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A Night to Remember (1958)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | 16 December 1958 (USA)
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On its maiden voyage in April 1912, the supposedly unsinkable RMS Titanic hits an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean.

Director:

Roy Ward Baker (as Roy Baker)

Writers:

Walter Lord (from the book by), Eric Ambler (screenplay)
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kenneth More ... Second Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller
Ronald Allen ... Mr. Clarke
Robert Ayres ... Maj. Arthur Peuchen
Honor Blackman ... Mrs. Liz Lucas
Anthony Bushell ... Capt. Arthur Rostron
John Cairney ... Mr. Murphy
Jill Dixon ... Mrs. Clarke
Jane Downs ... Mrs. Sylvia Lightoller
James Dyrenforth ... Col. Archibald Gracie
Michael Goodliffe ... Thomas Andrews
Kenneth Griffith ... Wireless Operator John 'Jack' Phillips
Harriette Johns ... Lady Richard
Frank Lawton ... Chairman J. Bruce Ismay
Richard Leech ... First Officer William Murdoch
David McCallum ... Assistant Wireless Operator Harold Bride
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Storyline

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 drew_wallner@verizon.net

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Taglines:

TITANIC... The greatest sea drama in living memory told as it really happened! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the Irish passengers, Patrick A. O'Keefe, was a young man who boarded the Titanic when he was 21 years of age. Just a few days before he entered the Titanic, he had horrific dreams of the ship sinking and nearly canceled his ticket. However, he decided to board the ship anyway. Once the Titanic was sinking, he managed to survive on the "collapsible B" life raft. He died in 1939, in Manhattan, from unknown causes, at the age of 48. See more »

Goofs

Second Officer Lightoller yells at J. Bruce Ismay for trying to lower boat number 5 too quickly. The officer who actually yelled at Ismay is Fifth Officer Harold G. Lowe, not seen in the film. See more »

Quotes

Lady Richard: [observing the strict "Women and Children" first policy on the port side of the Boat Deck] It's absurd. On the other side the gentlemen are going in the boats with their ladies. Why on earth we're standing here, I don't know.
Sir Richard: But... Well, there'll be room in the boats for everybody.
Lady Richard: Of course there will.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: 1912 See more »

Alternate Versions

The 1998 US Criterion Collection DVD is slightly edited. After the Titanic has sunk and Second Officer Lightoller (Kenneth More) is on top of the upturned collapsible lifeboat, a steward swims up to him with a child. Lightoller takes the child, but in the DVD, you don't see him find out that the child is already dead, and then he gently places him in the water. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Futurama: A Flight to Remember (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Barbary Bell
(uncredited)
Traditional
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User Reviews

 
Vividly Effective Docudrama-Style Handling of the Legendary Sinking
26 September 2006 | by EUyeshimaSee all my reviews

Sixty-four survivors from the actual Titanic were interviewed extensively by author Walter Lord for his meticulously researched 1955 book, "A Night to Remember", the basis of this still-remarkable 1958 dramatic reenactment of the momentous sinking. Obviously this lends great authenticity to this production, which feels very much like a docudrama offering a diverse gallery of characters to track instead of a main protagonist. While there are inarguably impressive elements in James Cameron's über-successful 1997 epic version of the same tragedy, most specifically the technical details and mind-bending CGI images and effects, this much lower-budget British film manages to feel more dramatically resonant simply because the superficial Hollywoodization of the event is not evident here, i.e., the forced melodrama, heightened romance and stereotypical characters.

Director Roy Baker and screenwriter Eric Ambler draw upon a much broader canvas by having the camera roam through the ship and capture the essence of the various people on board from the boiler room workers to the first class passengers. This compelling approach doesn't change as the ship sinks as we continue to recognize a full emotional range between heroism and cowardice through these characters. The other aspects that this version handles well are the specific construction-related reasons for the ultimate sinking and the roles played by two other ships during the tragedy. Not only was there the Carpathia, too far away to get to the Titanic on time yet there to pick up survivors, but also the Californian, a steamship only ten miles away and within sight. As vividly portrayed in the movie, the officers of the Californian misinterpreted the distress signals and did nothing to come to the Titanic's aid. You will likely recognize several scenes here that were repeated almost verbatim in Cameron's film, in particular, the lifeboat-boarding scenes and the aftermath of the sinking. What doesn't sync up is the ship dramatically breaking in two, a fact not depicted in the film since it was not verified until years afterward.

The primitive nature of the special effects may frustrate younger viewers, even though the then-standard use of small models is still pretty impressive on its own. The film also spends a bit too much time with incidental characters such as the drunken baker and the dedicated string musicians. There are a few familiar faces in the large cast, chief among them Kenneth More as the heroic second officer whose forward-moving calm saved many lives, Honor Blackman (later Bond girl Pussy Galore in "Goldfinger") as the young newlywed determined to stay with her husband, and David McCallum (Ilya Kuryakan on TV's "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.") as an assistant wire operator. Geoffrey Unsworth is responsible for the striking black-and-white cinematography. The 1998 Criterion Collection DVD has an excellent hour-long making-of feature, as well as an interesting commentary track by Titanic experts Don Lynch and Ken Marshall. Two trailers round out the extras.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Russian | Polish | German | Italian

Release Date:

16 December 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Titanic See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,680,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

The Rank Organisation See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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