James Horner "Unable to Stay, Unwilling to Leave"
I've always been picked on for having only seen 10 movies in my life. It's more than that, but that's the running joke. It was late 1997 and my brother said that I would be interested in a film he had just went to see and I ended up going based on his recommendation. At that point the little I knew about the history of Titanic was from my foggy memory of elementary school when our Librarian, Mr. Ashe, brought in a paper model replica that he had spent hours building. Walking into the theater, I knew nothing of the $200 million production and the sordid details involved with it's creation and missed deadlines. When I exited however, I was forever changed by the real-life occurrences, the fictional tale, the music, and the emotion behind Titanic.
If you've made it this far, let me address the thoughts running through your head about the massive over-exposure that turned many to despise any mention of the film, the music, and the entire production. It's been 15 years, it's time to cast that aside and if you were a hater, let it go. Take a brief look and listen with fresh eyes and ears.
It's hard to describe, even for someone like me who spends a lot of time trying to describe things, the depth and resonance this movie dug into with me. After three viewings in the theater in Oneonta I needed a larger, more intense aural experience and that resulted in 75-minute one-way trips to Albany on three more occasions in early 1998. I have hours of VHS tapes with specials, interviews, performances, awards shows, etc. Numerous books on both the film and also historical accounts of the ship by top Titanic historians, soundtracks, CD-Roms, heck, even the pose-able Gumby and Pokey figures that have been at every job I've held still sit to this day on my desk in the "I'm Flying" Jack and Rose pose. And while the fictional story that runs through the film was part of the reason I loved the film so much, the historical aspect was equally enveloping.
James Horner composed some wonderful pieces prior to this soundtrack, but the majestic themes he wrote for Titanic were absolutely stunning and brilliant. So evocative and moving. Each time I saw the film in a theater setting there were tears, including last week's IMAX 3-D viewing (highly recommended!), and it was not only a result of the story, but the combination of story and Horner's themes. As the lifeboat is being lowered and Rose looks up at Jack, flare exploding above his head, it's the haunting theme from "Unable to Stay, Unable to Leave" that always chokes me up (*see links below). You could argue that Horner milked a couple of themes in a lot of different ways, but you know what, it works. Each is presented with different treatments, variations and instruments, and it's one of the most beautiful and haunting melodies of my lifetime, so I say, "Bravo!"
Take a couple of minutes tonight to think about the 1,500 lives lost on this, the 100th anniversary of it's sinking.
More James Horner's Titanic:
*scene from the film with Unable to Stay, Unwilling to Leave
My Heart Will Go On (Dialogue Mix)
Southampton (Dialogue Mix)