Director James Cameron was more concerned with pleasing his audience than being 100% historically accurate with his portrayal of some of the Titanic movies’ most well-known characters and plot lines. At 30 James Street, we thought we’d delve into the movie Titanic facts and fictions and separate the truth from the hearsay.
Movie characters and actual RMS Titanic passengers
The lead characters Jack and Rose (portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) are completely fictional characters and are not based on any two people who were aboard RMS Titanic when the ship sank.
Ida Straus and her husband Isidor were first-class passengers on board the RMS Titanic. Ida refused to board a lifeboat, stating how she simply couldn’t leave her husband and other women and children who she felt should have boarded before she did; she is famous for telling her husband,
“We have lived together for many years. Wherever you go, I go”
After refusing to board, Ida and her husband died hand-in-hand after sitting on deck chairs side by side on the deck of the RMS Titanic. Her husband’s body was discovered, however, her own body was not.
Although the movie has suffered criticism for being historically inaccurate at times, this portrayal of Ida and her husband is correct.
Remember the scene where the famous RMS Titanic band continued to play even after it became apparent that the ship was sinking?
Well, that was true.
Bandmaster and violinist, Wallace Henry Hartley, believed it was for the best that the band continued to play in a noble effort to keep the passengers as calm as possible. Survivors of the ship recall the band playing one last song as the ship went down, “Nearer my God to thee”. The band had 8 members in total, and none of the band survived after going down with the ship.
Including the members of the band, more than 1500 people died out of the 2,240 passengers and crew onboard.
At the end of the movie, Rose Calvert gives a fake name to a person who is taking down a list of survivors. This would explain why we cannot find her name on the lists of those who survived.
Again, although director James Cameron was criticised for putting the entertainment factor ahead of historical accuracy, this is yet another scene in the movie Titanic that is historically accurate.
Upon Officer Lowe’s return to rescue any remaining survivors, a scene in the movie shows a woman and her baby frozen to death by the ice-cold water. Sadly, this was also true. As Officer Lowe returned with a lifeboat to rescue any missing passengers from the wreckage, he discovered the couple frozen to death, the baby cradled in her mother’s arms.
Molly Brown, played in the movie by Kathy Bates, who returns to look for any remaining survivors, was a real woman!
Margaret Brown survived the disaster, and as a result became known affectionately as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”.
For effect or fact?
One of the ending scenes of the movie shows the ship breaking into two parts, which is also historically accurate.
However, despite the dramatic effect achieved in the movie when the lights cut out as the ship tips vertical, RMS Titanic’s lights continued to burn until the whole ship was submerged under water.
As shown in the movie, pieces of the iceberg that ultimately caused the RMS Titanic to founder actually came onto the promenade deck of the ship. Survivors have confirmed this story of the iceberg’s pieces being on thrown onto the ship. Another historically accurate fact from Titanic the movie.
All the scenes from Cameron’s film show the actual RMS Titanic ship leaving port, while on the journey, and sinking, running approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes. This is exactly how long the real RMS Titanic took to sink after being struck by the iceberg. Coincidence?
As depicted in the film, RMS Carpathia did, in fact, rescue the remaining survivors from the sunken RMS Titanic. RMS Carpathia arrived two hours after the ship had sunk, and was able to rescue 705 survivors from the lifeboats.
The Ghost Ships of Titanic
There is a rumour that another two ships were close to the RMS Titanic when the first distress flares were fired. Surviving passengers reported seeing the lights of other vessels in the distance and even though these astonishing facts were unearthed immediately following the sinking of the RMS Titanic, Cameron chose to exclude them from his movie.
The first vessel reported was the SS Californian who had stopped in an ice field close to where the RMS Titanic was struck. Even though there were numerous warning signs to say the RMS Titanic was in distress, the captain of SS Californian never took action to reach the boat.
It is thought that the SS Californian was a mere 5 miles away and could have assisted the RMS Titanic greatly. A fact that Cameron chose to leave out of his movie depicting the great tragedy.
The other vessel, the Samson, which is often referred to as the Titanic ghost ship was said to be even closer than the SS Californian. Tales from members of the crew was that there were sights of flares and many lights in the distance. The supposed reason the Samson did not rush to the aid of RMS Titanic was that it was conducting illegal seal hunting in territorial waters. If found the crew would be prosecuted so instead of responding the Samson crew chose to evade detection by slipping away from the sight of the RMS Titanic into icy waters and heavy fog.
Stay in the story
For fans of the movie Titanic and for those with an interest in the history and mystery behind the true story, 30 James Street Hotel is a real adventure where guests can immerse themselves in the lore that surrounds RMS Titanic.
Our stunning hotel rooms are themed around actual passengers who were onboard Titanic and some of Cameron’s fictional characters. Our Jack and Rose rooms are superb for a romantic night in the city as is the Molly Brown, and Guggenheim Quarters.
Each luxury Liverpool hotel room has been outfitted to replicate the first class accommodation standards from onboard Titanic and gives guests a one of kind hotel experience and a chance to explore a part of the Titanic story.
Call and book your stay at 30 James Street today on 0151 601 8801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Come and explore the facts and fiction surrounding the Titanic movie and learn all about the real history of the Titanic from within the very building that commissioned the vessel to sail.