HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
   
 
Newest Articles
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
   
 
  Night To Remember, A Still the best, over 60 years later
Year: 1958
Director: Roy Baker
Stars: Kenneth More, Michael Goodliffe, Honor Blackman, David McCallum, Kenneth Griffith, Andrew Keir, George Rose, Alec McCowan, Gerald Harper, Ronald Allen, Robert Ayres, Anthony Bushell, John Cairney, Jill Dixon, Jayne Downs, James Dyrenforth, Frank Lawton
Genre: Drama, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: “Bill, it's small-screen, black and white, you have no stars, and it's just another shipwreck.” With these words, John Davies (production head for the Rank Organisation), dismissed producer William MacQuitty's idea for a film version of Walter Lord's best-selling book on the Titanic disaster. Fortunately, MacQuitty's diplomacy and enthusiasm won through, and the result was both the most historically accurate version of the story and a thought-provoking study of human nature.

With the construction of a full-size section of the ship at Pinewood studios, major special effects input, and location work in Scotland and around London, 'A Night to Remember' was a large-scale project. Contemporary box-office was fairly cool, but time has made its qualities more apparent.

The first of these is the script by Eric Ambler. By condensing several historic characters (notably, in Kenneth More's Second Officer Lightoller), the screenplay gives us enough people to become involved with, without getting lost. Ambler had made his name as a thriller writer and despite our inevitable knowledge of the story, the script manages to be suspenseful and exciting as it cuts between the increasing danger on the Titanic and the desperate rescue efforts of the Carpathia. At the same time, there is the frustration of seeing another ship, ten miles from the tragedy, making little or no effort to help. James Cameron, with the technical resources at his disposal, should have done wonders with this material, but he decided a juvenile romance was more 'meaningful to modern audiences' (ie the teen market). Ambler even makes room for some comic relief as a baker downs the best part of a bottle of Scotch (and ends up a survivor).

At first sight, Roy Baker's direction seems non-existent. In a way, however, this is its greatest quality. Baker lets the story tell itself without hammering home a message. People just do what they do (or, rather, what they did in 1912). Some of the best scenes involve complex changes to the viewer's centre of attention, with detailed background action. Note how the camera follows an aristocratic couple into the ship's restaurant, then focuses on another table in the foreground, where 'unsinkable' Molly Brown tells of her rise to wealth. The action at the first couple's table continues to flow, with the arrival of a waiter, then the wine waiter, while other people are seated and served elsewhere in the room. The scene doesn't look staged, it looks like the natural working of an everyday setting.

Baker's work reaches its height in the final scenes where crowds of people face imminent death. The editing (by Sidney Hayers, soon to be a useful director himself) becomes increasingly rapid and is brilliantly cut to William Alwyn's music which (having been quite muted since the opening credits) swells, with taut strings and strident brass finally evolving into the melody of the hymn played earlier by the ship's orchestra to make a truly moving and involving climax as the ship disappears under the sea.

The sinking scenes, of course, required considerable special effects. These are the film's Achilles heel, as now we expect so much more bang for our buck. The models are obviously models, the back-projection is obviously back-projection. In fact, the effects work better on the big screen, and it is worth trying to see A Night to Remember at a film theatre rather than on DVD (however large your plasma screen). Scenes on board ship are superb. The sets are extremely accurate, and look far more expensive than they probably were (the whole film only cost around £1m). The sets even played their part in creating atmosphere: the creaking of the ship tearing herself apart is the sound of the sets being raised on hydraulics to create tilting decks.

The script has over 200 speaking parts (many, admittedly, one-liners) so the acting is really an ensemble effort. Nevertheless, Kenneth More provides a solid core around whom events take place and an heroic figure for us to identify with. The resemblance of some actors to their historic models is remarkable (notably Laurence Naismith's captain, which even amazed Captain Smith's daughter). The acting is sincere, played with restraint, very British, and is in keeping with the mood of the film.

“Britishness” is, in fact, probably A Night to Remember's chief characteristic. When it was made, the Empire was fading into the Commonwealth, and the Suez Crisis had shown just how Britain's 'world power' status had dwindled. Films such as A Night to Remember showed Britons they had admirable qualities (courage, self-control, selflessness, resourcefulness and humour), even if their scope for action was diminished.

The style of the film also reflects the British heritage of documentary film-making (particularly from the war years). Producer, writer and director wanted to create something honest and truthful which would stand the test of time. Appreciation of the film over 60 years after it was made shows how well they succeeded.
Reviewer: Enoch Sneed

 

This review has been viewed 3397 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: