Maybe you've noticed, the underlying romantic theme of "Titanic" are the hands of Rose Calvert nee DeWitt Bukater and Jack Dawson. Throughout the movie, there are numerous scenes in which the hands of the two characters touch, are drawn or are referred to in some way. Below are a number of scenes from the screenplay where hands play a major role. [Note: There may be differences between the script, printed below in red, and what actually appears in the movie. Also, the "Titanic" screenplay that I've linked above is not what I originally used when I wrote this webpage; however, it should be a useful reference.]
Scene 17: "Outside it is a quiet morning in Ojai, California. In the studio, amid incredible clutter, an ANCIENT WOMAN is throwing a pot on a potter's wheel. The liquid red clay covers her hands... hands that are gnarled and age-spotted, but still surprisingly strong and supple... The old woman's name is ROSE CALVERT. Her face is a wrinkled mass, her body shapeless and shrunken under a one-piece African-print dress. But her eyes are just as bright and alive as those of a young girl. Rose gets up and walks into the living room, wiping pottery clay from her hands with a rag."
Scene 28: "Laid out on a worktable are fifty or so objects, from mundane to valuable. Rose, shrunken in her chair, can barely see over the table top. With a trembling hand she lifts a tortoise shell hand mirror, inlaid with mother of pearl. She caresses it wonderingly... Rose picks up an ornate art-nouveau HAIR COMB. A jade butterfly takes flight on the ebony handle of the comb. She turns it slowly, remembering. We can see that Rose is experiencing a rush of images and emotions that have lain dormant for eight decades as she handles the butterfly comb."
Scene 34: "The Renault stops and the LIVERIED DRIVER scurries to open the door for a YOUNG WOMAN dressed in a stunning white and purple outfit, with an enormous feathered hat. She is 17 years old and beautiful, regal of bearing, with piercing eyes. It is the girl in the drawing. ROSE." [Note: In the movie, as Rose leaves the car, she offers her hand to the chauffeur.]
Scene 36: "JACK (jaunty): 'Hit me again, Sven.' Jack takes the card and slips it into his hand." [This line of dialogue was deleted from the movie.]
Scene 41: "JACK AND FABRIZIO burst through a door onto the aft well deck. TRACKING WITH THEM as they run across the deck and up the steel stairs to the poop deck. They get to the rail and Jack starts to yell and wave to the crowd on the dock."
Scene 66: "CAL: 'What made you think you could put your hands on my fiancée?! Look at me, you filth! What did you think you were doing?!'"
Scene 73: "She [Rose] studies one drawing in particular, the girl posed half in sunlight, half in shadow. Her hands lie at her chin, one furled and one open like a flower, languid and graceful. The drawing is like an Alfred Steiglitz print of Georgia O'Keefe. ROSE: 'You liked this woman. You used her several times.' JACK: 'She had beautiful hands.' ROSE (smiling): 'I think you must have had a love affair with her...' JACK (laughing): 'No, no! Just with her hands.'"
Scene 79: "Cal comes down the stairs, with Ruth on his arm, covered in jewelry. They both walk right past Jack, neither one recognizing him. Cal nods at him, one gent to another. But Jack barely has time to be amused. Because just behind Cal and Ruth on the stairs is Rose, a vision in red and black, her low-cut dress showing off her neck and shoulders, her arms seethed in white gloves that come well above the elbow. Jack is hypnotized by her beauty. CLOSE ON ROSE as she approaches Jack. He imitates the gentlemen's stance, hand behind his back. She extends her gloved hand and he takes it, kissing the back of her fingers. Rose flushes, beaming noticeably. She can't take her eyes off him. JACK: 'I saw that in a nickelodeon once, and I always wanted to do it.'"
Scene 83: "GRACIE (rising): 'Well, join me for a brandy, gentlemen?' ROSE (low): 'Now they retreat into a cloud of smoke and congratulate each other on being masters of the universe.' GRACIE: 'Joining us, Dawson? You don't want to stay out here with the women, do you?' Actually he does, but... JACK: 'No thanks. I'm heading back.' CAL: 'Probably best. It'll be all business and politics, that sort of thing. Wouldn't interest you. Good of you to come.' Cal and the other gentlemen exit. ROSE: 'Jack, must you go?' JACK: 'Time for my coach to turn back into a pumpkin.' [In the movie, Jack says, 'Time to go row with the other slaves.'] He leans over to take her hand. INSERT: We see him slip a tiny folded note into her palm. Ruth, scowling, watches him walk away across the enormous room. Rose surreptitiously opens the note below table level. It reads: 'Make it count. Meet me at the clock.'"
