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A Night to Remember (1958) Poster

Trivia

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The creaking noises during the sinking were created by the set as it was winched up to create the tilting deck effect. The microphones picked up the noises. Roy Ward Baker thought they added a huge amount of realism, as they sounded like the groaning noises a sinking ship would make, so he kept them in.
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Each page of the script was marked with the angle of the ship's deck at that point in its descent, to maintain accuracy and continuity when scenes were shot out of order.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The lookout Frederick Fleet, up in the crow's nest during the collision, was portrayed by Bernard Fox, who was later in Titanic (1997).
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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.
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The shot of the Titanic leaving port, is actually an early moving picture shot of the R.M.S. Mauretania-the sister ship to the Lusitania.
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The footage used during the launching sequence is the 1938 launching of the Cunard Liner Queen Elizabeth. No footage of the Titanic's launching actually existed. Despite the 25-year difference in the two launchings, the substituted footage worked perfectly in conveying what a ship launch in the period was like.
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No tank at Pinewood Studios was big enough to film the survivors struggling in the water to climb into lifeboats. The scene was shot at 2:00 AM on a cold November morning in the outdoor swimming pool at Ruislip Lido in London. Kenneth More recalled that when the extras refused to jump into the water, he realized he would have to set an example. "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."
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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.
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The line "Still here, Miss Evans?" is a reference to Edith Evans, who died during the sinking after volunteering to leave an overcrowded lifeboat.
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American author Morgan Robertson published a novella titled The Wreck of the Titan in 1898. It is a fictional story about a large passenger liner that hits an iceberg while sailing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The storyline strongly resembles the events of the R.M.S. Titanic 14 years later.
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The Titanic's Fourth Officer, Joseph Boxhall (portrayed by Jack Watling in the film), served as technical advisor to the film.
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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."
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Second Officer Lightoller, the hero of the film, went on to serve in World Wars I and II, rescuing many men at Dunkirk. He was accused of murdering POWs after the sinking of the German U-Boat UB-110, admitting in his autobiography that he "refused to accept the hands up business". He died in 1952. Lightoller's son advised Kenneth More on how to play his father and his widow visited the set to observe the filming.
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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.
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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.
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Producer William MacQuitty had been one of the spectators at the launching of the Titanic on May 31, 1911. He was six at the time, and found the experience most impressive.
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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.
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"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.
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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.
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The big model used in the sinking scenes was 35 feet long. The pool in which they filmed was only fifteen 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.
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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 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.
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When Wallace Hartley tells the Titanic Band to play "Number 24", they are playing Chopin's Funeral March.
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Based on Walter Lord's best-selling book about the infamous maritime disaster, this is widely considered to be the most historically accurate of the countless films depicting the sinking of the Titanic.
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Contrary to some reports, Sean Connery did not appear in this film. The character he supposedly played was in fact played by Larry Taylor.
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The archive footage of the Titanic setting sail is actually of the Lusitania.
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Four clips from the Nazi propaganda film Titanic (1943) were used in this film - two of the ship sailing in calm waters during the day, and two of a flooding walkway in the engine room.
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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."
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This is regarded as the largest British production of the 1950s. It was also the most expensive film made by the Rank Organization.
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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.
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The Austurius was the ship used for most exterior shots. Another ship used during the filming was the "Largs Bay".
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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.
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Based on Walter Lord's book of the same name. Lord had conducted intensive research behind the ship and the events leading up to the sinking. However, details of the events during the sinking came almost exclusively from interviews he conducted with 64 survivors. Most of these survivors were 3rd class passengers whose stories, until the publication of Lord's book, had been largely ignored.
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Desmond Llewelyn (Seaman at Steerage Gate), Geoffrey Bayldon (Wireless Operator Cyril Evans) and Alec McCowen (Wireless Operator Harold Thomas Cottam) 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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Closing credits epilogue: "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 sea lanes making them safe for the peoples of the world."
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This was the last feature length Titanic film to be made in black and white.
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The role of the young Lucas child was played by Stephen Lowe, the five year-old son of Arthur Lowe who would become one of British television's most memorable comedians for his role in Dad's Army (1968).
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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."
