Irwin Allen’s hit about a stricken liner was the moment the disaster movie became a viable genre, but even as director Ronald Neame perfects those clichés he’s dismantling them.
Sure, it’s cheesy. Yet it is also a model of narrative efficiency.
The duel between Ernest Borgnine’s sceptic and Gene Hackman’s tyrannical preacher offers a tough interrogation of heroism and leadership.
Released in the wake of Watergate, it has a resonance beyond the usual tragedy-porn.
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