumptuous" means too confident or brazen in dealing with others. You’re so annoying. "Annoying" is a key adjective meaning irritating or bothersome. So what are you, an artist or something? Note that many people will add "or something" to the end of sentences if they’re not certain what they’re talking about. This is exquisite work. A powerful and interesting word which means beautifully made. Paris?! You do get around for a person...of limited means. This is a diplomatic way to refer to someone who has little money. She was a one-legged prostitute, see? A woman who trades sex for money. She sat at the bar every night, just waiting for her long lost love. A sad little expression that refers to former lovers who have not be seen in many years. You have a gift, Jack. In this case, a "gift" means a rare and very special talent. The purpose of a university is to find a suitable husband; Rose has already done that. Rose’s mother uses "suitable" to mean acceptable, and in this case, she probably means rich. Countess. This is the wife (or widow) of a European member of "nobility," such as a duke or earl or other ridiculous title that is inherited. Lovely idea! I need to catch up on my gossip. "Lovely" is a very British way say beautiful, or more generally, good. "To catch up" on something is to become current, or up to date. "Gossip" is talk, which is often untrue, about people’s private lives. I want them to marvel at her speed. "To marvel at" something is to be amazed by it. The maiden voyage of Titanic must make headlines! The "maiden voyage" of a ship is the first one it makes after it is built. "To make headlines" is one way of saying to make important news. But what a glorious end to your final crossing if we were to get in on Tuesday night and surprise them all! "Glorious" is a dramatic adjective meaning beautiful, magnificent, or perhaps deserving of high praise because of a great accomplishment. Make the morning papers, retire with a bang, eh, E.J.? To do something "with a bang" is to do it in such a way that many people notice. A bang is a loud noise, like the type a bomb makes. A squid boat in Monterrey. The pier in Santa Monica. These are two cities on the coast in California. Why can’t I be there like you? Just head off for the horizon. "To head off for the horizon" is Rose’s way of saying to travel with no particular direction, and with no need to come back on a given date. The horizon is the place where the sky seems to meet the earth or sea. We’ll ride on the roller coaster to we throw up. A "roller coaster" is a tiny train that is made to scare people by going up and down steep tracks at an amusement park. "To throw up" is an unfortunate but necessary phrasal verb meaning to vomit. Do it like a real cowboy! None of that sidesaddle shit! A "saddle" is the leather seat that one uses when riding a horse, and a "sidesaddle" is one designed so that a woman can ride with both legs on the same side of the horse. This is Jack’s way of saying "Be a man!" And spit like a man? :: What, they didn’t teach you that in finishing school? "Finishing schools" are private school that teach rich girls how to behave correctly in "polite society." In brief, ridiculous institutions! That was pitiful! If someone (or something) is "pitiful," they are so bad that people should feel sorry for them. Get some leverage and arc your neck. "Leverage" is a word for power, obtained by correct physical positioning [It’s best to look this up in a bilingual dictionary]. "To arc" is to curve. The others were gracious and curious about the man who saved my life, but mother looked at him like an insect. If someone is "gracious," they are polite or pleasant. To be "curious about" someone is to want to know more about them. A dangerous insect that must be squashed quickly. "To squash" something is to totally crush or flatten it. Jack soon discovers the not-so-pleasant people of "high society," and why Rose is desperate to break away from that world. It looks like you’re a good man to have around in a sticky spot. This is Molly’s way of telling Jack that he would be helpful in any difficult situations. Why must they always announce dinner like a damn calvary charge. A "calvary charge" is the arrival of the calvary, which is a group of soldiers on horses who were common in the old American West. Do you have the slightest comprehension what you’re doing? Another way to say "any understanding at all?" You’re about to get into the snake pit. This is Molly’s way of referring to the group of snobby and rich people that Cal associates with. A "pit" is a hole that is dug in the ground. You shine up like a new penny. "To shine up" is to light up, but this is never used. A penny is the least valuable US American coin, worth one cent. We’ll know who to