This 1979 made-for-TV production may have the most intelligent ending of all the films about the sinking of the Titanic. The final scenes show Ian Holm as J. Bruce Ismay, the cowardly, British managing director of the American-owned ship, safe aboard the rescue ship Carpathia -- but nervously pondering his fate back home. The viewer then realizes that survivors of the great sea disaster could also be among the victims. Like other film versions of the Titanic's only voyage, S.O.S. Titanic serves up slices of life of the doomed passengers and crew -- David Janssen plays millionaire John Jacob Astor and Harry Andrews is Captain Edward J. Smith -- as well as of the surviving passengers, including an irrepressible Cloris Leachman as the flamboyant American, Margaret Tobin Brown ("Unsinkable Molly Brown"). Overall, director William Hale's S.O.S. Titanic is an fair melodrama with good special effects. Though not as good as the best Titanic film -- 1958's A Night to Remember -- it is a worthy production that deserves attention.
by Mike Cummings review