The story of the 1912 sinking of the largest luxury liner ever built, the tragedy that befell over two thousand of the rich and famous as well as of the poor and unknown passengers aboard the doomed ship.
George C. Scott,
A successful attempt at an even-handed portrayal of the White Star Line's (later part of Cunard) luxury liner R.M.S. Titanic's sinking from the standpoint of 2nd Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller, himself the most senior of the ill-fated ship's Deck Officers to survive the disaster. (Lightoller later went on to distinguish himself as a line British Naval Officer during the First World War and served as a Senior Naval Staff Officer (convoys) during WWII. Between wars he owned and operated a successful family business producing pleasure craft.) His own survival of the sinking, along with several others, is shown atop one of the liner's two "collapsible" lifeboats which was capsized in floating off the liner as it sank. The picture depicts then known facts (c1958) as reported after the sinking; such as the woeful lack of adequate lifeboats, the ship's band playing true to the very end, White Star's co-owner Bruce Ismay's somewhat less than chivalrous departure from the sinking vessel -... Written by
The Shaw Savill Shipping Line agreed to allow exterior scenes to be taken on one of their ships, MV Dominion Monarch but shortly before filming was to begin, permission was withdrawn. The matter had come to the attention of the chairman of the line, Basil Sanderson. He was the son of Harold Sanderson, who had been the chairman of the White Star Line from 1913 to 1927 and was himself married to the daughter of J. Bruce Ismay. He did not want the matter reopened. Neither did the rest of the shipping companies, all of which refused co-operation. This led to the decision by Sir Frederick Rebbeck, chairman of Harland and Wolff, to also refuse any co-operation. The company issued a statement deploring the fact that a film company was seeking to make money out of the tragedy: "Too many people from the shipyard lost their lives that night and too many others as well. Why should we help to make an entertainment out of it." Producer William MacQuitty managed to get permission from the firm of Ship Breaking Industries to film on an old steamship, RMS Asturias, which was waiting to be broken up. It was repainted in the White Star Line colors by art students. See more »
The film is set in 1912, yet a passenger on deck in a life jacket clearly has a 1950s (Tommy Steele) style haircut. See more »
Including the very first movie that dealt with the Titanic disaster, SAVED FROM THE TITANIC (1912) starring Dorothy Gibson, an actual survivor who wore the same outfit in the movie that she had on that fateful night just a few months earlier, there have been TEN movies made covering the sinking, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, based on Walter Lords' ultimate reference work of the same name, was the 6th. The film has no equal! For those who are interested, the other nine ARE chronologically:
TITANIC (1915) TITANIC: DISASTER IN THE ATLANTIC (1929) TITANIC (1943) TITANIC (1953) A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (1958) SOS TITANIC (1979) TITANIC (1984) TITANIC (1996) TITANIC (1997)
The REASON that A NIGHT TO REMEMBER excels, is that it is a straight up docudrama of the event. Historical accuracy (lets forget the "split,"... although actually "suggested" by a few eye-witnesses at the time, it was believed the ship had foundered intact) was observed, the main characters were vastly better portrayed than in later films and the "scale" of the disaster far more keenly felt, for all James Cameron's $180 million! Kenneth More made an unimprovable-upon Captain Lightoller and Laurence Naismith simply WAS Captain Smith. (The less said about Bernard Hill's loopy characterization in Cameron's epic, the better!) Those who wish to compare multi million dollar digitization to that which was available in 1958 need to get REAL and for all that money, and exciting as Cameron's was - it just didn't either LOOK or feel anything more than, well...a massive film-set! The 1958 version went to the heart of the tragedy...and took the viewer with them. A NIGHT TO REMEMBER will remain a tribute...THE tribute to that night of madness. Little things, David McCallum fighting for his life-vest, Michael Goodliffe as Thomas Andrews - dignity personified waiting for his last moments, the drunken cook - they were all worth more than $100 million dollars worth of fx! You can't BUY credibility. This could never have been an American tale - it didn't work with the 1953 Barbara Stanwyck version and it didn't ring true for Cameron (good though it was as a movie rather than as the tragedy!) Did anyone notice dear old "Q" (Desmond Llewelyn) below decks and old Brit-turned-Aussie favorite Stuart Wagstaff, as a steward in Steerage?
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