hold accountable if there is a problem. "To hold someone accountable" is to consider them responsible for whatever problems may or will occur. She’ll be along. A dated way to say "She’ll be here soon." I saw that in a nickelodeon once and I always wanted to do it. A theatre that showed silent movies in the early 1900s. They were called Nickelodeons because they charged only a nickel (5 cents). It’s amazing. You could almost pass for a gentleman. "Amazing" is a critical adjective meaning incredible, or causing great wonder. The second sentence is Cal’s way of telling Jack that he almost looks like an educated, wealthy man, but no one would say this today. What a remarkable voyage this is! :: It’s mad, isn’t it? "Remarkable" is another word for amazing or incredible. "Mad" usually means angry, though it can be used, as here, to mean crazy. John Jacob Astor: His little wife is in delicate condition. This is Rose’s way of saying pregnant. And that’s Benjamin Guggenheim and his mistress Madame Aubert. A curious word to describe a woman who is having a sexual relationship with a man, which is usually not approved of by society. She designs naughty lingerie, among her many talents. "Naughty" is a funny little adjective which in this context means immoral or sexually improper. "Lingerie" is women’s underwear. Congratulations; She’s splendid. A somewhat dated adjective for excellent or exceptionally fine. They love money, so pretend you own a gold mine and you’re in the club. This is Molly’s way of telling Jack how to have the rich people on the ship accept him as an equal. Are you of the Boston Dawsons? :: No, the Chippewa Falls Dawsons, actually. Note that one can ask if a person is a member of an important family by asking if they’re a member of "the +city name + surname(s)." Boston had many rich families, but it’s unlikely that Jack’s town did. He never faltered. To "falter" means to lose strength or determination. Heir to a railroad fortune, perhaps. An "heir" to a fortune is a person that will eventually inherit lots of money. New money obviously, but still a member of the club. Remember, rich people often divide themselves into "new" and "old money," depending on if they inherited the money or recently made it. Tell us of the accommodations in steerage. "Accommodations" refers to the housing and food, often in a ship or other form of transport. "Steerage" is that part of the ship that provides housing for the 3rd class passengers. Hardly any rats! One way of saying "there are almost no rats!" Rose and I differ in our definition of fine art. Not to impugn your work, Sir. "To impugn" is an educated verb meaning to criticize or attack. He knows every rivet. This is a metal pin used to hold steel bars and plates together. Your ship is a wonder. If something is "a wonder," it is probably the object of great respect and fascination. After that, I’m on God’s good humor. This is Jack’s way of saying that his future will depend on what God allows to happen in his life. How is it that you have the means to travel? In this context, "the means" refers to money. All life is a game of luck. :: A real man makes his own luck, right Dawson? Once again, they are talking about money, and weather one gets it by just being fortunate, or being intelligent and determined. You find that sort of rootless existence appealing, do you? In this case, a "rootless existence" refers to the fact that Jack travels endlessly from place to place, without ever settling down. I love not knowing where I am going to wind up. "To wind up" means to finish, or end up. I figure that life is a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it. "To figure" means to think or believe. To making it count! Note that during "a toast," in which people raise their glasses to each other, they often salute with the "to +verb+ing" construction. "To make every day count" is a way to say "Live life to the fullest." Next, it will be brandies in the seating room. "Brandy" is a type of strong and expensive liquor. Now they retreat into a cloud of smoke and then congratulate each other on being masters of the universe. This is Rose’s way of describing Cal and his rich friends, who smoke cigars while happily discussing their money and power. Time for me to go row with the other slaves. "To row" is the act of taking an oar (wooden stick) and pushing it through the water in order to move a boat or ship. In the ancient world, this was often the work of slaves. I don’t know the steps! :: Either do I; Just go with it! In this case, "steps" is a reference to dance steps, or the way a person needs to move their feet to dance. "Just go with it" is one way of saying to just follow the lead of others, or to do what comes naturally. The Sherman Act. A famous 1890 law that tried