A Night to Remember: Decadence of The Titanic Essay

A Night to Remember: Decadence of The Titanic Essay

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The Soap ad in the 1958 film A Night to Remember is one of the first implications of social class that is illustrated throughout the entire film. It begins by first introducing the viewer to the middle class hero, Lightoller and his view of the class system of 1912 where he mocks the discrepancy of class aboard the Titanic amongst the elites and the lower class passengers (Bruce). And despite this, the advertisement seems to better illustrate the idea of decadence that is found on the ship. As already noted, the scene seems to mock the elite class as Lightoller states that the soap is “for the first-class passengers, mark you. The rest don’t wash” (A Night to Remember). It is here, that class is clearly evident through the reaction of the other couple that is present in the train cart. The uptight, upper class asks if Lightoller is a foreigner or a radical and defend their positions against the lower class. They belittle him, judged him and do not humor him until they to find out that he is second in command to the Titanic (A Night to Remember). It is clear that the couple is the epitome of the upper class. The way there are dressed, their mannerism and the way they look down on others displays their lifestyle and their general depiction that they have lived a wealthy and decadent life. And this is clearly translated unto the ad and the Titanic itself.
The Soap advertisement is a mocking item to the middle class. Upon closer analysis of the poster, it highlights in bold, black letters “Toilet luxury and comfort at sea”. This demonstrates the social comforts of the upper class. In Howell’s article, “Atlantic Crossings: Nation, Class and Identity in Titanic (1953) and A Night to Remember (1958)”, he notes that the Titanic is fundame...


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...r, the luxury embellishment of the Titanic is no laughing matter to the other characters that are present on the train. The contrast here is clearly evident through their reactions to the poster and the mockery of it that it clearly highlights the idea of social class. Decadence in the film clearly distinguishes the upper and lower class.



Works Cited

A Night to Remember. Dir. Roy Baker. Perf. Kenneth More, Honor Blackman, Michael Goodliffe, David McCallum, and Laurence Naismith. The Criterion Collection, 1958. Film.
Bruce, Barbara. FILM 2194B:Cinemas of Disaster Notes. London, ON: University or Western. 2011. Lecture Notes.
Howells, Richard. “Atlantic Crossings: Nation, Class and Identity in Titanic (1953) and A Night to Remember (1958).” Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 19.4 (1999): 421-38. ProQuest Direct Complete. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.

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