Titanic: Untold Stories (1998) Movie Script

In the dark waters of the North Atlantic,
the great passenger liner, R.M.S. Titanic,
came to a violent and mysterious end.
Each of her passengers unwitting players
in a harrowing drama.
The builder who would pronounce her dead.
The brave men who refused to let her die.
Thousands of people who struggled
for their lives.
Now for the first time, a prominent
Titanic historian will retell her tragic tale
from the ship's actual decks.
Haunting locations will take us back to
pivotal moments during the epic disaster.
Newly discovered artifacts are helping to
piece together Titanic's untold stories.
It's a moment in history we'll still
striving to understand, a part of our past
impossible to forget.
On the French research vessel Nadir,
a countdown begins.
The crew prepares for an unprecedented
dive to one of the greatest shipwrecks
in history, R.M.S. Titanic.
On Nadir's fantail, a prototype submersible,
Nautile, is run through a final series
of systems checks.
She is one of a few submersibles able to
dive more than twelve thousand feet
to reach Titantic.
Historian, Charles Haas,
is leading today's dive.
His mission, to document key sites on
the ship where critical events unfolded.
To Haas, Titanic is a dramatic stage.
But it is the characters
in the tragedy who draw him in.
I think in order to get a full picture
of what that night was like, you need to know
the people who were involved
in that situation.
By knowing the characters in the drama,
by knowing the people,
you get a much better insight into the
great drama of that night.
As part of Haas' mission, he will also
look for artifacts, personal objects
which may provide clues to Titantic's story.
When Nautile leaves these decks,
she will drop two and a half miles into
the Atlantic, into a hostile world.
A place of freezing temperatures,
bone crushing pressure and desolate darkness.
If something goes wrong at the site,
there is no chance of a rescue.
In the control room, Nautile's position
will be monitored by expedition leader,
George Tulloch.
I'm really proud of this expedition
and this team.
It's just a wonderful thing to be a part of.
The Titanic is the piece of our history
and it's just special in every direction.
Tulloch is joined by Titanic historian
and Haas' writing partner, Jack Eaton.
There are many things that still can be
learned from Titanic, from the disaster,
from the recollection of the people
and of the events.
There are some major mysteries
that are still unsolved.
From the bridge, the crew watches as
Nautile free falls to Titanic.
A ship still giving up her secrets.
For historians studying Titanic,
much of what they know is based on testimony
taken after the disaster.
Hearings were held in both the
United States and Britain which investigated
the reason for her sinking.
Additional evidence turned up
in rare diaries and letters.
Now artifacts retrieved
from the ocean floor
let us study tangible pieces of lost history.
In their research, historians have learned
most about passengers who traveled lavishly
in first and second class.
People such as Emily Ryerson
and Lawrence Beesley
have given us a glimpse of what
that horrific night was like.
Remarkably, personal accounts of Titanic
continue to surface.
New witnesses are emerging.
Their stories have rarely been heard.
As the submersible Nautile descends
to Titanic, the crew prepares for arrival
at the site.
Your approach to the Titanic is pretty much
like hovering over a beach in a helicopter.
You see the sand rolling under you and
your navigating forward at maybe two
or three miles an hour.
All of a sudden, you see this immense object.
And it is so, so immense that
it completely fills the view port.
Your first reaction is,
it's almost an automatic, "Oh my God."
Titanic is, it's still a very,
very beautiful ship to see.
The lines are so beautiful under water.
And there's an awe or a reverence or
a silence from realizing
what occurred on these decks,
human stories of personal tragedy
that literally happened within the space
that you can now see.
On April 4th, 1912 at midnight,
Titanic docks at Southampton, England
where her fist passengers will board.
Under the direction of Haas, the crew
of Nautile moves to the very spot
where travelers first embarked.
The trip aboard Titanic actually
began at this spot.
These are the B deck doorways,
the so called shell doors.
When you boarded the ship at Southampton
in England, you would essentially
have gone through these doors
and the purser would greet you there.
These doorways mark the site
where many first touched Titanic,
a simple portal that became an entrance
to history.
In Southampton, boarding begins
in the early morning.
In command of the ship is
Captain E. J. Smith.
Smith's passenger list includes a
who's who of the era.
But the majority of the ship's passengers
are third class.
Titanic's owners hope to profit from
immigrants such as Gerda and Edvard Lindell.
The Lindells recently married are
living in Skognas in southern Sweden.
According to plans, Edvard will go to
America first.
Gerda will follow thereafter.
Gerda, however, won't be separated from
her new husband. At the last minute,
she joins him.