to prevent any one company from dominating the marketplace. That’s what Rockefeller said, but the Supreme Court is not swallowing it. David Rockefeller was the founder of Standard Oil Company, which was the biggest oil company in the US. Here, if the Supreme Court isn’t "swallowing it," this means they are not accepting an argument. Rose soon discovers that Jack’s world and Jack himself may offer an escape from marriage to Cal. You think you’re big tough men; Let’s see you do this! "Tough" can mean either strong or mean, and often it means both. Your exertions below deck were no doubt exhausting. "Exertions" refers to tiring physical labor or exercise. "No doubt" is a useful little expression that means obviously, or certainly. I’m not a foreman in one of your mills that you can command; I’m your fiancée. A "foreman" in a factory is a group leader responsible for making sure workers are getting the job done. A "mill" is a type of factory where products such as paper, food or clothes are produced. You will honor me the way a wife is required to honor a husband, because I will not be made out a fool. "To honor" someone is to show them complete respect. The second sentence is Cal’s rather dated and odd way of saying he will not allow Rose to make a fool out of him. You are not to see that boy again; Do you understand me? Note that "You are not to + any infinitive verb" is the way parents give order to their children. It is a very strong imperative form. Oh, stop it mother, you’ll give yourself a nose bleed. Rose’s rather funny way of telling her mom to stop being so dramatic. Our situation is precarious. You know the money is gone! "Precarious" is an excellent word meaning dangerous or unstable, and is used specifically in which a situation has much uncertainty. Your father left us nothing but a legacy of bad debts hidden by a good name. A "legacy" is another word for something passed down to the next generation. "Bad debts" refers to money that is owed that can’t be paid. It’s a fine match; It will ensure our survival. If two people are "a fine match," this means that they make a good couple."To ensure" something is to make certain it will happen. Do you want to see me working as a seamstress, or see our fine things sold at auction, our memories scattered to the wind?! A "seamstress" is a woman who sews for a living. "Auctions" are public meetings where objects are sold to the person who offers the most money. If things are "scattered," they are spread out over a wide area, often because of the wind. I just need to talk to somebody for a sec. A common abbreviation of the word second. They asked me to give you this in gratitude. If something is done "in gratitude," it is done with much appreciation. Excuse me sir, another ice warning. A naval way of referring to the possibility of icebergs. Were speeding up; I just ordered the last boiler lit. "Boilers" were giant containers used to boil water to power the ship. I did the sum in my heads; The number of lifeboats times the capacity, and it seems that there isn’t enough for everyone on board. The "sum" is the result of multiplying two numbers. "Lifeboats" are small boats placed on big ships, for the purpose of saving passengers if the ship sinks. "Capacity" is the amount that something can hold. It was thought by some that the deck would look too cluttered, so I was overruled. If a place is "cluttered," it is filled with so may things that it looks disorganized. If someone is "overruled," their decisions are rejected bya majority vote, or people with more power. It’s a waste of deck space as it is, on an unsinkable ship. An interesting construction meaning "given the way things are." Sleep soundly, Rose, I’ve built you a good ship. If someone sleeps "soundly," they sleep deeply and very well. Rose, you’re no picnic. You’re a spoiled little brat, even. The first sentence is Jack’s way of telling Rose she can be a difficult person. A "picnic" is literally a meal served outdoors, often in a park. A child who is "spoiled" is given too many toys and other things by their parents, and a ‘brat" is a very bad mannered or rude child. But underneath that, you’re the most amazing, astounding, wonderful girl I’ve ever known. A fairly rare but powerful adjective which means extremely surprising. Let me get this out Here, "to get something out" is to express feelings to another person. That fire is going to burn out. If a fire "burns out," it dies, though here Jack’s referring to Rose’s spirit. The dreadful bridesmaid’s gowns; let me tell you what an odyssey that has been. "Dreadful" is a great little adjective meaning bad or truly awful. "Bridesmaids" are the women that help the bride at a wedding, and their "gowns" are their dresses. An "odyssey" is a long, interesting