Boats of all shapes and sizes sink in films but there is an exclusive genre of movies where luxury liners meet a soggy end. Invariably, due to the nature of these vessels, these motion pictures command large budgets and the latest special effects. One effort, "Raise the Titanic", (1980) almost bankrupted ITC.
The mightiest of them all is of course the impressive 1997 James Cameron film "Titanic". While it's the most expensive, it's certainly not the only film to be made about that tragic ship. In 1996 a lavish US TV movie under the same title was made and starred Catherine Zeta Jones, Peter Gallagher and Eva Marie Saint. It's one of a number of small screen dramas about that liner which includes a German effort in 1984. That unsurprisingly bore no resemblance to the Josef Goebbel's commissioned propaganda film of 1943. The message behind that was that British engineering was shoddy and the characters on the vessel corrupt and incompetent.
The Titanic is a vessel that has captivated the imagination of many filmmakers. Hitchcock was due to direct his own interpretation of the disaster but ended up making "Rebecca" instead. Out of the many films that were produced, the British film "A Night to Remember" (1958), and the US movie "Titanic" (1953), are considered the best in portraying the human drama of that terrible night.
It's an angle that disaster supremo Irwin Allen used. He often pumped his films with stars acting out emotional turmoil while the sets around them disintegrated. "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972) trapped a galaxy of Hollywood actors in a liner that was not only sinking but upside down too. Unfortunately it did not sink in time to prevent the making of an exceptionally unexciting sequel, "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure" (1979), starring Michael Caine.