Based on the classic novel written by Walter Lord and directed skilfully by veteran Roy Baker, A Night To Remember is the true story of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.
Devoid of the meandering love story which so many hated in the James Cameron filming of the incident, Lord's version is much shorter at less than two hours, with the iceberg being struck after only thirty minutes, and largely sticks to the confirmed facts of that fateful night.
Kenneth Moore gives one of his usual commanding performances as Second Officer Lightoller, whose actions helped save so many lives. Good too are many of the other cast. Lawrence Naismith is Captain Smith, Honor Blackman a wealthy passenger, David McCallum a Titanic wireless operator and Michael Goodliffe creates a heartfelt portrayal as ship designer, Thomas Andrews.
While Cameron could use the latest in CGI technology which has flooded the Cinema Industry and is now commonplace, Baker had to rely on old-fashioned sets and model work, but manages so skilfully with these tools that few dubious shots can be seen. The fact his film is black and white and uses genuine footage of the Titanic leaving Harbour also helps gives it a semi-documentary feel which works favourably.
While the film mainly focuses on a select group of key characters, it also attempts (with some success) to answer a few of the mysteries surrounding the tragedy - such as why the nearby Californian did nothing while Titanic was sinking (thereby dooming many of the passengers to a watery grave) but does not administer blame. Nor, too, is the disaster glorified in any way. Baker simply tells the story as it happened and leaves the audience to draw their own conclusions.
For a film over fifty years old picture and sound quality are excellent, while the original 16:9 widescreen ratio is also a welcome bonus. There is a nice range of Special Features, too. These include in-depth biographies, numerous production photographs and portrait stills, the Original Trailer and a fascinating hour-long documentary exploring both the film and the event on which it is based.
Anyone with an interest in the Titanic or who just wishes to see a real-life drama without unnecessary gung-ho heroics will find A Night To Remember well worth watching and it is definitely A Film To Remember, too!