trip. She wanted lavender; She knows I detest the color, so she did it to spite me. "Lavender" is a color close to purple. "To detest" is a very powerful verb meaning to hate or strongly dislike. If a person does something "to spite" someone else, they do it specifically to make them angry. Together, we’ve created something of a phoenix from the ashes. A "phoenix" is the name of a mythical bird that continues to rise up and live after it looks like it is dead. "Ashes" are the burnt material that is left after an object is completely burned up in a fire. Hold on to the railing. The metal bars that prevent people from falling over. Keep your eyes closed; Don’t peek. "To peak" is to quickly look at something when you’re not supposed to. As the Titanic heads toward disaster, Jack and Rose fall in love. So we’re up to the dusk of the night of the sinking. "Dusk" is the time of day just as the sun sets. Note the use of the historical present verb tense, as Rose, Brock and Mr. Bodine discuss the night of the sinking . So there’s Smith, and he’s got the iceberg warning in his fucking hand, and he’ s ordering more speed! Note the use of "fucking" as a crude but relatively common adverb. 26 years of experience working against him; He figures anything that could sink the ship they’ll see in time. This is Brock’s way of explaining why Captain Smith misjudged the risk of iceberg (ie…for 26 years, he was always able to avoid them). The ship is too big with too small a rudder. A small propeller at the back of a ship which helps control direction. It’s quite proper; I assure you. If something is "proper," it is correct, suitable or acceptable. Cal insists on carting this hideous thing everywhere. "To cart" something is to transport it (often used with heavy things). "Hideous" is an excellent adjective meaning disgusting, or shocking. A sapphire. A precious stone (jewelry), that is light blue in color. A porcelain doll. A very fine material made of baked clay, used for plates, toys, etc. Try to stay still. Another way to say "Don’t move." I believe you are blushing, Mr. Big Artiste. "To blush" is to turn red in the face because of embarrassment. ("Artiste" is the French word for artist). I can’t imagine Mr. Monet blushing. :: He does landscapes. This is a clever dialog. In this context, "landscapes" are paintings of scenes in nature, such as fields or forests, as opposed to people. My heart was pounding the whole time. "To pound" is to strike or beat with great force. It was the most erotic moment of my life. This is a nice little word meaning sexual, or relating to sexual desire. You mean, did we do it? In the right contexts, to "do it" means to have sex! A flat calm. This is a description of ocean water that is very calm and still. Like a mill pond, no breaking wind. A "pond" is a small body of water. If wind is breaking, it is starting to increase in strength. It will make the bergs harder to see with no breaking base. "Berg" is short for iceberg. If there is "no breaking base," the water is so calm it can’t be seen crashing against whatever icebergs there may be. Well, I’m off. Maintain speed and heading. "To be off" is a colloquial way of saying to leave. "To maintain" speed and heading (direction) is to keep it the same as before. Pretty tough for a valet. This fellow seems more like a cop. A "valet" is a personal assistant, and today, a person who parks your car (The ‘t’ at the end is not pronounced, despite Jack’s usage). A "fellow" is a British way of saying a guy, and a "cop" is a policeman. Don’t mind us. You’re doing a great job. Keep up the good work. One way of saying "Do not pay attention to us." God, it’s bloody cold. In British English, "bloody" is a very common adverb meaning "very." Binoculars for the look out. A type of glasses used to see things that are far away. I’ll be on my rounds. Cheerio. In this case, "rounds" refers to the duties that a person has in making sure everything on the ship is working well. "Cheerio" is a dated way of saying goodbye. You’re trembling. "To tremble" means to shake, either because of cold or fear. Gotcha! An abbreviated way to say "I have got you!," after catching someone. When the ship docks, I’m getting off with you. "To dock" is the verb to use when a ship arrives in a harbor. The Titanic hits an iceberg and stops dead in the water, as Cal decides that Jack must go. Pick up, you bastards. A crude insult word for a mean or unpleasant man. Iceberg right ahead. Hard to starboard, hard over! This is all "naval English" meaning "Turn the ship as fast as possible!" Engage the reversing engine. An engine which would reverse the direction the ship is going in. Come on, come on, come on. Turn!! Note that one of the most dramatic definitions of "come on" can be "Please!" Jesus