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Was Rose actually lying on a door in Titanic? An investigation

It was wood panelling lads.

exhibitC Source: 20th Century Fox

IT’S PERHAPS THE most analysed and debated scene in recent movie history: could Rose and Jack both have survived on that raft in the climactic moments of Titanic?

Watching it, you’d be tempted to think that Jack could have clambered up onto the wood and saved himself from the icy Atlantic – and there have been countless practical examinations into whether they both could have fit.

But, through the decades of this debate, the piece of wood they are lying on is simply and unequivocally referred to as a “door”.

It pops up all the time

room2 Source: @NicoleAnne42

But here’s the thing – and it’s obviously not the most important part of the debate, but something that should be altered on the record forever:

It wasn’t a door. 

Let’s examine the evidence.

When Jack and Rose jump into the water, they swim their way over to some debris lying in the water

exhibitD Source: 20th Century Fox

The first thing you notice when Rose climbs up on it is this huge chunk of wood attached to the bottom that no door in the history of doors has ever had

exhibitE Source: 20th Century Fox

Which can be seen in even greater detail when Jack tries to get on and capsizes it

exhibitA

It’s intricately designed wood – so you can see why people assume it’s a door – but no, no, no. That’s wrong

exhibitF

Jack is clinging on to that bit with a huge additional chunk of wood, on the top there’s another thick section with no visible hinges and then there’s a clear curved section built into the wood as well

exhibitG Source: 20th Century Fox

Not a door, then.

Dig a little deeper and the answer becomes obvious: the debris is most likely a piece of wood panelling from the first-class part of the ship.

James Cameron appeared on Discovery’s Mythbusters back in 2013 to discuss the age-old question of whether both Jack and Rose could have survived on the makeshift raft.

Crucially throughout the show, it was only referred to as “debris” – never a “door”

Source: Discovery Channel Southeast Asia/YouTube

Looking at the actual script itself, the panel was only ever written as “wooden debris” or something similar – surely if it was indeed a door they would have specifically indicated that?

image Source: 20th Century Fox

But for the best hint that it’s not a door, you have to go to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It’s there you will find “the largest fragment to be recovered from the Titanic”.

It’s an interior fragment, which once decorated the over-door to the first-class lounge.

Look familiar?

tumblr_m2nfcb6mlb1rr91rqo1_1280 Source: everythingrmstitanic.tumblr

It’s a famous Titanic artefact and might just have been the inspiration for Rose’s raft in the movie

titanic-fragment Source: thenational

It no doubt came across James Cameron’s eye when he was researching the film.

So next time you say “jesus, there was definitely room on that door for the pair of them”, stop. Think.

And, to answer the broader question: the panel was indeed big enough for both of them but wouldn’t have been able to maintain buoyancy without some life jacket trick that you could hardly expect a hypothermic Jack to think of in the circumstances.

So yes, there was room on the wood panelling, but it still wasn’t enough to save them.

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