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
Uncredited theatrical movie debut of Dudley Sutton (Lookout). See more »
As with most pictures about the Titanic, filmed before the discovery of the wreck in 1985, A Night to Remember portrays the Titanic as sinking in one piece. The discovery of the wreck revealed that the ship had broken in two and most films about the ship, Titanic, and Titanic, have reflected this point. Although scholars debate to this day whether the break up happened while the ship was above the water line or while it was under the water, and out of the view of survivors, plunging towards the ocean floor. Eyewitness testimony to the sinking diverge in opinion about this fact meaning that A Night to Remember's portrayal of the ship sinking intact, while above the water line, may still be accurate. See more »
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 »
Off to Philadelphia
Played on violin and sung by Titanic passengers See more »
If you watch historical documentaries try to see them in the right sequence, but if you have ANY interest in the Titanic be sure to see this film.
Three years ago I wrote comments on the 1997 James Cameron film "Titanic" for this database. Either because of the number of Oscars collected by this film, or its fantastic production cost of some two hundred million dollars, I felt ashamed when reporting that I found it to be a most uncomfortable combination of a historical documentary and an entirely fictional romance. I found it hard to understand why such a major film should have been split between two such disparate styles of presentation. Although I had recognised that several scenes in Cameron's "Titanic" appeared to have been directly copied from the excellent 1979 TV film "S.O.S. Titanic", I did not feel this was adequate to explain the strongly documentary flavour of so many other sequences. All was explained very recently when, thanks to TCM, I had an opportunity to see "A Night to Remember" for the first time. This is an almost completely documentary 1958 film based on a very thoroughly researched and near definitive book of the same name that was prepared from the testimony given at the official enquiries in the U.K. and the U.S.A., and written by Dr. Walter Lord.. Much of Cameron's film was also documentary and appears to have been directly based on this much earlier film, the remainder was a romantic drama that was essentially incompatible. Cameron probably decided on this approach because ANTR, with no well known stars in the cast, failed to achieve the same success in the U.S.A. as in the U.K. I can now understand that featuring the romance in the way which Cameron did was probably intended to enable his film to create a greater degree of viewer involvement with the unfortunate passengers on the liner and so help to avoid this problem. Unfortunately in my view the documentary and the fictional parts of his film never melded.
These comments on the more recent film are necessary before I can meaningfully report my impressions when watching ANTR Although filmed in monochrome and created with a much more modest budget, ANTR is a film that I will find it very hard to forget. Characterisation of both the passengers and crew seemed to me to be spot on, there were none of the occasional caricatures which jarred so severely in the later film. The drama of the events was left to speak for itself and this created a much more powerful film. The three aspects of the Titanic disaster which have gripped public interest so strongly for almost a century are the sudden impact on a community of 2,000 ordinary people from all stations in life as they gradually realize that they probably only have another hour to live, the impact of the rigid class structures of the period on the way in which this situation was handled both by the passengers concerned and by those in authority, and the enormous number of "what if?" questions that the disaster raised (such as what effect pressure to win the Blue Riband for the fastest Atlantic crossing may have had on the seamanship shown by the officers). All three of these aspects are fully featured in the film, but often in quite subtle ways, and none is given excessive weight. The camera-work and attention to details of presentation, such as the creaking and groaning from the tortured ship, are truly outstanding. Special effects in the 1997 film are admittedly much superior (after all $200 million must buy something!), but those in ANTR are quite advanced for its time and are more than adequate to prevent any serious jarring notes from arising as the film is viewed. Ultimately a film has to be judged primarily by the credibility of the acting and direction, not from the special effects, and I certainly support the view of the majority of IMDb users that these raise ANTR to the status of an exceptionally fine, if not almost unique, movie. A documentary presentation of a major marine disaster which is realistic enough to closely involve most of its viewers will never be everybody's choice of film to watch; but for those who wish to see it, this film will provide an exceptionally rich viewing experience.
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