A Night to Remember (1958) Poster


There was no tank big enough at Pinewood Studios to film the survivors struggling in the water to climb into lifeboats, so it was done in the open-air swimming bath at Ruislip Lido in London at 2:00 am on a cold November morning. Kenneth More recalled that when the extras refused to jump into the water, he realized he would have to set an example. But when he jumped into the water, he recalled: "I leaped. Never have I experienced such cold in all my life. It was like jumping into a deep freeze just like the people did on the actual Titanic. The shock of the cold water forced the breath out of my lungs. My heart seemed to stop beating. I felt crushed, unable to think. I had rigor mortis... without the mortis. And then I surfaced, spat out the dirty water and, gasping for breath, found my voice. 'Stop!' I shouted. 'Don't listen to me! It's bloody awful! Stay where you are!' But it was too late as the extras followed suit."
After the ship leaves Southampton, and we see the caption April 14, the shots of the Titanic and the passengers on deck were taken from Titanic (1943), a Nazi propaganda film.
The line "Still here, Miss Evans?" is a reference to Edith Evans, who died during the sinking after volunteering to leave an overcrowded lifeboat.
The creaking noises heard during the sinking weren't sound effects. They were sounds created by the set as it was winched up to create the tilting deck effect. The noises were picked up by the microphones. Roy Ward Baker thought they added a huge amount of realism, as they did indeed sound like the groaning noises a sinking ship would make, so he kept them in.
The Titanic's Fourth Officer, Joseph Boxhall (portrayed by Jack Watling in the film), served as technical advisor to the film.
Walter Lord found 64 survivors in researching his book "A Night to Remember." The Rank Organisation found many more in making the film, and several visited the set, including Edith Russell, a fashion journalist and stylist who had with her a lucky stuffed pig that played music. During one of her many visits to the set, Miss Russell (along with her stuffed pig) had the chance to meet the actress (Teresa Thorne) who was playing her. She also had the chance to show her the stuffed pig, which was much bigger than the one used in the film. It was bequeathed to Walter Lord in her will.
Second Officer Lightoller, the hero of the film, went on to serve with distinction in World Wars I and II, rescuing many men at Dunkirk. He died in 1952. Lightoller's son advised Kenneth More on how to play his father and his widow visited the set (and More) to observe the filming.
Each page of the script was marked with the angle of the ship's deck at that point in its descent. This way, when they shot scenes out of order, they could maintain accuracy and continuity.
Lawrence Beesley, a survivor from second class, was on the set during filming. At one point when the sinking was being filmed, he attempted to enter the scene and - perhaps symbolically - "go down" with the ship. Director Roy Ward Baker didn't allow this, as it would have been a union violation, which could have closed down production.
The character shown reading quietly in the First Class Smoking Room, is William Thomas Stead, a respected editor and writer who was seen reading in exactly the same place as the ship was sinking. On March 22, 1886 Stead wrote an article titled "How the Mail Steamer Went Down in Mid-Atlantic, by a Survivor," in which a steamer collides with another ship and due to a shortage of lifeboats many people die. Stead wrote "This is exactly what might take place and will take place if liners are sent to sea short of boats."
The footage used during the launching sequence of the Titanic is that of the 1938 launching of the Cunard Liner Queen Elizabeth, as no footage of the Titanic's launching actually existed. Despite the nearly thirty year difference in the two launchings, the substituted footage worked perfectly in conveying what a ship launch in the period was like.
It was only after seeing this film that James Cameron decided to make Titanic (1997). In fact, Cameron was so taken by this film that he lifted ideas, plot lines, conversations and characters, including a minor character similar to the one played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
The shot of the Titanic leaving port is actually an early moving picture shot of the RMS Mauretania-the sister ship to the Lusitania.
Producer William MacQuitty had been one of the spectators at the launching of the Titanic on May 31, 1911. He was 6 at the time and found the experience most impressive.
The lookout Frederick Fleet, up in the crow's nest during the collision, was portrayed by Bernard Fox, who went on to be in another Titanic movie, Titanic (1997).
Wireless Operator John Phillips mentions several time throughout the sinking that he has been in contact with a ship called the Olympic. The Olympic was the Titanic's older sister ship, entering service in 1911, and an almost identical copy of the Titanic. She was the first in a trio of sister ships built by the White Star Line to counter their rival company the Cunard Line and their new luxury ships the Lusitania and the Mauretania. Unlike the Titanic and the Britannic, (the third sister ship that was sunk by a mine during the First World War), the Olympic went on to have an illustrious career as a passenger liner and served proudly during the First World War as a troop transport gaining the nickname "Old Reliable". After nearly twenty five years of service the Olympic was taken out of service in 1935 and scrapped in the late thirties. Unfortunately on the night of the sinking the Olympic was five hundred miles away from the Titanic and unable to arrive to her aid in time.
