100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

RMS TITANIC Film Released Starring Real Survivor

Dorthy Gibson is a stage actress and singer who since 1906 has appeared in a number of theatre and vaudeville productions on Broadway. She is the favorite model for famous commercial artist Harrison Fisher who has chosen her likeness for the covers of best-selling magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal, and the Saturday Evening Post. Gibson entered movies in early 1911, joining the Independent Moving Pictures Company. She went to Paris, France for the US-based Éclair Studios in July 1911. She was an instant success and one of the first actresses to be called a star after film credits started in 1911.

Cover girl Dorthy Gibson

Gibson was returning from Europe and booked passage on the RMS TITANIC. She had been playing bridge with friends in the lounge on the night of the ship’s fatal collision with the iceberg. She escaped in Lifeboat #7, the first lifeboat launched. After arriving in New York on the RMS CARPATHIA, Gibson’s manager who had specially chartered tugboats and an extra relay of cameramen” to film the arrival of RMS CARPATHIA persuaded her to make a film based on the sinking.  exactly one month after the RMS TITANIC struck the fatal iceberg, the film SAVED FROM THE TITANIC premiered in the US and in the United Kingdom as A SURVIVOR OF THE TITANIC and in Germany as WAS DIE TITANIC SIE LEHRTE (“What the Titanic Taught Her”.) It not only starred Gibson recreating the disaster but she also wrote the scenario and even appeared in the very same clothing she had worn aboard the liner that night—a white silk evening dress topped with a cardigan and polo coat. The film used footage of scenes such as RMS TITANIC’s Captain Edward Smith on the bridge of the RMS OLYMPIC, RMS TITANIC’s sister ship, images of the launch of RMS TITANIC in 1911 and stock footage of icebergs. The movie was one reel, about 10 minutes in length and shot in only a week. The fictionalized plot revolved around Gibson’s surviving the disaster and how it affected her made up family and fiancee. It is reported that the filming took its toll on Gibson who was emotionally drained by reliving the experience.

Dorthy Gibson in a scene from SAVED FROM THE TITANIC – 1912

Movie poster for SAVED FROM THE TITANIC
May 14, 1912

 

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