Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Titanic Rhapsody and the Silent Film Star

Tomorrow, TITANIC RHAPSODY, my Titanic romance, is released from Ellora's Cave!!

It's been a long road to publication for this story...countless hours researching and re-writing, checking facts then checking them again...

I lived through the sinking of the ship many times and each time I'd get emotional...will my heroine, Katie O'Reilly, get into a lifeboat?

Will Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn, my hero, survive when the Titanic founders?

But imagine if you had actually lived through the tragedy just two weeks before? And you had to go through it all again...this time for a film!

That's what happened to Dorothy's her story:

Starring real life survivor, Dorothy Gibson, the silent film was called Saved from the Titanic and was shot in less than two weeks in black and white with color scenes. Unfortunately, the prints of the film were destroyed in a fire in 1912. No known footage exists. Only a few stills showing Miss Gibson wearing the same dress she wore that fateful night on April 15, 1912 when the ship sank.

Can you imagine wearing the same outfit you wore? Think about it. It would be like going to your high school reunion wearing your old prom dress.

The public loved it. They couldn’t get enough about the Titanic.

According to Moving Picture News, Dorothy was a model and belonged to a stock company before working for the Éclair Company of America (a film production company originally founded in France in 1907). She also worked in vaudeville as a singer/dancer and was a leading lady or “star” in her time, but she is remembered for surviving the Titanic.

I can’t forget Miss Dorothy Gibson, the film star who survived the sinking.

You see, Dorothy is making a comeback.

Quite a different reception than what she experienced 100 years ago when the actress returned to New York. I was surprpised what I found when I searched through the New York newspapers filled with stories about the disaster even before the Carpathia, the rescue ship, reached New York with the survivors aboard.

During those uncertain days when news was slowly filtering in, the newspapers were filled with pictures and stories about Society women, but not one mention of Dorothy Gibson.

What fascinates me is that Dorothy will be a character portrayed by Sophie Winkleman in the Titanic mini-series premiering here in the U.S. on April 14 & 15, 2012 on ABC-TV.

Can you imagine the press of today not reporting on a well-known film star aboard the ship?

My, how times have changed.


Read an excerpt from TITANIC RHAPSODY here (the Prologue).


Wynter Daniels said...

Wow - you'd think that role would have psychologically damaged her! Talk about type casting.

Jina Bacarr said...

You're right, Wynter. Dorothy was hesitant to make the film, but she "forged ahead" according to a newspaper story at the time. The film rec'd excellent reviews.

Dorothy made about 20 films acc. to her bio, then switched to opera. She lived an interesting life and was involved with the Axis powers in Italy during WWII--she renounced her involvement and was arrested by the Gestapo, but escaped from prison.

She died after the war at the Ritz Hotel in Paris...

Naima Simone said...

How fascinating! Of course after reading your blog I had to go look her up to see what she looked like. She was so pretty, like the face on a cameo. I'm with you about the press not jumping all over her presence on the Titanic...the press must not have been as vicious then as they are now!

Congratulations on your release, Jina!!

Dalton Diaz said...

I googled her, too! Absolutely fascinating. She sounds like she was a helluva woman, and a true heroine.

Jina Bacarr said...

Thanks, Naima! Glad you had a chance to learn more about you can see, it's difficult to pick out just a few things that she did. She also had quite a fascinating love life!

Jina Bacarr said...

So true, Dalton, one amazing woman. Be sure to check out her character in the ABC mini-series "Titanic" this weekend. She makes an appearance early on in the mini-series and dances with Second Officer Lightoller. The only thing is--this would not have happened. There was no dancing in first class (in my Titanic novel, my H/H dance the tango in a dark corner near the Grand Staircase where no one can see them!) and Mr. Lightoller was married...

Callie Croix said...

I was a glutton for all the documentaries on TV last week and always thought of you. Did you see the one on Nat'l Geo about a new scientific theory stating that "cold water mirages" were partially to blame for hitting the iceberg that night, as well as the Californian's captain mistaking the Titanic for a different vessel altogether? Fascinating stuff.

Jina Bacarr said...

Me, too, Callie, re: Titanic shows. The cool thing is you can watch 2 of the documentaries on PBS for awhile if you missed them.

Yes, NatGeo had excellent shows. I loved the CGI graphic of the ship.

I don't think we'll ever know everything about Titanic and that's what fascinates us.