A Night to Remember: The Sinking of the Titanic VHS
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based on the book by Walter Lord
Two years after 20th Century Fox released its melodramatic disaster film Titanic in 1953, Walter Lord's meticulously researched book A Night to Remember surprised its publishers by becoming a phenomenal bestseller. Lord had an intuition that readers craved the reality of the Titanic disaster and not the romantically mythologized translations (like Fox's film, starring Barbara Stanwyck), which relied on fictional characters to "enhance" the world's worst maritime disaster. Lord's book proved that the truth was far more compelling than fiction, outlining the many "if onlys" (if only the iceberg had been spotted a few minutes earlier, etc.) that lent somber irony to the loss of 1,500 Titanic passengers. Three years after Lord's book appeared, it was brought to the screen with the kind of riveting authenticity that Lord had insisted upon in his own research. The 1958 British production of A Night to Remember remains a definitive dramatization of the disaster, adhering to the known facts of the time and achieving a documentary-like immediacy that matches (and in some ways surpasses) the James Cameron epic released 39 years later. The film erroneously perpetuates the once-common belief that the Titanic sunk in one piece (instead of breaking in half as its bow began to plunge), but many other misconceptions are accurately corrected, and the intelligent screenplay by thriller master Eric Ambler is a model of factual suspense. By making Titanic the star of the film, director Roy Baker emphasizes the excessive confidence of the booming industrial age and creates an intense you-are-there realism that pays tribute to Walter Lord's tenacious quest for truth. --Jeff Shannon
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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.
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