A Night to Remember
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(Apr 03, 2012)
Digitally Remastered Centenary Edition
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On April 14, 1912, just before midnight, the unsinkable Titanic struck an iceberg. In less than three hours, it had plunged to the bottom of the sea, taking with it more than 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers. In his unforgettable rendering of Walter Lord’s book of the same name, A Night to Remember, the acclaimed British director Roy Ward Baker (Don’t Bother to Knock) depicts with sensitivity, awe, and a fine sense of tragedy the ship’s final hours. Featuring remarkably restrained performances, A Night to Remember is cinema’s subtlest, finest dramatization of this monumental twentieth-century catastrophe.
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"A Night to Remember" is based on Walter Lord's book of the same title. It does an excellent job of accurately following Lord's masterful book. It tells the story of the ill-fated "Titanic" from its launch in May 1911 to its maiden (and only) voyage in April 1912, during which it struck an iceberg and sank. Over 1,500 of the 2,208 passengers and crew on board died in the worst maritime disaster in history.
"A Night to Remember" is actually a fairly low-key film which features very little melodrama throughout its two-hour runtime. It stars Kenneth More, a popular and very talented British actor who portrays the film's main character, Second Officer Charles Lightoller. Also featured are noted actors Honor Blackman and David McCallum. The movie concentrates upon the events of that fateful night as those events were described it Walter Lord's book. It's a fairly accurate re-enactment of events ( although the "Titanic" isn't shown as breaking in two before sinking)
"A Night to Remember" clearly dramatizes the professionalism and heroism of the crew and the (for the most part) stoic desperation and courage of the passengers. It also looks at some of the controversy that surfaced during the night of April 15, 1912, especially the failure of the "SS Californian" to respond to "Titanic's" distress calls, although it was only 10 miles away; and the heroic efforts of the "SS Carpathia" to travel 58 miles to the accident site in order to perform rescue operations. The film also examines the class-consciousness of the passengers and crew, which resulted in a great disparity between the much higher survival rates for first-class passengers than for steerage passengers.
The Blu-ray version of "A Night to Remember" is superb in every way. Filmed in black-and-white, it's shown in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. It has been digitally remastered using a 2K process that preserves grain, while at the same time eliminating other anomalies like dirt, dust, hair, and other artifacts. Images are sharp and clear, and monochrome color balance is perfect. The movie also features a lossless monaural soundtrack that provides perfectly balanced sound.
If you're expecting an over-the-top love story, or the latest in technological wizardry, or bucketsful of contrived plot devices and pyrotechnics... well, you won't find them here in "A Night to Remember." What you will find is a beautifully produced, written, and acted film that shows with reasonable accuracy what most likely happened on that fateful night when the "Titanic" and over 1,500 of its passengers and crew met their tragic end in the icy Atlantic Ocean. Highly recommended.
Anyway...this is a great movie unless you are just interested in a teenage love story....but even if that is the case, get this one, too. It is very well made and tells more of the actual incident (barring any information discovered after the wreck was found...when this was made the popular consensus was that the Titanic sank intact and did not break in half as actually happened. I even appreciate that it was made in black and white instead of color. I think it adds to the drama.
The blu-ray version is crisp and clean visually. Well worth the price to get the blu-ray.
This is my favorite Titanic movie..................it is told in a just the facts ma'am documentary style with none of the soap opera used in the Barbara Stanwyck and James Cameron films. The commentary is a great addition........where the movie veers from what is known as a result of post 1958 scholarship is pointed out clearly.
I cannot a recommend a blu-ray more highly..............thank you Criterion for this wonderful effort.