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A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, 1958
Movie Review


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A NIGHT TO REMEMBER,  MOVIE POSTERA NIGHT TO REMEMBER, 1958
Movie Reviews

Directed by Roy Ward Baker
Starring: Kenneth More, Ronald Allen, Robert Ayres, Honor Blackman, Anthony Bushell, John Cairney, Jill Dixon, Jane Downs
Review by Iba Dawson


SYNOPSIS:

This film chronicles the events of the maiden voyage of the ill-fated RMS Titanic on April 14, 1912.

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REVIEW:

A Night to Remember is part of a larger family of films and documentaries that include:

- In Nacht und Eis (1912) produced in Germany.
- Saved from the Titanic (1912) film starring Titanic survivor Dorothy Gibson.
- Atlantic (1929)
- Titanic (1943) German Nazi propaganda film directed by Werner Von Klingler.
- Titanic (1953) film starring Barbara Stanwyck, Clifton Webb and Robert Wagner, directed by Jean Negulesco.
- The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) film starring Debbie Reynolds as Titanic survivor Margaret Brown.
- S.O.S. Titanic (1979) made-for-television film.
- Raise the Titanic! (1980) "B-Movie" film based on the novel by Clive Cussler.
- Titanica: IMAX (1995) IMAX documentary narrated by Leonard Nimoy.
- Titanic (1996) television mini-series, starring George C. Scott, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Peter Gallagher, and Tim Curry.
- No Greater Love (1996) made-for-television romance based on the Danielle Steel novel of the same name.
- Titanic (1997) directed by James Cameron and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet
- Titanic: The Animated Movie (2001) Italian animated musical directed by Camillo Teti
- Titanic II (2002) short film that spoofs the 1997 James Cameron film whilst referencing the real-life sinking of the Titanic
- Ghosts of the Abyss, (2003) 3-D IMAX documentary directed by James Cameron and starring Bill Paxton.
List Source: Wikipedia.org

As you can see the list is quite extensive.

In modern times, obviously no discussion of A Night to Remember can be made without some comparison being made to 1997's Titanic. I feel that placing such a benchmark is unfair and that Night deserves to be measured on its own strengths, of which I feel are many.

It may not have the pedigree of huge set pieces and "A-list" talent associated with it, but what A Night to Remember is able to do is create a gripping narrative anchored by an ensemble cast.

In fact this is something that should not be taken lightly, especially when given the context of adapting true events that are also a major part of our popular lexicon. The question I ask myself when watching such films is how does a filmmaker manage to "make a story fresh" and keep his audience engaged when the story being told has been told many times over?

The answer is quite simple - by developing larger story around central individual characters; in total these singular stories are greater than the sum of their parts but still united in that they are what brings the audience along through the narrative. In many cases, the individual narrative thread need not last long; it just needs to be enough to allow the audience to connect the smaller story to the big picture. It also gets the member of the audience emotionally invested in the fate of the character.

A Night to Remember does this effectively while not dismissing the larger disaster in which over 60 percent of the people onboard perished . Even in the larger scope of things, there are individual shots of people facing their fate that still left me deeply saddened.

Another factor that keeps the audience engaged is the attention to detail in the film. By my rudimentary knowledge of the events, and in comparing what A Night to Remember detailed in contrast to the three or four other dramatic adaptations I have seen, A Night to Remember is the most historically accurate. There may be several reasons for this: the story was still fresh in the minds of people since many survivors were still around to recall the events. In fact, the author of the book, Walter Lord, was able to track down dozens of the survivors and get detailed eyewitness accounts.

One noted exception to this attention to detail is a consequence of time; modern science and technology has been able to determine that in fact, the Titanic split in two before being submerged and did not simply sink as one unit, as the movie depicted.

In summary, I feel that this version of the story of the RMS Titanic is far superior to other adaptations I have seen. The gripping dramatic narrative combined with realistic, almost true-to-life sequence of events makes A Night to Remember an enjoyable and emotionally effective watch.



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A NIGHT TO REMEMBER


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