In a farewell gesture, Gerda drops roses
along their route leaving a trail behind.
In Southampton she writes a final postcard
to her brother.
Tomorrow we shall go aboard Titanic.
We have been down to see the colossus.
You should see what a beast it is.
Greetings from Gerda.
On the 10th of April, 1912, the Lindells
join more than two thousand others for
Titanic's maiden voyage.
Onboard, Edvard and Gerda meet fellow
Swede, August Wennerstrom.
Wennerstrom is traveling under an assumed name.
He's a political dissident leaving Sweden
to live in America.
Only one of these three passengers will
survive the journey.
Today Titanic is a mass of twisted metal.
But historian Charles Haas can see past
the decay to the people who once
walked these decks.
As the crew of Nautile moves to
a new location,
twelve thousand feet above them
at the surface, members of the expedition team
help navigate the wreck
Their destination is a third class area
at Titanic's bow.
Hello Jack Hello Jack
Hello Charlie. How are you doing
down there? Over.
We're working hard down here.
We're looking now down at the third class
area, the so called forward well deck
And it was here that third class passengers
were enjoying themselves and coming out
for recreation.
From this place, the sunsets must have
been dramatic.
Third class passengers including the Lindells
spent early evenings strolling here,
taking in the brisk sea air.
Above the third class promenade, first
and second class passengers enjoyed
uncompromising luxury.
Amenities included an exotic steam room.
A state of the art gymnasium.
And lavish dining salons.
For one first class passenger,
none of Titantic's palatial amenities
are enticing.
Mrs. Emily Ryerson's eldest son has been
killed in a car crash in America.
She's going to claim his body.
She leaves her cabin rarely
and eats in her room.
The elegance of Titanic is meaningless to
a mother in mourning.
Haas is now one deck above
Mrs. Ryerson's cabin.
The team moves forward along the bow to
one of Titanic's most famous locations.
Between the first and second funnel,
there was a magnificent dome which sat atop
an area known as the grand staircase.
There's really no part of the Titanic
that perhaps demonstrated the grandeur of
the ship than this feature which was
called the grand staircase in first class.
It was surmounted by a rod iron
and glass dome.
It penetrated five or six decks down
through the ship.
As we can see now, however, the grand
staircase is only a shattered leftover
of its former self.
For the first few days out at sea,
the trip to America is uneventful.
Then on Sunday, the temperature
drops dramatically.
Titanic's chief designer, Thomas Andrews,
spends his Sunday reviewing the ship's plans
and inspecting the vessel
for any subtle imperfections.
Titanic is the greatest achievement
to date of his ascending career.
Harold Bride is one of
the ship's two radio operators.
Bride's partner is Jack Phillips.
Throughout the day on Sunday,
they receive six warnings of ice.
Titanic's course is altered further south
to avoid the danger.
For passengers like the Lindells,
the frigid air is enough to keep them indoors.
Mrs. Emily Ryerson, however, makes a
rare appearance outside her cabin to
enjoy the quiet evening with a friend.
Bruce Ismay, managing director for the
company that owns Titanic,
approaches Ryerson.
Mrs. Ryerson.
Ismay shares a wireless message.
I have here a communication from the captain.
It indicates...
First he showed the telegram, then he said,
"We're in among the icebergs."
At the time, the conversation
had no importance to me.
I was very much overburdened with
other things that were on my mind.
First Class Passenger, Mrs. Emily Ryerson.
In fact, few on board are concerned
about ice.
Titanic, after all, is unsinkable.
The colossal scale of Titanic was
unrivaled in her day.
Her tragic sinking is one of few events
in history that still holds such a
grip on our imagination.
Titanic holds the place in the public
interest for a number of reasons of course.
The first... is that it was probably
the first major disaster to be covered
by all of the media.
There were some very early disasters
in the 20th century
but Titanic was the first one
that made such a worldwide impact.
People from the outset could identify
with people on board the ship
and this is something that has remained
over the years.
Titanic stood as a pinnacle of human
ingenuity in a time of unbridled optimism.
There was great optimism that the age
was going to improve.
They had such modern things as telephone
and automobiles and even airplanes.
And how far are these wonderful scientific
devices going to take us?
Above the wreck, Nautile moves to a
haunting location in the story.
The submersible is guided to the
devastated remains of the forward funnel.
A one hundred and fifty foot funnel
once occupied this cavernous hole.
What we're passing over now is a huge
ventilation system.
Titanic had, of course, four funnels
connected to the boiler rooms.
So what we're looking at here is a
giant tube in effect.
And if we were to pursue it further,
we would find ourselves way down
in the Titantic's boiler rooms.
