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Titanic’s much-debated door prop sells for huge sum at auction

Titanic’s much-debated door prop sells for huge sum at auction

The floating piece of wood that helped save the life of Kate Winslet’s Rose in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic has sold at auction for $718,750 (£567,561).

The prop, which is made of balsa wood, was modelled on the door frame above the entrance to the ship’s first class lounge.

Near the climax of the film, Rose and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack cling to it before they realise there is only space for one of them and Jack sacrifices his life for his love.

The scene has been the subject of decades-long debate, with director James Cameron saying in an interview in 2017 that although some fans claim Jack could have fit beside Rose on the makeshift raft, that wouldn’t have made sense for the story.

“The answer is very simple because it says on page 147 [of the script] that Jack dies,” Cameron said. “Very simple.”

Cameron went on to express dismay at being still asked about the moment: “I think it’s all kind of silly, really, that we’re having this discussion 20 years later. But it does show that the film was effective in making Jack so endearing to the audience that it hurts them to see him die.”

Kate Winslet’s Rose lying on the floating door in ‘Titanic’, while Leonardo Di Caprio’s Jack clings to the side (20th Century Fox/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock)
Kate Winslet’s Rose lying on the floating door in ‘Titanic’, while Leonardo Di Caprio’s Jack clings to the side (20th Century Fox/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock)

“Had he lived, the ending of the film would have been meaningless. The film is about death and separation; he had to die. So whether it was that, or whether a smoke stack fell on him, he was going down. It’s called art, things happen for artistic reasons, not for physics reasons.”

Winslet has also spoken out about the debate, saying she was body-shamed over the scene in press coverage at the time.

“Apparently I was too fat,” she told Happy Sad Confused podcast host Josh Horowitz. “Why were they so mean to me? They were so mean. I wasn’t even f***ing fat.”

With reference to these derogatory comments made about her by the tabloids, Winslet said she would have responded to the coverage differently today “if I could turn back the clock”.

She explained: “I would have said to journalists, I would have responded, I would have said, ‘Don’t you dare treat me like this. I’m a young woman, my body is changing, I’m figuring it out, I’m deeply insecure, I’m terrified, don’t make this any harder than it already is.’

“That’s bullying, you know, and actually borderline abusive, I would say.”

Other notable sales at Heritage Auctions’ “Treasures from Planet Hollywood” event included Indiana Jones’s bullwhip from The Temple of Doom which sold for $525,000 (£414,717), Jack Nicholson’s axe from The Shining which fetched $125,000 (£98,743) and the modified can of shaving cream that Wayne Knight uses to smuggle dinosaur embryos out of Jurassic Park which went for $250,000 (£197,451).