A Night to Remember (1958)

night to remember poster 1958 movie titanic
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Tells the story in a terrifying and truthful manner that still builds drama

Visuals are dated but were impressive at the time

Movie Info

Movie Name:  A Night to Remember

Studio:  The Rank Organisation

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  July 3, 1958

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

night to remember titanic sinks

It was sad when the great ship when down to the bottom of the sea!

On April 10, 1912, the Titanic sets sail on its maiden voyage.  The unsinkable ship was the peak of luxury and also a chance for the hopes and dreams of migrants hoping to reach the United States.  When the ship has a late night strike against an iceberg, it begins taking on water.  With attempts to contact aid and the ship quickly sinking, time is running out.  The Titanic is sinking, and a tragedy of worldwide proportions is about to occur.

Directed by Roy Ward Baker, A Night to Remember is a historical drama.  The British film adapts the 1955 book by Walter Lord and was released to critical acclaim.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #7).

I remember seeing A Night to Remember as a kid…and being terrified by it.  The sinking of the ship, the desperate attempts of the people to get off, and the deaths all were really scarring (in addition to a twisted Girl Scout song my sisters sang about the sinking).  Revisiting A Night to Remember, the story still holds up and though movies like Titanic have told the story with bigger fashion, the movie still is a powerhouse.

night to remember titanic band

Ok guys…Dust in the Wind…one last time

The movie does a lot to develop characters, but it is largely about the ship with the ship and the history the real character.  Despite technical differences discovered after the wreckage of the Titanic was found in 1985 (like the ship breaking in two), the film is largely considered a very accurate portrayal of the events leading to the sinking.  James Cameron did borrow some of the story aspects of the film for his version of the event.

The cast is sprawling and that is part of what “hurts” the movie.  It really doesn’t hurt the movie, but people might want more characters to identify with (like Cameron did in his version).  The most developed character is probably Charles Lightoller who receives the most screentime played by Kenneth More.  His attempts to save the passengers becomes a theme in the last part of the film (and you get to see him in his home life before the launch).  Bernard Fox who appears as one of the lookouts later appeared in 1997’s Titanic as Colonel Archibald Gracie IV.

night to remember lifeboat charles lighttoller kenneth more

Wait guys…this works way better if we flip it over!

The film excels in its visuals especially when you consider when it was made.  The movie uses large models in wide shots, but it is the sets and the sinking scenes were you can see how much work went into making the film look accurate.  This combines with the slowly rising tension as the actors realize the danger and culminates in the horrifying sinking.

A Night to Remember holds up because the story isn’t a story.  The idea of this happening and how everything unfolded is both terrifying and thrilling.  It turned men into heroes, heroes into cowards, and showed both the best of humanity and its worse.  The years have advanced film’s special effects, but the themes and ideas of A Night to Remember keep it relevant today.

Related Links:

Titanic (1997)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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