Christ! The classic expression of high emotion, from anger to surprise, used by all English speakers, weather Christian or not. That was a close shave, wasn’t it? A colloquial way to say that there was almost a bad accident. You can smell ice, can you? Bleeding Christ! Noted here to show how widely used "bleeding" is in British English. Note the time and enter it in the logs. In this case, "logs" are the official written records of an organization. I tried to port round it, but she hit. A naval English way of saying "I tried to move around it…" Close the watertight doors. If something is "watertight," then no water can get in it (in theory). Find the carpenter. A person who builds furniture. Let’s get the hell out of here. A classic, common and very slangy way to say "Let’s leave." I felt a shudder. A "shudder" is a slight shaking or vibration. We likely threw a propeller blade. "The propeller blade probably fell off." If this is the direction the rats are going, that’s good enough for me. A classic line by Tommy, suggesting that even rats know how to run away from water. Get the master-at-arms. Now, you moron! A great insult word meaning idiot, jerk, or stupid person. She’s all buckled in the forward hull. "To buckle" is to bend under great pressure. The "hull" of a ship is the main part of the body, that floats directly on the water. Can you shore her up? :: Not unless the pumps get ahead. "To shore up" something is to fix or strengthen it after it has been damaged. "Pumps" are mechanical devices that suck water out. This is horseshit! An interesting cousin of the classic word bullshit. Both refer to lies, distortions and ridiculous statements. Real slick, Cal. Rose, they put it in my pocket! "Slick" literally means very smooth, but is often used, as here, to mean clever, tricky or smart. Water is in all three holds and in boiler room six. An abbreviated way to refer to the holding containers. She can stay afloat with the first four compartments breached, but not five. Here, a "compartment" is a holding room at the bottom of the ship. If it is "breached," this means that it is torn open and damaged. Titanic will founder. "To founder" is an educated word meaning to fill with water and sink. She can’t sink! :: She’s made of iron. She can and she will. It’s a mathematical certainty. "Iron" is a type of common metal. If something is a "mathematical certainty," it is an absolute truth. In this case, once the water entered all five compartments, the ship had to sink, given the laws of physics. 2,200 souls on board, Sir. A somewhat funny way to refer to people. Oh, it is a little slut, isn’t it? "Slut" is a crude word for a woman who has sex with many men. I’m sorry to inconvenience you, Mr. Hockley, but it’s captain’s orders. "To inconvenience" someone is to bother them, or make their life a little more difficult. "Captain’s orders" are the instructions or commands of the ship’s captain, which must always be obeyed. Lifebelts on! A "lifebelt" is a belt that is designed to help people float on water. What’s the ruckus? An excellent little word meaning loud and disturbing noises. CQD---The distress call. This refers to the message that a sinking ship will send out by radio to another ship asking for immediate help. "Distress" means great danger. Blimey! A British way of saying damn or fuck. It’s too damn cold and noisy for them. A crude adverb added to show emotion such as anger or surprise. You got us all trussed up, and now you got us cooling our heels. "To truss up" is to get dressed up, but this is not used today. If someone tells you to "cool your heels," they’re telling you to calm down, though this is also rare today. "Heels" are the bottom of feet. Goddamn English do everything by the book. If something is done "by the book," this means that it is done exactly as the law or written instructions require it. I’ll keep an eye on him. "To keep an eye on someone" is to watch them, to make sure they do not escape or do anything wrong. The Carpathian is doing full steam. 17 knots. The Carpathain is the name of the ship that comes to rescue those on the Titanic. If a ship is going "full steam ahead," it is travelling as fast as it can (In this case, 17 knots of speed). As panic grows on the ship, Rose risks her life in order to save Jack. Women and children first. A classic line and rule of many cultures which implies that if there is an accident, women and children should be rescued before men. Ok, nice and cheery, so there’s no panic. "Cheery" is a cute word meaning cheerful or happy. Steady, lads! If you hold something "steady," you’re holding it securely, so that it won’t fall or move in a dangerous way. This small token of our appreciation, compliments of Mr. Hockley. A small "token of appreciation" is a little