DECEMBER 19-30

“Titanics”

In honor of James Cameron’s Titanic, a film whose $200-million-plus budget may qualify it as a disaster itself, the American Film Institute is screening three earlier treatments of the great North Atlantic catastrophe. Well, two, actually: The Last Voyage, for which director Andrew Stone actually sank a real ocean liner, is billed as “one of the all-time nerve-shredding white-knuckle flights,” but it’s not literally about the Titanic (pictured, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m., Dec. 21 at 4:15 p.m.). The best known of the three is Roy Baker’s A Night to Remember, which was faithfully adapted by spy novelist Eric Ambler from Walter Lord’s carefully documented book (Dec. 19 at 8:30 p.m., Dec. 20 at 6:30 p.m.). Jean Negulesco’s Titanic concentrates on domestic drama, but puts it all in context with the final cataclysm (Dec. 26 at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 30 at 8:30 p.m.). Curiously, all three of these films were made in a seven-year period, between 1953 and 1960; let’s hope that doesn’t mean Cameron’s movie will start another vogue for the subject. At the Kennedy Center’s American Film Institute Theater. $6.50. (202) 785-4600. (Mark Jenkins)