Night To Remember (1958)
Kenneth More, Honor Blackman, David McCallum.
time: 118 mins
lauded as the most accurate dramatization of the Titanic disaster,
this classic 1958 British movie withstands the test of time
(and James Cameron's more technically proficient 1997 version).
star here is the ship and its story, not a bunch of preening
movie stars in a fictional, sappy romance (sorry all you Leonardo
DiCaprio/Kate Winslett fans).
recap the factual events: The supposedly unsinkable Titanic
was a technological marvel of its age, almost 900 feet long
and weighing more than 46,000 tons. The liner boasted state-of-the-art
luxury accommodation, dining rooms and entertainment facilities,
but also cramped conditions well below decks for third-class
passengers. On her maiden voyage from Southampton, England
to New York, Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in the early
hours of April 15, 1912, 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland.
1,513 people died and only 711 survived.
how and why of the disaster is brilliantly told in this version:
iceberg messages that never reached the captain, thus allowing
the ship to steam full speed into an ice field; the splitting
of Titanic's side by the berg, when a head-on impact wouldn't
have sunk her; failure of the nearby ship Californian to come
to the rescue, too few lifeboats and lifeboats allowed to
leave the sinking Titanic half-empty.
this movie closely follows the brilliant Walter Lord book
on the Titanic disaster, it has a feel of authenticity about
it. And director Roy Ward Baker maintains a crisp documentary
style. Notable among the cast is British matinee idol Kenneth
More as Second Officer Charles Lightoller, and the very young
Honor Blackman (Pussy Galore in Goldfinger) as a passenger
and David McCallum (Illya Kuryakin in The Man from U.N.C.L.E)
as a radio operator.
ingenious special effects (well before computers) on a modest
budget work well, and exterior scenes filmed during a cold
British winter add the authenticity of steamy breath coming
from the mouths of crew and passengers!
bonus 61-minute documentary on the disaster is great, including
interviews with author Walter Lord and film producer William
MacQuitty (who saw the Titanic launching as a boy).
has done a superb job of mastering the black and white picture,
which looks flawless.