It seems that, despite his attention to detail in recreating the ill-fated liner, Titanic helmer James Cameron still needs a history lesson.
Several of the scenes in the meticulously researched film don't jibe with reality. Among the inaccuracies: Steerage passengers weren't locked below decks. The band didn't really play "Ne'er My God To Thee" while the ship sank. Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack Dawson claimed to ice-fish in a lake that didn't exist until years after the Titanic went down. Kate Winslet engages in such anachronistic behavior as smoking and flipping someone the bird. But one of the greatest injustices, some say, is the depiction of first officer William Murdoch.
In the film, Murdoch takes a bribe and loses his cool as he tries to load passengers on the life boats, ultimately turning his gun on himself after shooting several unruly third-classers.
That portrayal differs dramatically from how Murdoch is remembered in Dalbeattie, Scotland. He's a local hero there, and historical records indicate Murdoch selflessly loaded life boats until all of them were gone, then tossed as many floatable objects into the water as he could find to help those already overboard.
Finally, in one last unselfish act, he gave his life jacket to another passenger and drowned when the boat went under.
Well, Murdoch's friends, family and fans received some satisfaction this week when 20th Century Fox executive vice president Scott Neeson admitted the film's character portrayal of the crewman was not accurate.
Stopping short of issuing a formal apology, Neeson said, "There is no irrefutable link" between the movie character and the real guy. He also pledged $8,000 to a Murdoch memorial fund. He'll make the donation April 15.