Ty Burr
January 09, 1998 AT 05:00 AM EST

All sorts of flotsam is being sucked into the whirlpool around James Cameron’s big-screen disaster flick—and this hour-long British documentary deserves to sink. Eschewing human tragedy in favor of mind-numbing statistics (the White Star Line dock at Southhampton, we learn here, was 1,700 feet long), Titanic trots out lithographs, unspecified film footage, and one dear old survivor who lectures the filmmakers like a cross auntie. National Geographic’s Secrets of the Titanic Collector’s Edition tape, released earlier this year and conveying the horrid awe of the event through solid historical materials and modern footage of the wreck, is the far better rental. Emotionally, this one’s an iceberg. D

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