gift to offer thanks. If something is "compliments of" someone else, it is given by them. Will the lifeboats be seated according to class? A reference to the three classes of passengers on the Titanic. It’s a pity I didn’t keep that drawing; It will be worth a lot more money. This is another way of saying that something is unfortunate. You would prefer to be a whore to a gutter rat? :: I’d rather be his whore than your wife! A "whore" is a crude word for a prostitute. A "gutter" is the edge of a street where water flows, and where both trash and rats can be found. For God’s sake, put on your lifeboat and set a good example. "For God’s sake" is an expression which is generally used simply to show anger, frustration or other emotion. "To set a good example" is to do something smart or prudent, so that others will do the same. Where would the master-at-arms take someone under arrest? If someone is "under arrest," they have usually been stopped, detained and officially charged with committing a crime. A long corridor. Another word for a hallway. I’m through being polite, goddamn it! If a person is "through doing something," they have finished doing it. "Goddamn it" is a crude and common way to express anger. You’re going to have to find a spare key, all right? A "spare key" is an extra one that is normally not used. Look in the cabinet! A piece of furniture that has shelves for holding various things. Silver? There are the brass ones. A cheap orange or gold colored metal. To hell with you! One way of saying "Fuck you!" Take a couple practice swings over there. In this case, a "swing" is the moving of an ax in a circular motion. Note that baseball players must swing a bat in order to hit the ball. Now there’s something you don’t see everyday. This is a funny and classic line to use when you see something that is completely amazing and unique. What’s this luggage doing here? Get rid of it!; We need the room! "To get rid of" something is a very important colloquial way of saying to eliminate it or throw it away. This strutting martinet isn’t letting any men on at all. "To strut" is to walk in a overly proud manner. A "martinet" is a puppet that is controlled by strings. We weren’t sure of the weight, Mr. Andrews, These boats may buckle. "To buckle" is to bend or break under great pressure. This is the officer’s explanation for why the lifeboats were not being filled up. Rubbish! They were tested in Belfast with the weight of 70 men! "Rubbish" is a colloquial way of saying nonsense, or more specifically, bullshit! Belfast is the city in Northern Ireland where Titanic was built. Go back to the main stairwell and everything will be sorted out there :: Hell, it will! "To sort out" something is to take care of it. "Hell, it will" is a way of saying that what the listener just heard is ridiculous or nonsense. It’s starting to fall apart; We don’t have much time. If a situation starts to "fall apart," it is becoming out of control. I’m a businessman and I have a business proposition for you. Cal’s way of offering a bribe, which is the paying of money for a favor. What’s the use? Nobody is listening to us anyway. An important and widely used question when a person has the impression that all their efforts are going to waste, or being ignored. Music to drown by; Now I know I’m in first class! "To drown" is to die in water after being unable to breath. This is one of Tommy’s funnier comments. You look a fright! If someone is "like a fright," they look horrible or scary, but this wording is fairly rare today. I’m a survivor, all right?! A "survivor" is one who continues to live and move forward, even after great difficulties or disasters. I have an arrangement with an officer on the other side of the ship. This is Cal’s way of referring to the bribe that he made. Not that you’ll benefit much from it. "To benefit from" something is to receive some advantage from it. I got it!! Noted here to show the wide uses of "to get," in this case, the verb to use when opening a door for somebody. Get an oar under it! A large stick that is used to help move and turn lifeboats in the water. Will you give us a chance to live, you limey bastard?! "Limey" is a slang word for a British person, but it’s not used in the US. As the Titanic finally sinks, Jacks saves Rose one last time. We our dressed in our best and we are prepared to go down as gentlemen. This is Guggenheim’s somewhat ridiculous way of saying that he and his friends plan to drown with dignity, or style. So long, old chap. A British way of saying old friend. The land of eternal youth and beauty. If something is "eternal," it last forever. Cut her loose. In this context, a way of telling someone to cut the ropes that hold the lifeboats to the ship. Gentlemen, it has been a privilege