Sunday, April 15, 2012

Titanic Miniseries and Fashionable Hats

Colette in her cutting edge fashion hat from Marie Claire Magazine 1937.

My husband and I watched the new 2012 Titanic miniseries last night,well, the first two episodes, anyway. 

It was on the History Channel (in Canada) and that channel had just played a programme with 'new evidence' about the Titanic's sinking (due to mirage/glare, a researcher says) which clashed with some of the old theories put forth in the mini-series.

But this Titanic miniseries was just Upstairs Downstairs on a big boat, a soap opera, so it didn't matter. Julian Fellowes of Downtown Abbey fame penned this miniseries, which has a kind of Groundhog Day style of plot development, so the first episode seems weird. 

Anyway, he clearly had lots of money so the hats were right on, with the first class women wearing Huge Merry Widow style hats and the French mistress of one rich guy wearing a smaller style more like Colette's up there. 

(In 1912, Coco Chanel was making her smaller hats for her boyfriend's rich friends.)

Gee, you have to wonder if people are going to get tired of 1912, just I get my story Threshold Girl up on the Internet (it's a free ebook) and I start writing the follow up Diary of a Confirmed Spinster.

But my story is about the middle class in Canada, and even though it has suffragettes, I'm going to paint a more complex picture of the movement, from a Canadian Point of View. 

This 2012 Titanic miniseries starts with a rich girl being released from jail for breaking windows or something with the suffragettes. (Played by Perdita Weeks, the girl who played Lydia in Lost in Austen but super thin now.) Yesterday I posted a first person testimony from the WSPU magazine,  suggesting something just like that happened. In April 1912.

Anyway, the science documentary Titanic: Case Closed featuring Tim Maltin's theory (he apparently has an ebook or e-book out called "A Very Deceiving Night").. supplied the new evidence that centers around the icebergs in Labrador in 1912. As it happens I've already posted an article from the Canadian Magazine, published in April 1912!  about those very icebergs. They were so numerous and splendiferous,they were almost becoming a tourist attraction. Hmm. Although the article was called Iceberg: Floating Menace.


Ironic, the date of that article. The History Channel Documentary revealed that the ocean liners of the time ran a gauntlet of icebergs, but it was especially bad in 1912.

It was interesting, but I thought there were some contradictions in Maltin's theory or his presentation of same.. He goes to Hamburg to look at old boat logs from Germany. He says they've never been looked at before. That's why it took until the  80's to find Titanic's ruins. But, a German boat that sailed shortly after Titanic apparently ran into debris and floating bodies. So the Germans knew where the boat was (around anyway) but never told because war broke out? Please explain. This documentary then recites the testimony of someone on that very German boat that clearly was published somewhere else a long time ago. Case not closed?

Anyway, this same Titanic investigator says the Titanic was very well built and very manoeverable for its size.

That contradicts James Cameron who supplied an interesting and daunting metaphor on a Titanic program aired just previous: that the Titanic is like modern man, powering along in one direction, but about to crash, (Global warming) because it is too big can't turn fast enough, and no one is paying attention,or the wrong people are at the helm of the world, ie industrialists.

I guess the irony is icebergs play a  big part in this 2012 tragedy in the making.

Anyway, back to the Titanic Miniseries, I see that Julian Fellowes name isn't on the IMDB entry for the series. Hmm.

Anyway, this Titanic miniseries shows why Cameron's Titanic movie worked. It had a simple plot! I'll still watch the other two episodes.

I found one of the miniseries' subplots especially perplexing, a French mistress is snubbed by an upper class woman. I mean from what I've read of the era, the Upper Classes were all fooling around. It was what they did. Prudery was a middle class thing. Alas! (You just have to read the Nicholson Letters, upon which I based Threshold Girl.)

I noticed a while back that for the upcoming movie Gambit, Colin Firth isn't listed as a star on IMDB.


Alan Rickman is. And yet in all the publicity around the shooting of Gambit, Colin Firth was showcased.

Speaking of Gambit, I watched Get Carter on Turner Classics last week. I recorded it thinking it was an In Like Flint movie, but it's about a hood and pretty gritty, even for today. Not my kind of movie. But I stayed with it, as it is stylish and Michael Caine is terrific. He was very good looking, wasn't he? Never really thought about it. I was 13 in 1968 and David McCallum was more my type :)

And then I watched a bit of Withnail and I, liked it and saved it for Saturday (Titanic Night) with my husband - but my husband doesn't get British comedy. That's why we watched Titanic the miniseries, although my husband doesn't get period pieces either.

I said "Wait a while and there'll be some pretty naked people" just like your Throne of Kings. (I knew it wasn't gonna happen, though.) He said "Game of Thrones, not Throne of Kings."


Marion Nicholson of Threshold Girl in her big hat, circa 1912. A detail of  a picture.  May be the Charles River, Boston. A hat like that could capsize a boat.