Friday, 26 February 2016

A Night to Remember (1958)

On the 14th of April 1912 the 'unsinkable' RMS Titanic struck an iceberg. The ship was on it's maiden voyage, but it was never to complete it. The iceberg irreparablely damaged the ship and it went down leaving over 1,500 people dead in the icy waters of the Atlantic.

A Night to Remember tells the story of this well known disaster. It was the ninth film to be made about the sinking of the Titanic and was based on the book of the same name by Walter Lord. The film is regarded by most historians as being the best and most historically accurate of all films made about the event.

The film, which stars Kenneth More, Ronald Allen, Robert Ayres, Honor Blackman, Michael Goodlife, David McCallum and Laurence Naismith, tells the story of the fateful voyage in harrowing accuracy. Despite knowing the inevitable outcome from the start it is still a heart breaking, anxious watch as the ship sinks further and further into the icy water.
The film begins with the ships launch and follows the crew and several passengers of all three classes as they entertain themselves in the hours leading up to the collision. The film also serves as a powerful testimony to the politics of class. The snobbery of some and the selflessness of others. The disaster brings out the best and worst of all the classes.

Visually the film is stunning. Shot in black and white it adds an eerie quality to the wide expanse of sea, and the darkness of the night. Most of the characters reflect real people including Captain Smith and the famous 'unsinkable' Molly Brown. The film slowly descends into panic, at first nobody is particularly alarmed, no one really believes the ship will sink, but in the final moments before it descends chaos reigns. It's heartbreaking to watch but incredibly powerful.

"It's different…because we were so sure, because even though its happened it's still unbelievable. I don't think I'll ever feel sure again, about anything"
-Second Officer Charles Lightoller (Kenneth More)


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