(Review originally written at 7 November 2009)
With all the different Titanic versions out there, this is still the one to beat. Even though it doesn't use any fancy effects or other expensive stuff the movie still manages to tell a dramatic story effectively better than any other Titanic movie.
What this movie does well is that it doesn't pick a main character. It allows the story to be told from multiple different angles, with different characters at different settings. Because of this the movie can almost be seen as a documentary like telling of the events that led up to the sinking of the Titanic and the actual sinking and its aftermath. Because of this this movie has also been always regarded as the one that tells the 'true' story of the Titanic. This not in the least also due to the involvement with this movie of many survivors of the actual disaster.
The movie also doesn't waste a lot of time. The sinking already begins before the halve way point of the movie. There is little room for dramatization or character building. This is something that works well for the overall realism and later chaos of the movie.
The sinking itself, as you would expect, forms the best part of the movie. It also seems that it isn't until then that we start to know the different characters of the movie. It's really done impressively, also especially when you're considering that this movie at the time only cost an estimated $1,680,000 to make, which even at the time wasn't a lot of money for a movie of this scale.
It's a surprisingly classy movie from director Roy Ward Baker, the man who I know best for directing some of the late Hammer Production movies. Movies which aren't exactly known for their class.