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The RMS Titanic, known as the “unsinkable” ship, tragically went down in the middle of the ocean, leaving many to freeze in the icy waters. The boat may not have been unsinkable, but it was still the most extravagant adventure of the time. However, for the story to completely captivate viewers, the movie makers believed the story still needed a bit of a twist. This twist came in the form of a love affair between Jack and Rose, two complete opposites. The producers of the film Titanic strictly followed the historical details of the disaster to educate the audience while modifying class interactions and passenger entertainment for dramatic effect.
In the 1997 edition of Titanic, the producers adjusted the organization of classes on the ship, allowing Jack and Rose’s relationship to develop. With this adaptation, passengers had free range of the ship, not being restricted or having limited social interaction. One example of this was when Jack and Rose met. The duo first made acquaintance in the back of the ship, looking out over the motors. However, according to known class regulations, third class passengers were permitted to be “in their living quarters or in the small area of the poop deck they were allowed to use,” (Kiger). As this states, the third class passengers, such as Jack, were allowed to be in the area with view of the motors, where Rose would not. A second example of Jack’s free-range on this ship is when he accompanies Rose to her dinner, surrounded by the elite and prestigious. Jack hadn’t even had his own tux to wear, meaning that it was not presumed that people of his social status would attend these dinners. In reality, this romantic evening between Jack and Rose would not have been authorized. When entering the ship, third class passengers had “different entrances to get on and off the ship,” (Brewster and Coulter) in which they would be checked for lice and other illnesses. Although, this procedure was not required for the upper classes. Because people of Jack’s status were stereotyped as dirty, his dining with the prestigious would not be acceptable. As great as these moments were for the development of Jack and Rose’s relationship, history shows that they would have not been possible. Because of this, the directors made the deliberate decision to alter these aspects to create one of the best love stories of the time.
To go along with the budding relationship, the directors felt as though a change in ship entertainment was needed, such as ballroom dancing and parties below deck. The film consisted of extravagant parties of the upper class, including a large ball room. This room was described “like a ball room at the palace, alive and lit by a constellation of chandeliers, full of elegantly dressed people and beautiful music..,” (The Titanic). As enjoyable as such party would be, it was found that there was no such room among the ship. Along with this, there were impromptu parties hosted by the third class, which they wouldn’t realistically have the space for. Jack dragged Rose to enjoy “an ad hoc band gathered near the upright piano, honking out lively stomping music on fiddle, accordion and tambourine. People of all ages are dancing, drinking beer and wine, smoking, laughing, even brawling,” (The Titanic). However, as mentioned before, the third class citizens were only allowed in their living quarters and the small area of the poop deck (Kiger). Thus, there was no room in which Jack could enjoy a party. Although, the lack of these parties did not limit the grandness of the Titanic. One option “for First Class passengers concerned with physical fitness, the Titanic also offered first-rate exercise facilities,” (Kiger 1). Many people at this time had not had access to such equipment in normal standards, let alone on an eminent ship. Another choice “for less energetic passengers” was in a form of music as “the ship’s orchestra played background music..,” (National Museums Northern Ireland, 1). Sadly, the lower class passengers were left to find their own entertainment, and exciting parties were not an option. Seeing that there would have been no recreation for Jack on the ship, the producers of The Titanic tweaked his forms or amusement to add excitement to the film.
While the sinking of the RMS Titanic was terribly tragic, its portrayal in the film was quite right. The directors kept the disaster accurate in attempts to inform viewers.
In the movie, the directors stuck to the facts while still emphasizing how passengers of all social statuses were affected by the stress. One example is when watchers view a third class mother put her children to bed, as she believe there was no hope of surviving (The Titanic). This is also seen when the directors showed several different views of people rushing to lifeboats, jumping off the ship before in panic, and clinging on to whatever they could for dear life.
In comparison, on the real Titanic, “many passengers were reluctant to leave the “unsinkable” ship, thinking that it was safer to stay onboard, rather than risk going on the lifeboats” (National Museums Northern Ireland, 3). In both cases, the fear within the passengers is evident, and the stressful situation clearly led to drastic decisions. A second accurately displayed scene was the sinking of the ship. Though it seemed as if the boat flooded quickly in the film, it remain precise. Passengers on the true ship had about 10 minutes to get to safety, because “within 10 minutes the ship’s five forward compartments were flooded to a height of 14 feet above the keel” (National Museums Northern Ireland, 3).
The entirety of the passengers’ lives changed in a drastic span of only ten minutes. By keeping these facts accurate, the makers of The Titanic successfully informed viewers of the appalling events while still leaving Jack and Rose’s relationship as a focal point. This conscious decision created dramatical effect for entertainment of their audience, but did not dull the horrendousness of the crash.
By slightly bending the facts about the RMS Titanic, a movie was produced that will captivate the audience with a tragic love story while informing them of the devastating events that occurred. The deliberate focus on Jack and Rose produced one of the most known love stories of the time, while the sinking of the ship became the most tragic event of the time. By using a factual yet romantic combination, directors enticed the audience with chaotic relationships and a tragic tale of a sinking ship. The movie not only displays the historical timeline of the Titanic, but the impact it had on families, and the world.
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