While watching the 1937 operetta that starred Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy - "MAYTIME", I noticed that the story and main characters bore a strong resemblance in story structure to a movie that was released sixty years later . . . namely "TITANIC", which starred Leonardo diCaprio and Kate Winslet. Note the following:
The Comparisons Between "MAYTIME" (1937) and "TITANIC" (1997)
Down Memory Lane
*”MAYTIME” starts with the elderly heroine recounting her experiences as an opera singer in Paris of the 1860s to a young couple.
*”TITANIC” starts with the elderly heroine recounting her experiences as a bride-to-be aboard the S.S. Titanic to her granddaughter and a group of treasure seekers.
*"MAYTIME" was the box office champ of 1937.
*"TITANIC" was the box office champ of 1997/1998.
*The flashback for ”MAYTIME” begins with the heroine – American opera singer Marcia Mornay (Jeanette MacDonald) – in Paris, being accompanied by a possessive mentor Nicolai (John Barrymore).
*The flashback for ”TITANIC” begins with the heroine – American aristocrat Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) – about to board the S.S. Titanic with her possessive fiancé Cal Hockley (Billy Zane) and manipulative mother Ruth DeWitt Bukater (Frances Fisher).
Meeting the Hero
*In ”MAYTIME”, after escaping her mentor’s company, Marcia meets a penniless American singer named Paul Allison (Nelson Eddy) on the streets of Paris. He had been living in Paris for a few years.
*In ”TITANIC”, after escaping her fiancé and mother’s company, Rose tries to commit suicide and eventually meets a penniless American artist named Jack Dawson (Leonardo diCaprio) on one of Titanic’s decks. He had been living in Paris and London for a few years.
The Pleasure of Each Other’s Company
*Marcia and Paul spend an evening singing and dancing at a Paris café with lower-class citizens in ”MAYTIME”.
*Rose and Jack enjoy a night drinking and dancing with the steerage passengers, following a formal dinner in ”TITANIC”.
*Marcia’s mentor, Nicolai, grows increasingly jealous toward Paul in ”MAYTIME”.
*Rose’s finace, Cal, grows increasingly angry and jealous of Rose’s time with Jack in ”TITANIC”
*Marcia and Paul share an intimate bond, while performing together on the opera stage, under the jealous eye of Nicolai in ”MAYTIME”
*Rose and Jack share an intimate bond together, while he draws a nude sketch of her. They later make love. A jealous Cal later finds the drawing in ”TITANIC”.
Death of Hero
*Insane with jealousy, Nicolai later shoots and kills Paul in ”MAYTIME”
*A jealous Cal goes beserk and tries to kill both Rose and Jack. The latter eventually freezes to death in the cold North Atlantic Ocean, after the ship’s sinking in ”TITANIC”.
Death of Heroine
*After the elderly Marcia finishes her story, she dies in ”MAYTIME”. The ghost of her younger self meets with Paul’s ghost and they sing together in the afterlife.
*After the elderly Rose finishes her story, she dies in ”TITANIC”. The ghost of her younger self meets with Jack’s ghost, and the ghosts of Titanic’s dead passengers in the afterlife.
Mind you, the plots of both "MAYTIME" are not exactly like that of "TITANIC". But there are some strong similarities in both characterizations and in story structure that makes me wonder if James Cameron had watched the 1937 musical one too many times.