The SS United States may be America's Flagship, but she has always been a true global icon — her graceful lines, record-breaking speed and engineering prowess are appreciated worldwide to this day.
The Big U recently demonstrated her enduring international appeal with a moving feature in the documentary series "Paradis de rouille" (Rust Paradise) by French director Thierry Berrod of Mona Lisa Productions. The episode, with a focus on relics of rail and sea travel, initially aired on the Franco-German television network ARTE this September.
With stunning drone and time-lapse footage of the ship at her Philadelphia berth, as well as compelling testimonies by Conservancy Executive Director Susan Gibbs and vessel caretaker Michael Wolfe, this clip is not to be missed.
Watch the full episode below — or skip to 26:15 for the SS United States' first appearance! Don't forget to turn on the subtitles, "en Anglais."
"Rust Paradise — Maritime and Railway Remains"
The episode of "Paradis de rouille" featuring the SS United States explores how, beyond their surface decay and decomposition, aging vessels and machines become "at the same time sanctuaries for wild fauna, sites of historical testimony and even works of art." The series' description reads:
"Everywhere in the world, our old and abandoned vehicles are falling into the wild, becoming rust cemeteries. The same goes for the buildings and ghost towns that merge with the surrounding flora and fauna. But these places are also appreciated by lovers of cultural heritage of all kinds, as well as artists in search of inspiration.
While the SS United States may have a weather-worn appearance at her Philadelphia pier, the ship remains in remarkable physical condition thanks to regular inspections and careful maintenance by the Conservancy and our partners.
Designed under the supervision of the Pentagon, the Big U was over-engineered, making her exceptionally sturdy — comparable to a battleship. Extensive engineering surveys both above and below the waterline have confirmed that America's Flagship is fully structurally sound, capable of being moved and supporting redevelopment for a wide range of exciting uses!
The SS United States has been a cultural icon since her maiden voyage in 1952. Today, she remains an international media sensation as the Conservancy, with your crucial support, fights to rescue and revitalize this irreplaceable vessel.
CLICK HERE to watch a recent piece by Fox News highlighting the urgent need to save America's Flagship, or HERE to check out a clip from the award-winning 2008 American Public Television documentary "SS United States: Lady in Waiting."
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