6.3/10
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S.O.S. Titanic (1979)

On its maiden voyage in April 1912, the supposedly unsinkable R.M.S. Titanic hits an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean.

Director:

William Hale (as Billy Hale)

Writer:

James Costigan
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry Andrews ... Capt. Edward J. Smith
David Battley ... Chief Boots: S. Stebbing
Ed Bishop ... Henry Harris
Tony Caunter Tony Caunter ... Chief Officer: Henry Wilde
Nicholas Davies Nicholas Davies ... Lift Attendant: Alfie King
Matthew Guinness Matthew Guinness ... Catholic Priest: Father Byles
Jerry Houser ... Dan Marvin
David Janssen ... John Jacob Astor
Victor Langley Victor Langley ... Band Leader: Wallace Hartley
Gerard McSorley ... Martin Gallagher
John Moffatt ... Benjamin Guggenheim
Aubrey Morris ... Steward: John Hart
Nancy Nevinson ... Ida Straus
Philip O'Sullivan ... David Charters
Robert Pugh ... James Farrell
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Storyline

On April 14, 1912, R.M.S. Titanic struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage. Over one thousand five hundred people were lost. This docudrama follows the personal stories of some of the passengers and crew aboard on that fateful night. John Jacob Astor (David Janssen) and his new bride Madeline (Beverly Ross), Laurence Beesley (David Warner), Molly Brown (Cloris Leachman), a group of Irish emigrants, the wireless operators, and the stewards are among the characters. Written by Jim Sadur <jsadur@keyflux.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The night the impossible happened...The event that shook the world.

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Timothy Spall, who played Jim, had his performance deleted in post-production. See more »

Goofs

Chief Officer Henry Wilde is correctly shown sitting down writing a letter to his sister and the letter was posted from Queenstown Ireland the Titanic's last land stop. But the words Wilde is writing are lifted sentences written years later by 2nd Officer Charles Lightoller. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
J. Bruce Ismay: Her name, like everything about her, gave promise of something mighty and splendid. They called her Titanic. She was the longest, the tallest, the most luxurious ship in all creation.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue:

The following dramatization is based on factual and personal accounts which were researched and adapted for the telling of the story of the sinking of the Titanic in dramatic form.

Identifiable characters are drawn from actual persons and fictitious names were given to certain characters who existed but whose actual names remain unknown. See more »

Alternate Versions

The movie was originally released in two versions. A 140 minute version told in flashback fashion was shown on American TV, and a 109 minute version shown in European theaters. This is the version available on DVD & VHS See more »

Connections

Version of Titanic (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Rule Britannia
(uncredited)
Poem by James Thomson (1700-1748)
Music by Thomas Augustine Arne (as Thomas Arne) (1710-1778)
(Heard when the Titanic casts off from Southampton)
See more »

User Reviews

An ambitious & intelligent film
1 March 2004 | by zpzjonesSee all my reviews

This is an intelligent mans' version of the Titanic tragedy & possibly my favorite film on the disaster. An ambitious production, it was filmed in England, Nova Scotia & Long Beach. It has the distinction of being the first Titanic movie filmed in color albeit for television. Contrary to previous posts it does not, to my knowledge, use recycled(colorized)footage from A Night To Remember. Bothe films use the newsreel footage of the original Queen Elizabeth being launched as a stand in for Titanic. If this had been made for the big screen it probably would've been better received as well as being better known today. The movie is based primarily on a book by 2nd Class pasenger/survivor Lawrence Beasley. Beasley's book came out in June 1912 only two months after the real disaster. So his recollections, such as getting into a lifeboat with his pajamas on, was still quite fresh and not diluted by forty or fifty years of time. Beesley is played here by David Warner who was the bodyguard Spicer in the Cameron-Titanic film. The film makers shot the picture in a sort of muted colors. that is to say what would be the opposite of splashy Technicolor. The 3rd Class gets the good treatment in this film. the scenes showing the Irish immigrants being ferried out to the liner are well done. Also the Phun Boats that marketed over priced Irish goods to wealthy ocean liner passengers. Beasley & his female consort Leigh Goodwin stand in for the generic 2nd Class passengers...adding to our consciousness the plights of the haves(1st Class)& the have nots(3rd Class). Some characterizations stand out: Maurice Roeves as stoker Fred Barrett, Geoffrey Whitehead as Thomas Andrews(he favors the real Andrews), Ian Holm as the best Bruce Ismay of any of the Titanic movies, Chloris Leachman as Molly Brown, David Janssen & Beverly Ross as the Astors, Harry Andrews as Captain Smith, Susan Saint James as a dignified Leigh Goodwin & D.Warner as a very thoughtful Lawrence Beasley. Exterior shots of the Queen Mary in Long Bch are obvious but it never hampens the story. It's just good film making to make the QM look like the Titanic. The soundtrack is excellent, mixed with elegant tunes from the period, from Victor Herbert to Scott Joplin as well as the film's original score. Particularly nice is the middle eastern theme playing while the women get a massage & their hair done as well as many other themes. Characters are included in this film that are left out in others ie: Leigh Goodwin, the two boot cleaners, Alvie the elevator boy, 1st Class stewardess Violet Jessop, Fred Barrett, Rene Harris etc. The film is wonderfully paced & takes it's time. The full uncut version(with Carpathia rescue at beginning)can run on t.v. for 3hrs. This is the version I'd recommend not the cut 90 min home vid version. There are long scenes of passengers going about their business like the elderly lady just sitting in her deck chair enjoying the excitement. This most likely was 1st Class passenger Emily Ryerson because the actress is made up to look just like a photo of Ryerson. The sinking of the ship is handled very well & shot from many of the passengers' points of view. There's no ship shown breaking in half as this was 1978 and before the wreck of the real ship was found. But the producers couldn't have been far off from the truth the way it is presented her.

Discrepancies abound as in every Titanic film. Violet Jessop while included here is shown as an old woman stewardess, not the young 25 yr old w/artist model looks that she was in 1912. Chief Officer,who drowned, is accurately shown writing a letter to his sister which he did but the film shows him writing words that 1st Officer Lighttoller had written in his own account of the sinking years later. And as stated earlier the QM is so obviously not the Titanic. Also the crew of the Carpathia are shown making rescue preparations at the site of the sinking instead of enroute to it.

So sit back and enjoy the Titanic tragedy events re-enacted sumptuously. Like I stated, it's a well mae & ambitious production intended for television at that. It gets a 9 out of 10 from me.


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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 September 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

S.O.S. Titanic See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

EMI Films, Argonaut Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color | Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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