The massive boilers located deep in the
belly of the ship were Titanic's source
of power.
On the day of the disaster, twenty-four
boilers are feeding
Titanic's enormous engines.
The ship's speed, twenty-one
and a half knots.
That evening, stoker Frederick Barrett
begins his shift.
In a few short hours,
he will find himself in a pitched battle
for survival.
Second class passenger, Lawrence Beesley,
fills out a claim form
so that he can retrieve his valuables
from the purser's safe.
Before retiring, Beesley takes in some
quiet entertainment.
Eternal father come to save...
After dinner, Mr. Carter invited all
who wished to the saloon
and with the assistance at the piano,
he started passengers singing hymns.
He was curious to see how many chose
hymns dealing with dangers at sea.
Second class passenger, Lawrence Beesley.
Two hours before impact,
wireless operator Jack Phillips
receives a warning from the ship Mesaba.
Ice report, latitude 42 degrees north to
41 degrees, twenty-five minutes north.
Saw much heavy pack ice and great number
of large icebergs.
Wireless operator, Jack Phillips.
Phillips doesn't realize the ice field lies
directly in Titanic's path.
Rather than report the warning to an offiicer,
he places it on a spike.
This simple act dooms Titanic.
The warning should have been delivered
to Second Offiicer Charles Lightoller
who was working on the bridge.
The one vital report that came through
but which never reached the bridge was received
from the Mesaba.
That delay proved fatal and was the main
cause of the loss of that ship.
Second Offiicer, Charles Lightoller.
With the stage now set for disaster,
the Nautile approaches an eerie scene.
We are hovering over the fallen forward mast
and you see the remains of the crow's nest.
It was here that lookout Frederick Fleet
spotted an iceberg at 11:40 p.m.
On the night of April 14th, 1912.
Fleet used the crow's nest bell
but he essentially telephoned the bridge
to report iceberg dead ahead.
The iceberg is spotted a quarter mile away.
Not enough distance to turn a ship
that stretches four city blocks long.
Offiicers steered Titantic from this location.
The ship's wheel used to be attached to
this device called a telemotor.
It is all that's left of the bridge.
What we're seeing is the telemotor
coming up.
Here is really where Frederick Fleet's
order was translated into action.
Between Frederick Fleet's warning
of the berg and the collision,
it was just thirty-seven seconds of time.
As Titanic begins to turn, it looks as
if the ship will clear the iceberg.
But an underwater ledge pierces
Titanic's steel hull,
buckling plates, causing thin separations
in her side.
There came what seemed to me, nothing more
than an extra heave of the engines,
nothing more than that,
no sound of a crash or anything else.
No sense of shock, no jar that fell like one
heavy body meeting another.
Second Class Passenger, Lawrence Beesley.
I was just about ready for the land of nod
when I felt a sudden vibrating jar run
through the ship.
Not that it was by any means a
violent concussion
but just a distinct and unpleasant
break in the monotony of her motion.
Second Offiicer, Charles Lightoller.
Deep below in third class, the impact
is more obvious to the Lindells.
And August Wennerstrom.
Captain Smith dispatches Titanic designer
Thomas Andrews to inspect the damage
to the ship.
What Andrews sees is devastating.
He reports to Captain Smith that Titanic
is filling fast.
A quick calculation reveals the ship
has an hour, maybe two.
Andrews realizes the deadly implications
On board are more than two thousand
passengers and crew
but only enough lifeboats for
just half of them.
Following the collision,
the ship is quiet again.
Most first and second class passengers
are still sleeping.
Little do they realize,
a drama unfolds in the bow of the ship.
Deep below, the front of Titanic
is quickly flooding.
The forward crew must abandon
their positions.
For the time being,
Titanic's electricity is holding.
Stoker Barrett and several others attempt
to keep the water out of boiler room five.
The men attach long hoses to the pumps.
If they keep this section from flooding,
they believe they can save the ship.
They do not know that Titanic's designer
has already declared her doomed.
From the boiler rooms, Nautile travels
to a location where another battle was fought.
Above this fatal wound in the ship lies
Titanic's mail room.
Among the greatest heroes of Titantic's
story, I think, are the postal workers.
There were more than thirty-
five hundred bags of mail onboard...
Thirty-five hundred.
...the ship
and as the water began flooding this area,
the men's only thought was to try to rescue
the mail that they had been placed
in charge of.
As Titanic's mail room floods, the postal
workers drag the mail to higher ground.
As they work, the rising water rapidly
pursues them, lapping
at their heels at each level.
Eventually, they are overtaken.