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Charles Lightoller may have been responsible for the mass loss of life on the Titanic, taking his captain's orders to load "women and children" onto the lifeboats as "women and children only". Several vessels that were launched from the ship's port side were only half filled and he famously allowed just one man, a mariner who could help guide the boats, into the lifeboats.
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Among the many uncredited actors was Peter Grant who played a deck hand and later went on to fame as the manager of Led Zeppelin as well as other bands.
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Paul Louden-Brown, from the Titanic Historical Society, worked as a consultant on James Cameron's 1997 film. He says that the musician scene in the 1958 film A Night To Remember was so beautifully crafted that Cameron decided to repeat it in his film. "He told me, 'I stole that entirely and put that into my film, because I loved it, it was such a strong part of the story.'"
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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) R.M.S. Queen Mary. Titanic (2012) written by British screenwriter Julian Fellowes, features a British cast, but was filmed in Hungary.
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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.
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Charles Lightoller served as an officer of the Royal Navy during World War I, and while commanding HMS Garry, rammed and sank the German U-Boat UB-110, for which he was decorated for gallantry. The captain of UB-110 later claimed that some of the German survivors were massacred by Lightoller's crew, an allegation never officially substantiated. In his 1935 memoir "Titanic and Other Ships", Lightoller wrote of the incident that he "refused to accept the hands-up business". This would have constituted a war crime under the Hague Convention of 1907 and the First Geneva Convention. Geoffrey Brooks, who translated Kapitänleutnant Fürbringer's memoirs into English, later commented, "Regarding the alleged atrocity committed against survivors of UB-110, the normal procedure would have been to report the matter to the German military legal authorities at the earliest opportunity. Depositions would then have been taken from all available witnesses. One can imagine how far it would have proceeded subsequently. It is not, and never has been, the practice of the British military authorities to try British service personnel for alleged war crimes committed against enemy belligerents in wartime no matter how strong the evidence.".
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It was suggested Charles Lightoller should have been tried for lowering half empty life boats just because there were no women and children nearby. He may have been guilty of the deaths of up to 200 people on RMS Titanic.
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The famous British science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke mentions this film in two novels of his which feature a raised Titanic; "Imperial Earth" (1976) and "The Ghost from the Grand Banks" (1990). In the former, the film is screened during a tour on board the raised Titanic which is docked in New York City, and in the latter, the film is edited to remove all smoking scenes before the film is aired on worldwide satellite television for the centennial of the Titanic's sinking in 2012. Clarke and the producer of this film, William MacQuitty, were lifelong friends and Clarke credits him in the Acknowledgements of his two books as having provided resources about the Titanic to him such as the dinner menus on the ship which are shown in both books. Clarke dedicated "The Ghost from the Grand Banks" to him. The dedication states: "For my old friend Bill MacQuitty-who, as a boy, witnessed the launch of R.M.S. Titanic, and, forty-five years later, sank her for the second time."
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Closing credits: The producers gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Captain Grattidge, O.B.E., Ex-Commodore of The Cunard Line, of Commander Boxhall, who was 4th Officer of the Titanic, and of many survivors of the disaster who recalled their personal experiences.
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Laurence Naismith, John Cairney, and Honor Blackman would all go on to co-star in Ray Harryhausen's epic, Jason and the Argonauts (1963).
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This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #7.
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This film has a 100% rating based on 20 critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
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Dennis Price sought a role in this project.
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At least 28 members of the cast went on to appear in Z Cars (1962).
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Kenneth More (Lightoller) and Laurence Naismith (Cpt. Smith) would appear together in another high-seas movie, Sink the Bismarck! (1960), More as Cpt. Shepard, Naismith as First Sea Lord Pound. They would also appear, but have no scenes together, in Scrooge (1970), More playing the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Naismith playing 'Fezziwig.'
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The opening scene featuring the Titanic's launch is actually footage of the Queen Elizabeth's launch.
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Stanley Lord never saw the film but did not like the way he was portrayed based on reviews on newspapers.
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The scenes with the lost boy (played by John Martin) are often considered the most memorable.
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The first of three films, and two television series that Roy Ward Baker would direct Geoffrey Bayldon in.
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Uncredited theatrical movie debut of Dudley Sutton (Lookout).
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Michael Goodliffe (Thomas Andrews) and Allan McClelland (Lottie's Husband) both previously appeared in Rheingold Theatre: Atlantic Night (1955), which likewise depicted the sinking of the Titanic.
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Irene Worth sought a role in this film
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Actor Frank Lawton, who plays J. Bruce Ismay, also had a role in Cavalcade (1933), which also prominently featured the Titanic.
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Final film of Alma Taylor.
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Arthur Alcott was a production accountant on this film. His son, John, who would later win an academy award as DP on Barry Lyndon, was a focus puller.
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Two of the uncredited 1st Class Passengers were husband and wife, Jack Armstrong and Alecia St Leger.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

A young boy on Titanic gets separated from his mother during the sinking and a kindly steward decides to 'help' him find his mother and the pair drown in the Atlantic. A little while later a female passenger mentions her baby in a cracking voice implying she was the boy's mother.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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