A Night To Remember (1958 – Cinema)

“We have dressed now in our best, and are prepared to go down like gentlemen”

I did a short story project for my English class when I was at secondary school about the sinking of the Titanic. Two sources of inspiration were a scrapbook with a detailed timeline of the facts and the other was Roy Ward Baker’s acclaimed 1958 movie ‘A Night To Remember’.  I’ve just watched it again as part one of a self-created sunday evening 1950s-double-bill at the BFI with Vincente Minnelli’s 1952 film ‘The Bad & The Beautiful’.

Seeing it again for the first time since then was a revelation. It was testimony to the actors and Baker’s eye that every shot seemed seared onto my brain as if I’d viewed it yesterday. For me the look on actor Frank Lawton’s face as he slips past an officer onto a lifeboat is one of the greatest performances ever captured on film. He never utters a word but we can see the unbearable mix of abject terror and shame in his eyes. The movie is crafted of such moments, the old couple choosing to die together, the doddering waiter cradling a lost child as they go under and the father kissing a final goodbye to his sleeping son. The film has Kenneth More as its defacto lead character but really this is an ensemble piece. Baker never attempts to try to show the passengers lives, you can imagine their whole existence based on how each person meets their death in the few seconds the camera is on them.

Apparently there is some little-known other 3D Titanic movie doing the rounds at the minute but I wouldn’t bother if I were you, they nailed it ’58, in black and white, in 4/3 and with a hundredth of the budget.

You can watch a controversial Nazi version of ‘Titanic’ uncut on YouTube here:

Also here is the trailer for ‘Titantic’ in SUPER3D!


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