Scene 85: "Jack ... dances with 5 year old Cora Cartwell, or tries to, with her standing on his feet. As the tune ends, Rose leans down to the little girl. ROSE: 'May I cut in, miss?' [Actually, Jack has to persuade Rose to dance in the movie.] JACK: 'You're still my best girl, Cora.' Cora scampers off. Rose and Jack face each other. She is trembling as he takes her right hand in his left. His other hand slides to the small of her back. It is an electrifying moment."
Scene 88: "ROSE: 'They're such small
people, Jack... my crowd. They think they're giants on the earth,
but they're not even dust in God's eye. They live inside this little
tiny champagne bubble... and someday the bubble's going to burst.'
He leans at the rail next to her, his hand just touching hers. It is the
slightest contact imaginable, and all either one of them can feel is that
square inch of skin where their hands are touching." [This
scene was cut from the movie.]
Scene 99: "TITANIC STEAMS TOWARD US, in the dusk light, as if lit by the embers of a giant fire. As the ship looms, FILLING FRAME, we push in on the bow. Jack is there, right at the apex of the bow railing, his favorite spot. He closes his eyes, letting the chill wind clear his head. Jack hears her voice, behind him... ROSE: 'Hello, Jack.' He turns and she is standing there. ROSE: 'I changed my mind.' He smiles at her, his eyes drinking her in. Her cheeks are red with the chill wind, and her eyes sparkle. Her hair blows wildly about her face. ROSE: 'Fabrizio said you might be up--' JACK: 'Sssshh. Come here.' He puts his hands on her waist. As if he is going to kiss her. JACK: 'Close your eyes.' She does, and he turns her to face forward, the way the ship is going. He presses her gently to the rail, standing right behind her. Then he takes her two hands and raises them until she is standing with her arms outstretched on each side. Rose is going along with him. When he lowers his hands, her arms stay up... like wings. JACK: 'Okay. Open them.' Rose gasps. There is nothing in her field of vision but water. It's like there is no ship under them at all, just the two of them soaring. The Atlantic unrolls toward her, a hammered copper shield under a dusk sky. There is only the wind, and the hiss of the water 50 feet below. ROSE: 'I'm flying!' She leans forward, arching her back. He puts his hands on her waist to steady her. JACK (singing softly): 'Come Josephine in my flying machine...' Rose closes her eyes, feeling herself floating weightless far above the sea. She smiles dreamily, then leans back, gently pressing her back against his chest. He pushes forward slightly against her. Slowly he raises his hands, arms outstretched, and they meet hers... fingertips gently touching. Then their fingers intertwine. Moving slowly, their fingers caress through and around each other like the bodies of two lovers. Jack tips his face forward into her blowing hair, letting the scent of her wash over him, until his cheek is against her ear. Rose turns her head until her lips are near his. She lowers her arms, turning further, until she finds his mouth with hers. He wraps his arms around her from behind, and they kiss like this with her head turned and tilted back, surrendering to him, to the emotion, to the inevitable. They kiss, slowly and tremulously, and then with building passion. Jack and the ship seem to merge into one force of power and optimism, lifting her, buoying her forward on a magical journey, soaring onward into a night without fear."
Scene 105: "TIGHT ON JACK as his eyes come up to look at her over the top edge of his sketchpad. We have seen this image of him before, in her memory. It is an image she will carry the rest of her life. Despite his nervousness, he draws with sure strokes, and what emerges is the best thing he has ever done. Her pose is languid, her hands beautiful, and her eyes radiate her energy." [In the movie, the first recognizable part of the drawing is her left hand.]
Scene 111: "Rose, fully dressed now, returns to the sitting room. They hear a key in the lock. Rose takes Jack's hand and leads him silently through the bedrooms."
Scene 120: "Jack and Rose enter and run
laughing between the rows of stacked cargo. She hugs herself against
the cold, after the dripping heat of the boiler room. They come upon
William Carter's brand new RENAULT touring car, lashing down to a pallet.
