Two years after 20th Century Fox released its melodramatic disaster film Titanic in 1953, Walter Lord's meticulously researched book A Night to Remember surprised its publishers by becoming a phenomenal bestseller. Lord had an intuition that readers craved the reality of the Titanic disaster and not the romantically mythologised translations (like Fox's film, starring Barbara Stanwyck), which relied on fictional characters to "enhance" the world's worst maritime disaster. Lord's book proved that the truth was far more compelling than fiction, outlining the many "if... onlys" (if only the iceberg had been spotted a few minutes earlier, etc.) that lent sombre irony to the loss of 1,500 Titanic passengers. Three years after Lord's book appeared, it was brought to the screen with the kind of riveting authenticity that Lord had insisted upon in his own research. The 1958 British production of A Night to Remember remains a definitive dramatization of the disaster, adhering to the known facts of the time and achieving a documentary-like immediacy that matches (and in some ways surpasses) the James Cameron epic released 39 years later. The film erroneously perpetuates the once-common belief that the Titanic sunk in one piece (instead of breaking in half as its bow began to plunge), but many other misconceptions are accurately corrected, and the intelligent screenplay by thriller master Eric Ambler is a model of factual suspense. By making Titanic the star of the film, director Roy Baker emphasises the excessive confidence of the booming industrial age and creates an intense you-are-there realism that pays tribute to Walter Lord's tenacious quest for truth. --Jeff Shannon [show more]
This film is the most faithful version of the events that took place that fateful night and makes "Titanic" (1997) a very disappointing and exceedingly long-winded Holywoodised version by comparison.
"A Night to Remember" was made as accuratley as possible, using Walter Lord's book of the same name as the template and the result is a moving story of the Titanic's fateful maiden voyage back in April 1912.
Made when there were no computer generated special effects, this film still manages to put accross great realism through plenty of solid performances by its British stars (Kenneth More, Honor Blackman, Michael Goodliffe, David McCallum, Lawrence Naismith, amongst others), some very touching and heartrending moments and an escalating feeling of frustration at the sheer hopelessness and scale of the event as it unfolds before your eyes, all of which adds up to a mesmerising film experience. The authenticity of the ship"s interior and set designs adds to the convincing portrayal.
This film won a Golden Globe in 1959 for "Best English Language Foreign Film", but,amazingly, no BAFTA!
As an aside, the Producer of the film actually saw the launching of the Titanic when a young boy.
On this particular DVD there is also an engrossing hour long documentary on the making of "A Night to Remember", so it repesents particularly good value for money.
Makes a great addition to those collecting British Classics, especially as this film (made in 1958) has not, as yet, been bettered!
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Classic documentary drama based on Walter Lord's book about the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Told from the perspective of Second Officer Charles Lightoller (Kenneth More), the story follows the supposedly 'unsinkable' ship as she embarks on her maiden voyage and ultimately founders in the North Atlantic Ocean. The ship leaves port and soon Captain Smith (Laurence Naismith) is given several ice warnings but decides not to decrease the Titanic's speed. When the ship hits an iceberg late at night on April 14th the situation looks bleak, especially with the realisation that there are not enough lifeboats to carry all on board. The Titanic's distress call is received by the Carpathia but she is four hours away and unlikely to reach the ship before it sinks. Chaos breaks out both above and below deck as the passengers and crew race against time for their survival.
Directed by Hammer horror director Baker, this is another version of the tale of the doomed maiden voyage of the Titanic, told in a semi-documentary style through the eyes of the ship's second officer, Herbert Lightoller, whose duties provided him with a unique perspective of the everyday goings-on aboard the huge ocean liner. An excellent cast (selected for their resemblances to photos of the real passengers) conveys the courage, greed, fear, hope and despair of the real-life passengers. Based on the novel by Walter Lord.