A Night to Remember

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Roy Ward Baker

REVIEWED: 08-25-97

Kenneth More, Honor Blackman, Michael Goodliffe, David McCallum (Criterion Collection laserdisc)

With James Cameron's spectacular filmic version of the sinking of the Titanic waiting in the wings for fall or Christmas release, interest in the 1912 nautical disaster is likely to be rekindled (not that it ever goes away), and will invite comparison to previous celluloid interpretations of the event that for many clearly defined the end of an era. A Night to Remember is certainly the finest telling of the Titanic's fateful maiden voyage to date. Titanic, with Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck, was a melodrama that used the disaster as a backdrop, and suffers considerably when compared to A Night to Remember. Presented in a straightforward and very British fashion, A Night to Remember derives its drama from the truly compelling nature of the events that claimed over 1,500 lives. The cast is splendid, the direction taut and economical, and the visual effects quite impressive for their time. With a running time of just over two hours, A Night to Remember provides a much more involving and intense viewing experience than most of the bloated, overwrought set-piece action films that now fill theatres every summer. The Criterion Collection has become synonymous with the highest quality in laserdiscs, and A Night to Remember is no exception. The letterboxed black-and-white image is consistently sharp, highlighting Geoffrey Unsworth's stellar cinematography. The set also includes an hour-long special on the making of the film, an additional audio track with commentary, and the American and British theatrical trailers.

--Bud Simons

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A Night to Remember

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A Night to Remember

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