playing with you tonight. In this case, "privilege" is another way of saying a great honor. You’ll swamp us. "To swamp" a boat is to cause it to fill with water and sink. Though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death… Biblical (Christian) words referring to dying before meeting with God. Hail Mary full of grace, the lord is with thee…. Mary is a reference to the Virgin Mary of the bible. "Grace" is a pretty word for kindness. The "lord" is another word for God, and "thee" is an old (16th century) English word for "you." Neither there shall be sorrow or crying, for the former would have passed away. "Sorrow" is great emotional suffering. The "former" is a reference to the first of two things mentioned in a previous sentence (The "latter" refers to the second). "To pass away" is a gentle way of saying to die. The ship is going to suck us down; Kick for the surface and keep kicking! "The surface" refers to the surface of the water (Obviously, it would be hard to kick toward it if you’re being sucked down, or are disoriented). They had to row away from the suction, but now they’ll be coming back. "Suction" is the pressure of water that pulls in a specific direction. If we go back, they’ll swamp the boat! They’ll pull us right down! This is one survivor’s reason for not wanting to go back and try to rescue others who are still floating on the water. Knock it off! You’re scaring me! "Knock it off" is a great colloquial way to simply say "stop it!" Grab an oar! Let’s go! "To grab" means to physically hold or take. Are you out of your mind?! Were in the middle of the North Atlantic! If someone is "out of their mind," they are crazy or insane. Move forward and aft! "Aft" is a naval word that means toward the stern, or back of the ship. I had never heard it before, but it is used several times in this film. I intend to write a strongly worded letter to the White Star Line about all of this. This is the name of the company that owned the Titanic. I’m thankful. An alternative word for appreciative or grateful. You must promise me you’ll never let go of that promise! "To let go" of something is to give it up or forget about it. Come about! An old British way of saying turn around (I’d never heard this before). Rose finishes her remarkable story, and then returns a precious piece of jewelry to where she always thought that it belonged… There were 20 boats floating nearby, and only one came back. Six were saved from the water, myself included. "To float" is to stay on the surface of water, without sinking. 700 people had nothing to do but wait….for an absolution that never came. "Absolution" is a religious word meaning forgiveness for having done something wrong. Sir, I don’t think you’ll find any of your people down here; It’s all steerage. The third class housing where the poorest passengers stayed. He married of course, and inherited his millions, but the crash of ’29 hit his interests hard, and he put a pistol in his mouth that year, or so I read. "To inherit" money is to receive it from a person who has died, usually one’s parents. The "crash of ‘29" refers to the stock market crash of 1929, which helped lead to the Great Depression. A "pistol" is a small gun. Can I take your name, please, love? :: Dawson, Rose Dawson. It is very British to call a person you don’t know "love." This is never done in the US! We never found anything on Jack; There’s no record of him at all. In this case, there was no written record from the ship’s passenger list, since Jack had won the tickets in a poker game just minutes before Titanic left England. A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets. Rose’s poetic way of describing the secrets that a person never tells. There was a man named Jack Dawson, and he saved me in every way a person can be saved. Some more poetic and final words from Rose……
______________ Titanic Some Potential Questions for ESL Class Discussion
1. When Rose tells us that "Jack saved me, in every way that a person can be saved," what does she mean by this? 2. In general, how were rich people portrayed in this movie? 3. Did Jack have an appealing lifestyle? Is it something you would want to do? Have their been other people from later generations that lived in such a way? 4. What does the fate of Titanic---the unsinkable ship---tell us about the nature of technology and human pride? 5. How realistic is the love story in this film? 6. If you had been in one of the small rescue boats after the Titanic had sunk, and you had seen the hundreds of people in the ocean still screaming for help, what do you think you would have done? 7. Why did Rose throw the sapphire back into the ocean? Was it theright thing to do? Would Brock have thought so? 8. What did you like and not like about this movie?