It has just turned 25 since its release at the cinema and, for the occasion, it is back in theaters in a restored version: Titanicthe masterpiece directed by James Cameronconquered the generation that in 1997 elected it as a cultural phenomenon, but it has not failed to excite even the most recent audiences, thanks to a magic that is continually renewed: it is the strength of great cinema.
Nominated for fourteen Oscars and awarded eleven statuettes (a record it shares with Ben-How e The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King), among the excellences of Titanic we cannot fail to mention Cameron’s direction, an unforgettable cast (with the couple made up of Kate Winslet it’s yes Leonardo DiCaprio, which has become iconic) and a first-rate artistic and technical sector, which made the production of the film one of the most important in the history of cinema. A colossal modern, with a concept similar to that of the golden age of Hollywood, but adapted to the more dynamic needs of the nineties. After all, it is Cameron’s very vocation to devote himself to very important achievements, as he will later demonstrate with Avatar (2009) and Avatar: The Waterway (2022).
But there is a further excellence of Titanic which deserves special attention: the soundtrack, written by the late James Horner, who passed away in 2015 following a plane crash. One of the most important composers of the contemporary Hollywood era, who reached the pinnacle of his career with this film, both from a creative point of view and for the awards obtained. From the main themes that accompany the most intense and dramatic scenes of the film to the timeless My Heart Will Go Onsung by Celine Dionlet’s rediscover the music of Titanic, twenty-five years after its original publication. Happy reading and happy listening.
Eighty-four years after the sinking of the RMS Titanic ocean liner, treasure hunter Brock Lovett is leading, together with his team, a mission to recover a large diamond, called the “Heart of the Ocean”, apparently lost during the sinking. After finding a safe, researchers discover a portrait of a young woman wearing the diamond necklace, dated April 14, 1912, the very day the Titanic collided with the iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean.
The centenarian Rose Dawson Calvert, having learned of the discovery through television, gets in touch with Lovett, stating that the girl in the portrait is really her, although she was initially believed to be dead. At the time her maiden name was DeWitt Butaker: the time has come for Rose to go back in time.
His story thus returns to April 10, 1912, when the Titanic set sail from the port of Southampton, in the United Kingdom, bound for New York within a week’s journey. Embarked among first class passengers with her mother Ruth and her rich and arrogant boyfriend Caledon “Cal” Hockley, Rose is in the midst of an existential crisis, suffocated by a relationship that would lead her to an unhappy marriage. She will attempt a desperate gesture reaching as far as the stern of the ship, but Jack Dawson, a charming and penniless artist traveling in third class, will come to her rescue. The spark of love will immediately strike between the two, but it will first have to collide with the troubled situation that Rose is experiencing with Cal, who is increasingly determined to take the plunge, so much so that he presents her the official engagement gift that evening. just that precious and rare blue diamond.
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The start of the story in the present, then the touching return to the past: the prologue of Titanic it’s like a treasure chest of memories that opens, and is accompanied by the music of James Horner through the main theme in Never an Absolution and above all in Rosewhere winds, piano and chorus describe the purity and delicacy of the protagonist and the feeling that blossoms for Jack, or the man she was waiting for like a brave knight ready to save her. Distant Memories it brings to mind those first fascinating and then dramatic days; Southampton e Leaving Port describe the departure of the ocean liner that everyone believed was unsinkable and was thought to be an incomparable ruler of the sea: a constructive prodigy that will be lost in the cold darkness of the ocean.
The journey, the love, the tragedy
Jack and Rose start spending time together, growing closer to each other. Fascinated by the boy’s globetrotting experiences, Rose is increasingly convinced of rebelling against the fate that awaits her. With the help of Margaret “Molly” Brown, a selfless and generous rich lady, Jack manages to find a suitable dress to attend a first class dinner with the more affluent passengers. Afterwards, he invites Rose to spend the rest of the evening with him. Despite the opposition of her boyfriend and her mother, and an initial second thought, Rose will cancel the engagement, declaring her love to Jack on the bow of the Titanic. After fleeing in pursuit of Lovejoy, Cal’s butler and handyman, the two young men cross the ship’s engine room and take refuge inside a car, where they experience a moment of intense passion.
But, just as Jack and Rose plan to escape together after arriving in America, something incredible happens: the lookouts sight a large iceberg, a few hundred meters in front of the ship. Despite the warnings launched towards the Titanic of ice on the route, no one paid attention to this eventuality. The crew will react immediately: First Officer William Murdoch orders a tack to port and a U-turn, but will not be able to prevent the bow from hitting the mountain of ice, opening several holes in the hull, from which it starts to get a lot of water. It is the beginning of the sinking. Meanwhile, Cal’s fury will have continued against both Jack and Rose, but there won’t be too much room for his revenge: the Titanic is destined to end up in the sea, and with it most of the passengers, since the lifeboats they cannot suffice for all, if not half of the women and men on board.
As Jack and Rose fall in love and declare their belongings to each other, the Titanic meets its destiny. The film’s soundtrack becomes less poetic and more dramatic, anticipating the transatlantic’s descent to the abyss. Three interlude songs such as Take To Her Sea, Mr. Murdoch, Hard to Starboard e Unable to Stay, Unwilling to Leave anticipate the two most solemn themes, namely The Sinking e Death of Titanic, which accompany the sequences in which the ocean water takes over the ship. Strings and percussion take over, as well as winds that are decidedly more serious and with a more decisive trend compared to the softer passages of the opening of the film. It is the purely orchestral part of James Horner’s soundtrack.
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Farewell to the Titanic
The denouement of the story is known to every cinephile. While only a part of the passengers will be able to wait for help to arrive and most of her will succumb, swallowed up by the icy waters of the Atlantic, Jack and Rose will also have to say goodbye, as he will sacrifice himself for her. The girl will forever live in the memories of her greatest love, despite the fact that she will rebuild her life and keep in her soul what happened in those tragic moments. There has always been debate about James Cameron’s choice to divide the fate of the two lovers, and the director himself has also recently returned to the subject. But what the author has given to the public is above all a historical fresco, retracing in detail the night of the sinking of the Titanic and introducing fictional characters in a context of true events; reflection on the division by social class which was still clear-cut in the 1910s; an iconic love story, which for more than twenty-five has conquered the public with every television and film revival. All in an absolutely extraordinary technical scaffolding.
To seal the film’s finale is once again the music of James Horner. After A Promise Kept e A Life So Changedthe soundtrack concludes with three other fundamental pieces: An Ocean of Memoriesbut most of all My Heart Will Go On – Love Theme Fron Titanicplayed by Canadian artist Céline Dion in the opening credits, and by Hymn to the Sea, which subsequently closes them. The song (music by Horner, lyrics by Will Jennings) was awarded the most important awards: Oscar, Golden Globe and four Grammy Awards, as well as confirming the talent of the singer with a crystalline voice on an international scale. The soundtrack by the American composer, awarded in turn with an Oscar and a Golden Globe, is now recognized as a classic of contemporary cinema.
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It should be noted that what we have proposed here is the original album of fifteen tracks with a total duration of seventy-two minutes, since there is also an extended version of four hours and fifteen minutes on the market (divided into four discs) and today also available in digital and streaming platforms, just like the main soundtrack (released in 1997 on CD only by Sony Music Entertainment). An excellent opportunity to rediscover a beautiful work by a musician who is never remembered enough for his enormous artistic contribution.