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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for A Night to Remember can be found here.
Charles Herbert 'Bertie' Lightoller (Kenneth More) joins the HMS Titanic in Belfast, Ireland on her 1912 maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to New York, eagerly looking forward to his position as second officer on the luxury liner being hailed as 'unsinkable'. However, just before midnight on the night of 15 April, the unthinkable happens. The ship hits an iceberg and suffers irreparable damage, giving passengers and crew just over 2-1/2 hours to abandon the sinking vessel.
The film was adapted by British author Eric Ambler from A Night to Remember (1955), a non-fiction account of the ill-fated 1912 maiden voyage of RMS Titanic by American author Walter Lord.
The sinking of the British luxury liner RMS Titanic is, indeed, a true event. Both the book and the movie have long been regarded by Titanic historians and survivors for their accuracy. At the age of nine, Walter Lord, author of the book, traveled across the Atlantic Ocean on the RMS Olympic, one of the White Star Line's two sister ships to the Titanic (the other being the RMS Britannic) and was impressed by its size and the tragic fate of its sister. In writing the book, Lord tracked down 63 Titanic survivors to get their stories. Producer William MacQuitty who, as a boy of six, watched the Titanic set out from Belfast, used blueprints of the ship to create accurate sets. Titanic fourth officer Joseph Boxhall and Cunard ex-Commodore Harry Grattidge, O.B.E. both worked as technical advisers on the film. All attempts were made to produce a film as accurate as possible given what was then known about the tragedy before contradictory information (e.g., the fact that the Titanic split in two) was obtained when the wreck of the ship was finally discovered 12,000 feet (2.27 miles, 3,657 meters) below the surface in September 1985.
The night watch crew is warned to watch for small ice and 'growlers'. A growler is a small iceberg with very little showing above the water. A growler can prove to be a navigational hazard to ships, since only one-ninth of the iceberg's volume is actually seen above the water. A photo of the iceberg/growler that was suspected of sinking the Titanic can be seen here.
At the time of the Titanic disaster, steering orders were still given in concurrence with an old tradition. Early ships were steered with an oar and then later with a tiller that would control the rudder. In order to turn to starboard (to the right) you would turn the tiller to port (to the left) and vice versa. So if an officer said 'hard-to-starboard', that meant turn the tiller to starboard and the ship would go to port. During the early 18th century, the wheel was introduced. Now, turning the wheel to port would steer the ship to port, but the old orders stayed the same - i.e., if an officer said 'hard to starboard' (as in the movie), the helmsman would turn to port; in essence the helmsman had to turn in the opposite direction to what the officer had said. Confusing? Yes, but this was finally corrected in Britain on January 1st, 1933 when hard-to-port finally meant 'turn to port' and hard-to-starboard finally meant 'turn to starboard'.
Survivors in the lifeboats and water watch incredulously as the Titanic sinks under the surface, leaving them utterly alone in the dark waters. Molly Brown (Tucker McGuire) demands that their lifeboat, which has extra room, return to pick up passengers struggling in the icy water. Boats with extra room line up to merge passengers and send the emptier boats back to do the same. Other lifeboats beat swimmers off in fear that they will capsize their boats. Lightoller, as senior surviving officer since Captain Smith (Laurence Naismith) went down with the ship, takes control of the overturned collapsible lifeboat, organizing the hangers-on who were previously in the everyone-to-himself mode. Suddenly, the lights of the Carpathia are seen in the distance. As the Carpathia fires rickets to announce its presence, Lightoller reflects on how things could have been different if the Titanic had been going slower, if they had sighted the iceberg sooner, or if they had more lifeboats. Later, those taken aboard the Carpathia bow their heads in prayer for their salvation. On deck, Carpathia Captain Rostron (Anthony Bushell) assures Lightoller that they will continue to search for survivors. A message is received from the Californian saying that they have just heard about the the plight of the Titanic and asking if they can help. The final scene focuses on the wreckage still floating in the water while a postscript reads: 'But this is not the end of the story for their sacrifice was not in vain. Today there are lifeboats for all, unceasing radio vigil and, in the North Atlantic, the International Ice Patrol guards the sealanes making them safe for the peoples of the world.
About 2 hours and 40 minutes. She struck the iceberg at 11:40 pm (ship's time) and sunk at 2:20 am.
The Titanic went down about 370 miles south-southeast of the coast of Newfoundland. A map of her voyage and point of sinking can be seen here.
The sinking of the Titanic is a popular movie subject. Some of the more memorable movies include Titanic (1943), Titanic (1953), and Titanic (1997). There have also been several TV series featuring the Titanic, including 'S.O.S. Titanic' (1979), 'Titanic' (1996), and 'Titanic: Blood and Steel' (2012), as well as movies about the aftermath of the Titanic, such as Raise the Titanic (1980), the animated Titanic - La leggenda continua (2000), and Titanic II (2010). A more complete listing of films and TV shows that feature the Titanic can be found here.
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