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A Night to Remember (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a waste to compare it to either the 1953 Clifton Webb movie or to the Cameron version. For the Webb film, Walter Lord's book had not yet come out so the producers worked with what they had as far as historical "facts." As for Cameron, he "borrowed" many scenes from NIGHT TO REMEMBER both as an homage but because they are more gripping than anything a screenwriter could come up with.
As for the NTR version showing the ship sinking in one piece as being "historically inacurate", that was based on Lord's conclusions from the book tho he did acknowledge passengers saying that it broke in two before going under. Also, the Kenneth More character, although billed as Second Officer Lightoller, was actually a composite of Lightoller and Fifth Officer Lowe, but Lightoller being dominant.If you re-read the book and watch the movie again, you'll be able to tell what was Lowe's actions and what was Lightoller's.
More is brilliant and always seemed under-appreciated as an actor. Had the pleasure of meeting him in Toronto when he was doing a play there in the 1970s.
Hands down, NIGHT TO REMEMBER is the best movie about the TITANIC ever made and if Cameron's version couldn't top it with its budget, no other version ever will.
Needless to say, it is one of my top three movies.
Easily a five star movie; if I could, I would give it six stars.
I don't know if I can say I've seen "all" the Titanic movies, but I have seen Leonardo Di Caprion's version, Catherine Zita-Jones' version, Clifton Webb's version, and this one, which was the first one I ever saw, years ago, as a little child. Hands down, this British version is the best.
It's not that the others are stinkers; in fact, that would lessen the victory. After all, Leonardo's has some great special effects, Catherine was a pretty passenger, and Clifton Webb handled disaster very well. But this one has the hallmark of accuracy to it. When you've finished watching it, you KNOW the story of the Titanic well enough to perpetuate its memory to your own children's children. It captures the despair of the passengers who realize what's really happening, and faithfully recounts the different vignettes of self-sacrifice which characterize this tragedy in particular. Unlike the other three movies, "A Night to Remember" doesn't have to invent people for you to identify with; the real stories are far better than any invention and far more poignant.
Watch the others for entertainment, but watch "A Night to Remember" for edification.
Even the special effects of 1958 come off very well. The Blu-Ray quality really make the image quality jump out.
I only gave the DVD four out of five stars, because the DVD itself takes about two and a half minutes to get to the menu. It crawls through an essentially black screen without any indication the DVD is functioning. it's a shame that someone's really fine work is spoiled because they stuck a huge empty leader slug at the beginning
Most recent customer reviews
A Night to Remember(released July/58)starred,among others Kenneth More,Ronald Allen,Robert Ayers and Honor Blackman . Read morePublished 1 month ago by Robert Badgley
Really well done movie. One can more readily understand what those passengers must have gone through. You felt as if you were there, and were ever so glad that you weren't!!Published 3 months ago by G. Dohn
The real story, without the pap of two-dimensional people and phony story-lines. The tragedy as it happened.Published 18 months ago by Robert C. Mercier
I bought this movie as part of my brother's 60th birthday gift a couple of years ago. He first saw this movie as a young boy with our dad. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Dorothy Morgan Matula
Great movie ! Picture is clear and sound is great for this old movie.
I remove two stars, cause it lack of french audio track. Read more