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"A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets"

by Beth Fitzgibbon 6 months ago in vintage

The proof you need about why going second-hand shopping can be a worthwhile experience

'Titanic - "I'm Flying" Scene'. YouTube. Uploaded by TitanicPassion.

My mother and I love going second-hand shopping. In Australia, we call it 'op-shopping'. I didn't always love it, though. Over the years, my experience with op-shopping has evolved from a kid running excitedly to the worn and scratched toys, to an early-teens, apathetic eye-roller being dragged through garage sales, to a late-teens snob whose new wages went towards new clothes and makeup, to a mid-twenties, introverted daydreamer who, every single time, walks straight to the preloved books.

As far as my favourite finds are concerned, most of them are books: fiction novels, poetry collections, and some non-fiction. (None of which may appear all that interesting or valuable, except to me.)

The one find that I feel fits into this category of 'top-tier' would be an item I discovered as a mid-teen (during which time my excitement for op-shopping fluctuated depending on my rollercoaster-style moods) at a second-hand store. It is a find that, at the time, I knew I needed because of my love for the film; I was (and still am) a hopeless romantic.

I'd found a collector's edition box set of the 1997 film Titanic.

The lid of the collector's edition box set of Titanic (1997)

It includes:

  • a VHS copy of the film;
  • a VHS copy of Breaking New Ground: The Making of Titanic (a documentary of the filmmaking process and the real story behind the devastation of the ship's demise);
  • a film strip of Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) in their loving embrace at the bow of the ship;
  • a complete script of the film with James Cameron's signature (the director);
  • six prints (8.5" x 7.5") depicting scenes from the film.

When I dug up this box from storage to write this article, I realised that the box also includes a cut-out newspaper article dating April 15, 2010, entitled 'Stories of Australians sank with the Titanic' by Troy Lennon in the Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph. I must have come across the article a few years after purchasing the box set and decided to add it to the collection, as I am an Australian and I find it to be an interesting read.

The newspaper article from 2010 by Troy Lennon, found in the Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph

A quick internet search will tell you that this collector's edition box set is currently selling for around AU$50 - AU$80 on eBay.

The actual box is by no means in good condition; you can clearly see the scuff marks around its lid. The items inside are decent, as I have barely touched them for fear of depreciating them.

The VHS copies of the 1997 film and the documentary

Why I love this collector's edition box set

I'm a big fan of films based on true stories, and the bigger the tragedy, the more I love it. The emotional response I get just thinking about how it would have felt to be present during the time of such an event or time period is overwhelming. James Cameron, the director of Titanic, took the time to research the circumstances of the sinking and made the film reflect the real-life tragedy as closely as possible.

The 6 prints depicting scenes from the film

The cover of the script (left) and page 51 of the script, where Jack is teaching Rose how to spit off the edge of the ship (right)

My love for this film has grown even more so when my husband and I had begun dating. Titanic was a film we would often watch while curled up on the lounge at my parents' house after he'd joined us for dinner. I was pleased to have found a young man who enjoyed the film as much as I did.

The song 'My Heart Will Go On' by Celine Dion is probably one of the most romantic songs of all time, and it became one of the songs on a particular playlist my husband and I would listen to while we went driving around at night when we were dating. It featured in our wedding reception playlist.

The instrumental version of this song was played while I walked from the steps leading down to the beach for our wedding ceremony to the custom-built pergola to declare my love for the man who would become my husband.

The film strip of the protagonists' loving embrace at the bow of the ship

To finish off this article, here are a handful of interesting facts about the film from IMDb that, in my eyes, attest to the opinion that Titanic is one of the most emotionally charged and historically accurate films ever produced:

  • It was the most expensive film produced in the 20th century with a budget of $200,000,000 - a budget larger than the building cost of the actual ship, which was around $120,000,000 to $150,000,000 (in 1997 dollars).
  • It was #1 at the U.S. box office for a record 15 consecutive weeks (December 19, 1997, to April 2, 1998).
  • It contains over 100 speaking parts and over 1,000 extras - all of whom needed to be dressed in costumes reflecting the fashion of the early 20th century.
  • While the film depicts a fictitious Jack Dawson as a third-class passenger who sneaks his way up to first-class in the hopes of not getting caught, a third-class passenger during the real tragedy named Hilda Maria Hellström actually did sneak up to first-class out of curiosity and never got caught - though she was in her third-class cabin when the ship hit the iceberg and survived the ordeal by boarding one of the last lifeboats.
  • In mentioning that Jack Dawson is a fictitious character: After the script was completed, James Cameron discovered that there had been a "J. Dawson" who had died on the Titanic. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, in September 1888, and his body was salvaged and buried at Fairview Lawn cemetery in Nova Scotia with many other victims. His grave (#227) is the most visited in the cemetery.
  • James Cameron decided to include real footage of the Titanic but wanted it to be done outside a submersible. To achieve this, his brother Mike Cameron along with Panavision developed a deep-sea camera system that was capable of handling the pressure at that depth.
  • During the sinking scene, the priest reciting a Bible passage did exist on the real sinking of the Titanic. He is believed to be Father Byles of second-class.
  • Shay Duffin, who played the pubkeeper in England, is related to one of the original Irish workers who built the Titanic.
  • The man in white, clutching the railing next to Jack and Rose as the ship went vertical before it finally sank, was a real person. His name was Charles Joughin and he was the Chief Baker for the ship. He was able to stay alive in the water for an extraordinarily long time by treading water and clutching onto debris until daybreak when he saw a lifeboat. The sinking of the Titanic was the second shipwreck he had survived, having been on board the SS Oregon in 1886.
  • The history of the fictional 'Heart of the Ocean' diamond is based on the early history of the real-life 'Hope Diamond'.

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Beth Fitzgibbon

| ASPIRING AUTHOR | fiction | poetry | creative non-fiction | spec fic | romance | fantasy | horror | thriller | dystopian |

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