It looks like a royal coach from a fairy tale, its brass trim and headlamps
nicely set off by its deep burgundy color. Rose climbs into the plushly
upholstered back seat, acting very royal. There are cut crystals
bud vases on the walls back there, each containing a rose. Jack jumps
into the driver's seat, enjoying the feel of the leather and wood.
JACK: 'Where to, Miss?' ROSE: 'To the stars.' ON
JACK as her hands come out of the shadows and pull him over the seat into
the back. He lands next to her, and his breath seems loud in the
quiet darkness. He looks at her and she is smiling. It is the
moment of truth. JACK: 'Are you nervous?' ROSE:
'Au contraire, mon cher.' [This line of dialogue was deleted
from the movie.] He strokes her face, cherishing
her. She kisses his artist's fingers. ROSE: 'Put your
hands on me Jack.' He kisses her, and she slides down in the seat
under his welcome weight."
Scene 124: "PUSHING IN on the rear window of the Renault, which is completely fogged up. Rose's hand comes up and slams against the glass for a moment, making a handprint in the veil of condensation. INSIDE THE CAR, Jack's overcoat is like a blanket over them. It stirs and Rose pulls it down. They are huddled under it, intertwined, still mostly clothed. Their faces are flushed and they look at each other wonderingly. She puts her hand on his face, as if making sure he is real. ROSE: 'You're trembling.' JACK: 'It's okay. I'm alright.' He lays his cheek against her chest. JACK: 'I can feel your heart beating.' She hugs his head to her chest, and just holds on for dear life. OLD ROSE (VOICE OVER): 'Well, I wasn't the first teenage girl to get seduced in the backseat of a car, and certainly not the last, by several million. He had such fine hands, artists' hands, but strong too... roughened by work. I remember their touch even now.' [From Jack's second line on ("I can feel your heart beating"), this section was deleted from the movie; however, it reinforces the element of the hands as an integral part of the story.]
Scene 193: "Jack has climbed up on the bench,
and is hugging the water pipe. Rose wades in, holding the axe above
her head. ROSE: 'Will this work?' JACK: 'We'll
find out.' They are both terrified, but trying to keep panic at bay.
He positions the chain connecting the two cuffs, stretching it taut across
the steel pipe. The chain is of course very short, and his exposed
wrists are on either side of it. JACK: 'Try a couple practice
swings.' Rose hefts the axe and thunks it into a wooden cabinet.
JACK: 'Now try to hit the same mark again.' She swings hard
and the blade thunks in four inches from the mark. JACK: 'Okay,
that's enough practice.' He winces, bracing himself as she raises
the axe. She has to hit a target about an inch wide with all the
force she can muster, with his hands on either side. JACK (sounding
calm): 'You can do it, Rose. Hit it as hard as you can. I trust
you.' Jack closes his eyes. So does she. The axe comes down.
K-WHANG! Rose gingerly opens her eyes looks... Jack is grinning with
two separate cuffs."
Scene 221: "LIGHTOLLER: 'Quickly, ladies. Step into the boat. Hurry, please!' JACK: 'Go on. I'll get the next one.' ROSE: 'No. Not without you!' She doesn't even care that Cal is standing right there. He sees the emotion between Jack and Rose and his jaw clenches. But then he leans close to her and says... CAL (low): 'There are boats on the other side that are allowing men in. Jack and I can get off safely. Both of us.' JACK (he smiles reassuringly): 'I'll be alright. Hurry up so we can get going... we got our own boat to catch.' CAL: 'Get in... hurry up, it's almost full.' Lightoller grabs her arm and pulls her toward the boat. She reaches out for Jack and her fingers brush his for a moment. Then she finds herself stepping down into the boat. It's all a rush and blur. LIGHTOLLER: 'Lower away!'"
Scene 222: "ROSE'S PERCEPTION... IN SLOW
MOTION: The ropes going through the pulleys as the seamen start to
lower. All sound going away... Lightoller giving orders, his lips
moving... but Rose hears only the blood pounding in her ears... this cannot
be happening... a rocket bursts above in slow-motion, outlining Jack in
a halo of light... Rose's hair blowing in slow motion as she gazes up at
him, descending away from him... she sees his hand trembling, the tears
at the corners of his eyes, and cannot believe the unbearable pain she
is feeling... Rose is still staring up, tears pouring down her face.
