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A Night to Remember (1958) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • 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 -and- the Titanic's designer (Andrews, on-board) revelation that due to the severity of below-the-water-line damage and that the vaunted watertight compartments were not designed to nor sealed up to the weather deck, would only delay the inevitable as sea water spilled over the top of one to the next from the bows to the stern. It also addresses the mysterious ship seen from the Titanic's bridge stopped some 12-19 miles off and depicts it as being the S.S. Californian, whom - if that steamship had responded, the loss of life could have been far, far less. The Californian is seen stopped due to the ice warnings, the same alerts whose import were undervalued by the Titanic's Captain Smith. She herself had shut-down wireless operations, nominally at 11:00pm as her sole operator retired for the evening, this before the iceberg was struck and the 1st distress calls were made by Titanic. It also addresses somewhat the coal fire in one of Titanic's bunkers - apparently not uncommon back in those days, before her departure into the Atlantic and potential for damage to steel plates below the water line. (This picture predates the calling-into-question of the quality of rivets (metalurgy) which has since come to the fore.) The film also shows the class distinction and its impact as to whom - of the "women and children first," got a seat in a boat; the fact that the first/earliest lifeboats launched were not at full capacity; and that the boats launched from the port and starboard side held to different criteria as to loading. The latter allows the viewer an inference as to the importance for crew and passenger alike as to lifeboat drills which were then (1912) neither required nor ever held aboard Titanic. One of several movies on the subject, it stands well the test-of-time for its "just the facts" approach in the telling and avoidance of conjecture or added melodrama.

    - Written by drew_wallner@verizon.net
  • Reasonably accurate account of the sinking on April 14, 1912 of the RMS Titanic, the luxury ocean liner that struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage. The ship was the height of luxury - certainly by those traveling in first class - and was widely reputed to be unsinkable. The film focuses mostly on the ship itself and the issues faced by Captain Smith, his crew and the passengers. The ship carried only enough lifeboats for half of the passengers and crew but even at that little more than a third of the them survived. The film also recounts the activity on the Carpathia, which sailed to the survivors rescue and the California which failed to recognize their distress signal.

    - Written by garykmcd
  • On its maiden voyage across the Atlantic, the British liner Titanic with 2200 people on board is gashed along 300 feet of its hull by an iceberg. As it starts to sink, the new invention of radio is used to try and summon help, although this is disastrously ignored by the closest vessel. With lifeboat places for only 1200 people, it is not only women and children first, but also First Class before Steerage.

    - Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}
  • Based on the best selling book by Walter Lord, this is the true story of the R.M.S. Titanic which struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Europe to New York in 1912.

    - Written by Jim Sadur <jsadur@intercall.com>
  • It is 1912, and the White Star Line's new ship - the 'unsinkable' Titanic - is making its maiden voyage across the Atlantic from Southhampton to New York City. Unfortunately, the night of April 14-15, 1912 proves to be a night in which man's arrogant overconfidence in his technological creations was shaken to its core, as the legendary ship collides with an iceberg in the North Atlantic. The much-touted watertight compartment system that supposedly rendered it 'unsinkable' was never designed to cope with such extensive damage, and the Titanic is doomed. Focusing on the accounts of most of the real people who sailed on the ship, it centers largely on the experiences of the ship's 2nd officer, C.H. Lightholler. With these accounts come frightening revelations about the ship - not only are there way too few lifeboats, but people are loaded into them according to their class - First before Steerage. Based on the late Walter Lord's book of the same title.

    - Written by Derek O'Cain
  • An account of the ill-fated maiden voyage of RMS Titanic in 1912.

    - Written by Chris White

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