Quick Review : A Night to Remember (1958)

Directed By – Roy Ward Baker
Starring – Kenneth More, Ronald Allen, Robert Ayres, Honor Blackman, Anthony Bushell, and Michael Goodliffe

Ahhh, a film about the Titanic. I remember reading about it in elementary school and then waiting a whole year to see the James Cameron version on VHS. Remember when it used to take a whole year for a film to be released on home video? It’s like two months now. Crazy. I wasn’t allowed to see it in theaters because my mother heard there was boob in it. I remember being shocked when a few classmates were able to go see it with their families. “DID YOU SEE ANY BOOB?” I would ask. They saw boob. They also saw a ship of 2300 people go down and over a thousand people die, but hey, Kate Winslet got nakey. I think it actually took me three or four viewings before I even got to see her naked. My parents would watch the film before hand, figure out precisely the moment before she got naked, pause the movie, and tell me it’s time for bedtime. I saw through their shit. I stuck out of bed one night and watched that whole damn movie at three in the morning. You know what’s funny? I didn’t give a shit about Kate Winslet naked. I gave about as much of a shit as I do now, which is not much. I was more interested in rewinding the part where the guys legs hit the propeller blade and he does like 12 flips before he hits the water. Wasn’t childhood fun?

Anyway, that film sucks for the most part. In watching the “original” version from Criterion I learned a few things. James Cameron takes other filmmakers ideas and recreates them using his fancy technology. I’d honestly rather watch a Michael Bay film instead of a James Cameron film not named T2 because I think that guy sucks that much. I admitted to taking a lot of ideas, characters, and even full lines from the original film, so I can’t say that he stole from this film, but my god is he an unoriginal bastard. You remember that scene where the band plays as the ship is sinking? Re-done. Mr. Andrews going down with his creation? Re-done. Fuck, even the gypsie dance, the iceberg hockey, and the fact that they cast Kathy Bates to mimic everything Tucker McGuire did as “Molly Brown”. All re-done. There was so much more heart and soul in this film that “Titanic” couldn’t even touch with a ten foot pole. The look of terror on the kids faces. The snobby way the 1st class passengers treated the steerage passengers. It was just better. Hell, I even got a little teary eyed during the end. Titanic never had that effect on me. Not for a second.

“A Night to Remember” is a great telling of what happened on that ship. They used actual survivor stories to recreate that night and it shows. The terror that those people must have lived through was accurately portrayed by a crew in a studio. The film is a fantastic document of that night. The last 30 minutes in particular being pretty damn fantastic. I recommend seeing this film if you liked the James Cameron version even a little. It’s a vastly superior film.


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