MovieChat Forums > TitanicĀ (1943) Discussion > Curious casting decisions for this warti...

Curious casting decisions for this wartime propaganda piece...


Being that the film is a work of Nazi propaganda, I was surprised to see two non-Caucasian individuals among the extras. An Asian man is seen prominently among the spectators during Marcia's dance and a black man can briefly be seen in the background when the working class is first informed that the ship's engine has stopped.

While accurate, I found their inclusion in the film quite surprising because I couldn't imagine that they would be sympathetic or supportive of the Nazi cause, nor could I imagine that the Nazis themselves would look favorably upon their inclusion. I'd like to know what went on with those two individuals. Surely they must have had some sort of idea what the film was going to support. Were they individuals who would have done anything for a paycheck? Did they want to be in a film badly enough to be in one made by those who hated them? Was it a case of misguided patriotism for their German homeland? Or could it be that they were not in a position to say no? Again, if that was the case, why would the Nazis themselves want these two in the film?

I'm obviously very unfamiliar with how the Nazi Propaganda Machine worked, but I do know that their views included a fervant disdain for individuals of African descent. Was this an attempt by the Nazis to lie to other nations and say that they weren't as prejudiced as we all know that they were? It's doubtful that there will be any sort of answer which goes beyond mere speculation, but it was surprising to see them in a film like this.

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[deleted]

Using prisoners for extras? That's horrible. There's just no end to the reasons to hate them. Every time I think I've heard the last of their crimes or their offenses, I find some new piece of information which would be reason enough to hate them if I had never heard or read anything else about them. Given who we're talking about, it's not too surprising that something like that would happen, but it's still something I hadn't thought of before.

Thanks for the information. I hope that they were more "struggling actors" and not prisoners. As you said in the other topic, not everyone working on the film was sympathetic toward the Nazi party.

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[deleted]

No, I haven't seen that film yet. This was the first German film I'd seen which was made under the Nazi regime. Just reading about something like that is deeply disturbing. I'm sure it's a very difficult film to try and watch. I'd most likely view it for the historical context if I ever got the chance, but it would be very difficult to watch such individuals being exploited and to such an end as that.

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Yep they used prisoners as extras mainly because they were expendable to the Nazis. There were 3000 casualties in the making of this film, which is double the amount of the real disaster(oh the irony!). They were also constantly bombed during the filming. Don't forget they made this in the middle of WW2 and by that time everybody was on their ass. I also believe they actually sunk the ship for filmmaking purposes, if I remember correctly.

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Ummm.... The casualties were not from the making of the film, but from the bombing of the Cap Arcona two years after this film finished production.

And yes, the deleted posts were from me. I was citing examples of Nazis using concentration camp victims in many UFA melodramas made in the 30s-40s, which is why so many of these films have such an ethnically diverse cast in terms of extras.


"...When they found her, she was still smiling."

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Correction: 3 years after, but they were being bombed during filming as well.

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