SUDDENLY SHE IS MOVING. She lunges across the women next to her.
Reaches the gunwale, climbing it... Hurls herself out of the boat
to the rail of the A-Deck promenade, catching it, and scrambling over the
rail. The Boat 2 continues down. But Rose is back on Titanic."
Scene 251: "Jack and Rose clamber over the A-Deck aft rail. Then, using all his strength, he lowers her toward the deck below, holding on with one hand. She dangles, then falls. Jack jumps down behind her. They join a crush of people literally clawing and scrambling over each other to get down the narrow stairs to the well deck... the only way aft."
Scene 274: "'JACK: 'We have to move!'
He climbs over the stern rail and reaches back for Rose. She is terrified
to move. He grabs her hand. JACK: 'Come on! I've got you!'
Jack pulls her over the rail. It is the same place he pulled her over the
rail two nights earlier, going the other direction. She gets over
just as the railing is going HORIZONTAL, and the deck VERTICAL. Jack grips
her fiercely. The stern is now straight up in the air... a rumbling
black monolith standing against the stars. It hangs there like that for
a long grace note, its buoyancy stable."
"The final relentless plunge begins as the stern section floods. Looking down a hundred feet to the water, we drop like an elevator with Jack and Rose. JACK (talking fast): 'Take a deep breath and hold it right before we go into the water. The ship will suck us down. Kick for the surface and keep kicking. Don't let go of my hand. We're gonna make it Rose. Trust me." She stares at the water coming up at them, and grips his hand harder. ROSE: 'I trust you.'"
Scene 288: "ROSE: 'I love you, Jack.' He takes her hand. JACK: 'No... don't say your good-byes, Rose. Don't you give up. Don't do it.'"
"JACK: 'You must do me this honor... promise
me you will survive... that you will never give up... no matter what happens...
no matter how hopeless... promise me now, and never let go of that promise.'
ROSE: 'I promise.' JACK: 'Never let go.' ROSE: 'I promise. I will never let go, Jack. I'll never let go.' She grips
his hand and they lie with their heads together. It is quiet now,
except for the lapping of the water."
Scene 291: "IN A HOVERING DOWNANGLE we see Jack and Rose floating in the black water. The stars reflect in the mill pond surface, and the two of them seem to be floating in interstellar space. They are absolutely still. Their hands are locked together. Rose is staring upwards at the canopy of stars wheeling above her. The music is transparent, floating... as the long sleep steals over Rose, and she feels peace."
"Rose lifts her head to turn to Jack. We see that her hair has frozen to the wood under her. ROSE (barely audible): 'Jack.' She touches his shoulder with her free hand. He doesn't respond. Rose gently turns his face toward her. It is rimed with frost. He seems to be sleeping peacefully. But he is not asleep."
Scene 293: "ROSE struggles to move. Her hand, she realizes, is actually frozen to Jack's. She breaths on it, melting the ice a little, and gently unclasps their hands, breaking away a thin tinkling film. ROSE: 'I won't let go. I promise.' She releases him and he sinks into the black water. He seems to fade out like a spirit returning to some immaterial plane."
Scene 310: "THE WRECK OF TITANIC looms like
a ghost out of the dark. It is lit by a kind of moonlight, a light
of the mind. We pass over the endless forecastle deck to the superstructure,
moving faster than subs can move... almost like we are flying. WE
GO INSIDE, and the echoing sound of distant waltz music is heard.
The rust fades away from the walls of the dark corridor and it is transformed...
WE EMERGE onto the grand staircase, lit by glowing chandelier. The
music is vibrant now, and the room is populated by men in tie and tails,
women in gowns. It is exquisitely beautiful. IN POV we sweep
down the staircase. The crowd of beautiful gentlemen and ladies turn
as we descend toward them. At the bottom a man stands with his back
to us... he turns and it is Jack. Smiling he holds his hand out toward
us. IN A SIDE ANGLE Rose goes into his arms, a girl of 17.
The passengers, officers and crew of the RMS Titanic smile and applaud
in the utter silence of the abyss." [This scene was obviously
shot in a reverse angle, Rose going up the staircase instead of down to
Copyright © 1998, 2005, 2009 by John J. Dunne
Last Revised: 28 October 2009
Very special thanks to Jackie Egan Fritsche who provided the idea and did all the research!