This great hole marks the spot
where the five postal workers died.
They were Titanic's first victims.
The next site is perhaps the most wrenching.
From the control room, the crew guides
Nautile to one of the evacuation areas.
Titanic's lifeboats were stored
on her uppermost decks.
There were only sixteen,
capacity for about one thousand.
This ghostly crane lowered boats
into the dark sea.
Second Offiicer Charles Lightoller worked
at this very spot.
As Lightoller and his men crank out
the boats.
Passengers stand by and watch.
Among them, there is utter disbelief.
Nothing seems wrong.
Why are they being asked to evacuate?
Many passengers initially won't leave
and the first boats are launched
virtually empty.
Near this location, the radio operators
frantically signal for assistance.
In a desperate attempt to summon help,
they send a newly adopted
distress code SOS.
Titanic is one of the first ships
in history to send the call.
What we are looking at now is the interior
of the ship's wireless room.
Here the radio operators Jack Phillips
and Harold Bride were given the information
that the Titanic was doomed.
They began immediately sending out distress
signals. And so it was from this very
room that these two men worked
very hard to save lives.
Recognizing the fatal damage to Titanic,
designer Thomas Andrews calmly works to
prepare the passengers for the lifeboats.
He knows, regardless of his effort,
there will be a tragic loss of life.
Third class passengers August Wennerstrom
and the Lindells are left on their own.
As they head for the lifeboats,
the stern begins to rise out of the water.
We saw the sea climbing up the deck
more quickly than before.
I could see that everyone was clamoring
aft and trying to keep from sliding down
the slanting deck which was growing steeper.
Third Class Passenger, August Wennerstrom.
Deep in the belly of the ship,
Frederick Barrett of the crew
feared the red hot boilers will explode
when they come in contact with the icy sea water
so they extinguish the boilers.
As each fire is put out,
the hold fills with steam.
Blinded by black dust and steam,
one of Barrett's companions falls
into an open manhole.
His leg is shattered and Barrett drags him
to a pump room.
Nearly two hours after impact, a weakened
wall caves in and the sinking of
Titanic accelerates.
Barrett escapes but his companion
will perish.
When Barrett arrives on deck,
his timing is perfect.
He is quickly assigned to a lifeboat
as an oarsman and is lowered away.
Lawrence Beesley climbs aboard Barrett's
boat when no more women or
children are nearby.
On the opposite side of the ship,
one man wrestles with his conscience.
His name is Masabumi Hosono.
I tried to prepare myself for the last
moment making up my mind not to leave anything
disgraceful as a Japanese
but I still found myself looking for
any possible chance for survival.
There were many men who attempted
to squeeze in
but sailors refused them at gunpoint.
I, myself, was deep in desolate thought.
Even if I became the target of a
pistol shot, it would be the same and thus
I made a jump for the lifeboat.
From the dark sea, Hosono looks back
at embattled Titanic.
Her lights burning brightly. Her stern
rising perversely from the water.
I saw a great number of passengers still
frantically moving about on the deck
giving terrible shouts
and cries for help.
The scene was just horrible and eerie.
Our lifeboat too was filled with sobbing
and weeping women who had been worried
about the safety of their husbands
and fathers.
It was all unbearably sad and hopeless.
On board Titanic, Mrs. Ryerson refuses
to leave her husband despite his best efforts
to convince her otherwise.
My husband said, "When they say women
and children first, you must go."
And I said, "Why do I have to go
on that boat?"
And he said, "You must obey the captain's
orders and I'll get in somehow.
"First Class Passenger,
Mrs. Emily Ryerson.
Hundreds of families are struggling
with the same question.
Should they separate or stick together?
With few lifeboats left, people take
the threat of sinking seriously.
Now the challenge for the crew is to
keep people from mobbing the remaining boats.
At 1:45 a.m., Emily Ryerson boards one
of the last boats to be launched with
her two daughters and one son.
Her husband stays behind.
Mr. Andrews, Mr. Andrews.
Titantic's designer, Thomas Andrews,
is last seen looking lost in a trance
in the first class smoking room.
Andrews. Mr. Andrews. Mr. Andrews?
As Titantic's stern tilts higher,
the Lindells and August Wennerstrom
slide into the water.
Relieved of his duty, Second Offiicer
Lightoller also takes his chances in the sea.
Immediately he is sucked into
a ventilation shaft.
Although I struggled and kicked for all
I was worth, it was impossible to get away.
Every instant expecting myself shot
down into the bowels of the ship.
I was still struggling and fighting
when suddenly a terrific blast of hot air
came up the shaft
and blew me right away up to the surface.