In the film you see two brief shots of a playroom for the first class children, but the Titanic (and the Olympic) never had such a room. There was however, one on their sister ship, the Britannic.
During the scene of lunch at the Captain's table, the same menu was served as had been eaten by the Captain's guests. Roy Ward Baker said: "There was no need to do this, but some food had to be eaten and it might as well be correct. It all helped the atmosphere, which ... helped the actors."
This was the last feature length Titanic film to be made in black and white.
The big model used in the sinking scenes was 35 feet long. The pool in which they filmed was only 15 feet deep, so the model was constructed in sections. As each section sank out of view, they removed it so that it wouldn't hit bottom.
The ad for toilet soap that Kenneth More reads at the start of the film is a genuine advertisement from the days prior to Titanic's launch.
When Helen Melville Smith (Captain Smith's daughter) came to the set and met Laurence Naismith, she was overcome with emotion because of his striking resemblance to her father.
It wasn't until 1985 when the wreckage of Titanic was discovered, that they found out it had split in two while sinking in 1912. In this film the Titanic does not split in two, but goes down in one piece.
Walter Lord recorded that the painting hanging in the First Class Smoking Room was of New York Harbor and was called "The Approach to the New World". The painting was faithfully reproduced for the film and after completion it was presented by the Rank Organization to Lord, who later discovered that the painting had actually hung in the Titanic's sister ship, Olympic. It was a painting of Plymouth Harbor that hung in the Titanic.
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.
Laurence Naismith and Michael Goodliffe (who here share three scenes together), would later appear in two separate James Bond films. Naismith in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and Goodliffe in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974). While Honor Blackman and Desmond Llewelyn (who here share no scenes together), would later appear in the third James Bond film Goldfinger (1964) (again sharing no scenes), Blackman as Pussy Galore, and Llewelyn as 'Q' (his second appearance). And finally, Kenneth More would later be considered for a role in the eighth James Bond film, Live and Let Die (1973), replacing an ill Bernard Lee in the role of M. Sean Connery makes an uncredited appearance as a deck hand/steerage passenger, and would later go on to portray James Bond himself.
The role of the young Lucas child was played by Stephen Lowe, the 5 year-old son of Arthur Lowe who would become one of British TV's most memorable comedians for his role in Dad's Army (1968).
The Austurius was the ship used for most exterior shots. Another ship used during the filming was the "Largs Bay".
During the filming of the locations, while the indoor sets were being built at Pinewood, it was Rank's twenty-first birthday, but this was the only film being made. It required all of the 1,200 work force and for the first time, everyone was working on the same production.
According to Roy Ward Baker, the only cast member who caused him any trouble was Tucker McGuire (Molly Brown) whom he said was "ornery ... I don't know what got into her."
This is regarded as the largest British production of the 1950s. It was also the most expensive film made by the Rank Organization.
This is the last Titanic film to be made exclusively in the United Kingdom, the birthplace of the real Titanic. S.O.S. Titanic (1979) did film in the UK (at Shepperton Studios, The Waldorf Hotel), but also filmed in the United States aboard the (former British) RMS Queen Mary. Titanic (2012) written by British screenwriter Julian Fellowes, features a British cast but was filmed in Hungary.
"A Night to Remember" premiered at the Odeon, Leicester Square, in London on 03 July 1958. Among the survivors attending were 4th Officer H.G Boxhall, the widow of 2nd Officer Lightoller, and C.V. Groves who had been 3rd Officer of SS Californian.
Sean Connery (Titanic Deck Hand), Honor Blackman (Mrs. Liz Lucas) and Desmond Llewelyn (Seaman at Steerage Gate) all later appeared in Goldfinger (1964).
At least 28 members of the cast went on to appear in Z Cars (1962)
Dennis Price sought a role in this project.
Desmond Llewelyn (Seaman at Steerage Gate), Geoffrey Bayldon (Wireless Operator Cyril Evans) and Alec McCowen would all later play Q in "James Bond" films: Llewelyn played the role in 17 official Bond films from From Russia with Love (1963) to The World Is Not Enough (1999), Bayldon played him in Casino Royale (1967) and McCowen played him in Never Say Never Again (1983).
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Irene Worth sought a role in this film

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