In the movie Titanic by James Cameron, the popular song Come Josephine in My Flying Machine features twice. As per Wikipedia:

Fragments of the song are sung a cappela in the movie Titanic (1997), early on by the character Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) to Rose and later, while awaiting rescue, by Rose (Kate Winslet); it is also featured in the deleted scene where the characters come back from the Irish party in third class.

Now, I wouldn't have actually paid attention to it but that last scene made some doubts stir. If it actually was nothing more than a light-hearted reference, why did Cameron decide to use it in the most crucial part of the movie's climax?

I think the director decided to use it because of two clear reasons :
1. Initially it was sung by Jack during his time in the ship in Rose's company. It was a happy memory, so chances are that the Rose was holding on to that memory of hers in the darkest of times.
2. Jack died of hypothermia while holding Rose's hand. Its a bit of a stretch but : the lines "up she goes" sung by Rose while looking up at the stars might bear a hint of death, as if someone was being carried into heaven. However, the confusion is - Josephine (feminine form of Joseph) is after all a girl's name. So no way could she be referring to Jack. Also, while Rose is singing the song she has no clue about Jack's death. She tries to wake him up a scene later.

So I don't understand. Why was this song repeated? I know someone like Cameron would have quite obviously did it on purpose. But what was it?

  • I don't have citations, so not an answer, but it's a "shared moment cue", that the audience will subconsciously understand, emotionally if not intellectually. – Tetsujin Jan 16 '18 at 19:37
  • @Tetsujin. Perhaps you are right. It was first used when Rose exclaimed ''Jack! I'm flying'' so probably romantic Jack used the song to court her, as it was related to flight also. So i guess point number 1 has some gravity. However, if someone could explain why Rose sang it at the end : I'd sleep well. – cinebird Jan 17 '18 at 4:33
  • I assumed but never checked that there was some historicity intended here and that the song was a popular hit at the time. But like I said, I never checked to see if that was true. – Todd Wilcox Jan 19 '18 at 20:26
  • By historicity you mean? It was indeed a popular song when titanic sank. The wikipedia page has it all. But i am interested in the directors motive behind using it. Why did Rose sing it? Why? – cinebird Jan 20 '18 at 11:35

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