From the surface, Lightoller witnesses
the end of R.M.S. Titanic.
The bow of the ship was now
rapidly going down
and the stern was rising higher and
higher out of the water
piling the people into helpless heaps
around the steep decks and by the
score into the icy water.
Second Offiicer, Charles Lightoller.
As she swung out, her lights, which had
shown without a flicker all night,
went out suddenly.
Came on again for a single flash
and then went out all together.
Second Class Passenger,
Lawrence Beesley.
The stern stood for several minutes
black against the stars
and then the boat plunged up.
Then began the cries for help
which seemed to go on forever.
First Class Passenger,
Mrs. Emily Ryerson.
As Titanic plummets to the ocean floor,
the most beautiful liner the world
every saw shatters into pieces.
On the surface, the human drama continues.
Charles Lightoller manages to climb
atop an overturned lifeboat.
Some thirteen men struggle here
to keep their balance,
to prevent slipping into the icy water.
Wireless operators, Bride and Phillips
are among these men.
Phillips will die of exposure
before morning.
The Lindells manage to find a lifeboat
but the boat overturns sending
them helplessly back into the sea.
For how long a time I was away
from the boat, I don't know.
When I came back to the boat,
it was filled with water.
My friend, Edvard Lindell
had also got aboard.
I saw Mrs. Lindell in the water
and clasped her hand. I didn't have
the strength to pull her aboard.
Mr. Lindell looked straight ahead.
Never made a move or said a word.
I realized that he'd frozen to death.
After a half hour, I lost my grip
and saw Mrs. Lindell disappear
into the sea.
Third Class Passenger,
August Wennerstrom.
More than one thousand, five hundred men,
women and children perished this night.
Relics of their lives are strewn
along the ocean floor.
Artifacts like these provide
the last clues to their stories.
Among broken plates and debris,
Haas makes a discovery.
He finds and retrieves a device called a
telegraph that was used to signal the engines.
Your emotional attachment to a particular
object eventually evolves into a great
deal of anxiousness about its future.
And when you see the artifacts being
brought up and in particular when you see
them being conserved
that anxiousness is replaced by a great,
great deal of happiness that you've
preserved them for the future.
After a day of exploration, Nautile
returns to the surface with precious cargo.
On the fantail of Nadir, the newly
discovered artifact is shared with the crew.
You know, history's progressed
another notch there Charles.
I'm really quite overwhelmed by that.
In a warehouse in Hamburg, Germany,
people line up to visit an extraordinary
exhibit of Titanic artifacts.
Historians Charles Haas and Jack Eaton
and expedition leader, George Tulloch take
in the emotional display.
They have come to see fragments of history,
some of which they have helped to
rescue from certain oblivion.
Certain objects here played a critical
role during Titanic's final hours.
The giant wrenches used by the men
in the boiler room remind us of those
who struggled to keep Titanic afloat.
Men like Frederick Barrett.
Barrett survived the disaster
and continued to work most of his life
out at sea.
One of Titanic's brass bells,
a symbol of her elite offiicers,
including Second Offiicer Charles Lightoller.
Lightoller was the only senior offiicer
to survive Titanic.
He retired unceremoniously.
During World War II, he used his yacht in
daring missions to aid the British
war effort.
This claim check, number two, oh, eight,
belonged to Lawrence Beesley
and it was retrieved from the
ocean bottom.
Beesley lived to be eighty-nine
and write one of the most significant
accounts of the Titanic tragedy.
Women's jewelry, reminds us that many of
Titanic's survivors were widowed that night.
When Mrs. Ryerson arrived in New York,
she would bury her son who was killed
in a car crash
and mourn her lost husband.
Mrs. Ryerson died at the age of
Masabumi Hosono lived reclusively
and rarely spoke of Titanic.
His rare written account has now
become a part of history.
Hosono lived to be sixty-nine and died
in Japan.
August Wennerstrom survived Titanic.
He spent most of his life in America
and died in Culver, Indiana.
This is the wedding band of Gerda Lindell.
It was retrieved from the lifeboat where
both she and her husband lost their lives.
These objects are the last remnants
of the Titanic disaster.
They forge a link across a century
to a vanished time.
This clarinet and these letters of love
found in a man's suitcase
give us an intimate glimpse into a life
we would have known nothing about,
a life like many others forever
changed by Titanic.
Of the two thousand, two hundred and twenty
- eight individuals aboard Titanic,
we only know the experiences
of perhaps half.
Some of their stories have been told
and fully developed.
But even to this day, most of Titanic's
stories still remain untold.