Iconic Hollywood Journals
Hollywood films seem to love using a universal prop when it comes to their storytelling techniques: the ever-mysterious journal. It holds the clues to a crack a case, the darkest secrets of someone you thought you knew, or an autobiography of someone who passed away. The presence of journals during a movie can bring everyone to the edge of their seats, making the audience wonder how it will impact a story. And usually, it's one of the best props that often means a big deal to the plot.
The thing about journals is that they're so relatable because many people own one in real life. Here at Hope House Press, we've previously mentioned that journals are the best place to write almost anything down, from the mundane to the extraordinary. It's like a treasure chest bearing your life's highlights, and it's completely your own.
Here are just some of the journals that have made their way to the big screen.
1. Rose DeWitt Bukater's journal in Titanic
One of the most heartbreaking love stories ever told based on the actual sinking of the RMS Titanic, Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater's relationship was captivating for a lot of people. But before the two even became an item, we got to see Rose scribbling in her journal, which is also in sync with her narration throughout some parts of the film. This established Rose as the protagonist, alongside the fact that the movie opens with a much older version of her.
Rose's character in Titanic is truly iconic, and a lot of it has to do with Kate Winslet's epic performance. Winslet revealed in an inspiring talk for WEDay at Wembley that it was the role which changed her life. True enough, everything related to the movie is still of utmost value up to this day. Though Rose's journal hasn’t appeared at auction, plenty of memorabilia from the 1997 film is up for sale on the internet. For instance, a stained glass used on the ship sold for over £9,000 in 2015!
2. Allie and Noah's relationship journal from The Notebook.
When Allie learned about her dementia, she feared that she would eventually forget about everything she and Noah shared in their relationship. This is what led her to pen "The Story of Our Lives," a handwritten account of their relationship, which she gave to Noah to read to her when she would start to forget. Though Allie would seem to recognise her own story sometimes, her illness got worse, but Noah still persisted. Needless to say, this journal is a crucial part of the plot. Perhaps that's why it was chosen by Nicholas Sparks as the title for his novel, which was the basis for the movie. The revelation of Allie in a hospice and Noah still doing everything he can to care for his one true love instantly brings everyone to tears.
The actual prop used for the movie was auctioned by The Prop Store Live Auction in partnership with ODEON and BFI IMAX. It was valued at £2,000-3,000 in 2015.
3. The Burn Book from Mean Girls.
The 2004 comedy is still very much quotable until now, and the humongous pink Burn Book is still celebrated, too. Though awfully scrapbook-like, it was filled with a lot of hurtful comments and campus secrets documented by Regina George and the Plastics. Towards the end of the film, Regina framed Cady Heron claiming he was responsible for making it.
Director Mark Waters divulged that the Burn Book was actually critical to the movie's rating. Lots of lines were revealed during the prop's debut on the movie, and the movie screening board had the writers adjust one of the mean comments to the students; otherwise the movie would not have been released. It's been immortalised through mass-produced notebooks, key chains, stickers, and even a makeup collection.
4. Tom Bertram's sketchbook in Mansfield Park.
There was a scene in this 1999 British rom-com where Fanny O'Connor was nursing Tom Bertram back to health and she uncovers Tom's journal. It contained graphic depictions of the treatment of Bertram's slaves on the plantation. The sketches were really well done and exposed a pressing issue in the movie's timeline, as was Fanny's reaction to it. The movie was based on Jane Austen's book of the same name, which she purposefully included themes of slavery back in her time. Though the film didn't completely follow through all the parts of the book, that moment where the topic of slavery was introduced in the film became a crucial scene.
The original item with all the appalling sketches is for sale online at Prop Store with a £549 price tag.