A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
The Real Story of the Titanic
Starring: Kenneth More, Ronald Allen,
Robert Ayres, Honor Blackman,
Anthony Bushell, Laurence
Naismith, & Hayward Goldblatt
Audience: All ages
Rating: Produced before the MPAA
Runtime: 123 minutes
Distributor: J. Arthur Rank (British)
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Producer: William McQuitty
Writer: Eric Ambler
Address Comments To:Hallmark Entertainment
156 W. 56th St., Suite 1901
New York, NY 10019
The movie does feature one character, Herbert Lightoller (Kenneth More), a second officer on the Titanic, who is first seen taking a train to the port where he explains to his fellow train travelers the unique and special features of the ship. As he boards the Titanic, the camera follows him for a while as he witnesses passengers settling into their quarters and the routine operations of the ship's progress as it plows across the Atlantic. Unlike TITANIC, in A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, the Titanic takes only 20 minutes to hit ice. Then, the movie depicts the ensuing chaos on all decks, the trapped third class, the rush to the top decks, sleepy passengers who slowly crawl out of bed, the musicians playing softly in the background, and eventually the survivors watching from their lifeboats.
TITANIC and A NIGHT TO REMEMBER do share some common scenes, and it is very likely that TITANIC director James Cameron chose to simply replicate some of the more important scenes in A NIGHT TO REMEMBER. For example, in both pictures, Thomas Andrews uses the ships blueprints to explain to Captain Smith how the Titanic will sink, and Mr. Guggenheim is seen dressing up for his imminent death in both films.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, however, contains some key scenes, which are left out of TITANIC. These events actually happened and help make the true story stranger and more fascinating than Cameron's fiction. This movie shows the deck of a mysterious ship just 9 miles away from the TITANIC. Its crew members wonder why the TITANIC is shooting off fireworks. History says that this ship, the Californian, had shut off its communication systems for the night. This movie also tells about how the Carpathian nearly burst its boilers steaming faster than normal to rescue the survivors of the TITANIC.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER does have some minor inaccuracies. Contrary to popular opinion and the scenes in A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, the iceberg did not cause a large gash on the side of the ship. Instead, research tells us that the iceberg simply buckled in the sides, making rivets pop and letting water seep in through a series of small holes. This movie also shows the ship going down in one piece, but in fact, the ship split in two. Due to the fact that the undersea research was unavailable in 1958, these errors are forgivable and do not distract from the thrilling nature of the movie. A NIGHT TO REMEMBER doesn't have romance or character studies like TITANIC, but it does have accuracy and morality. Though it doesn't have the jaw-dropping special effects of TITANIC, its heroism in the face of tragedy is real. It is a fine and worthy alternative to TITANIC which contains some serious flaws for both the lover of history and the lover of morality.
Containing no sex, nudity or foul language, this documentary style movie doesn't focus on any two passengers on the ship, but instead shows "slice-of-life" episodes of many of the main characters on board. The black and white photography is a fine format to enhance the bleak nature of the ill-fated voyage. A NIGHT TO REMEMBER is not a romance or character study, but it does contain accuracy and morality and a worthy alternative to TITANIC.