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A Night to Remember(1958)
Based on Walter Lord's popular book, A Night to Remember recounts the sailing of the Titanic, billed as the "unsinkable ship," and its inevitable voyage toward the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and doom.
For more about A Night to Remember and the A Night to Remember Blu-ray release, see A Night to Remember Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on April 3, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Writers: Walter Lord, Eric Ambler
Starring: Kenneth More, Ronald Allen, Robert Ayres, Honor Blackman, Anthony Bushell, John Cairney
» See full cast & crew
A Night to Remember Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, April 3, 2012
Winner of Golden Globe Award for Best English-Language Foreign Film, Roy Ward Baker's "A Night to Remember" (1958) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors ITV Studios Home Entertainment. The supplemental features on the disc include original theatrical trailer and restorations demonstration; documentary film directed by Ray Johnson; production notes; costume notes; press and publicity materials; and a collection of stills from the production of the film. In English, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
There is a world of difference between James Cameron's mega blockbuster Titanic and Roy Ward Baker's A Night to Remember. The former is a lavish, breathtakingly beautiful melodrama that rivals the greatest Hollywood epics. It tells a story about a great tragedy, but it also tells a story about two people madly in love with each other. The latter is a rawer, grittier, completely free of melodrama film without stars. It chronicles the same tragedy Cameron's film does, but it relies on facts to do so rather than special effects.
A Night to Remember begins with a short prologue showing the launch of Titanic on her maiden voyage in April 1912. The archival footage used in the prologue, however, is from the launch of RMS Queen Elizabeth in September 1938. (Actual archival footage from the launch of Titanic does not exist). Nevertheless, the raw visuals certainly give a good idea about the atmosphere these ceremonies once created.
Next there are a series of quick looks at various final preparations. Then a large number of colorful characters are introduced, some incredibly wealthy and demanding attention, others less fortunate and easier to please; key crew members are also identified.
The majority of the crucial events are seen through the eyes of Second Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller (Kenneth More, The Deep Blue Sea, The 39 Steps). Naturally, his character transformation is also the most complete and convincing one. The important roles of Captain Smith (Laurence Naismith, Jason and the Argonauts), First Officer William Murdoch (Richard Leech, Ice Cold in Alex), Wireless Operator John 'Jack' Phillips (Kenneth Griffith, Murder Can Be Deadly) and Assistant Wireless Operator Harold Bride (David McCallum, The Great Escape) are well documented, but their actions are not followed closely.
The chaos that precedes the sinking of Titanic is very convincing. On one hand there are the bolder passengers who give instructions to their loved ones and then try to follow orders; many understand well that they have little time left to live. On the other hand there are the frightened and angry passengers who want to get on the last remaining boats. The two groups eventually clash, while the sailors also try to follow the orders of their superiors.
The most disturbing visuals, however, come after Titanic sinks. The people in the boats can hear the screams of those who are slowly dying in the freezing water but cannot help. Then comes the heavy silence, broken occasionally by sobs and tears.
A Night to Remember is based on the book by American writer Walter Lord, who spent years researching the events that led to the Titanic disaster. Unsurprisingly, the film often feels like an important documentary in which facts and details are certainly given proper attention.
Some of the key sequences in A Night to Remember were filmed at Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire. There, the production team used blue prints from Titanic to accurately recreate important sets. Joseph Boxhall, the ship's fourth officer, and ex-Cunard Commodore Harry Grattidge also served as technical advisers during the production process.
Note: In 1959, A Night to Remember won Golden Globe Award for Best English-Language Foreign Film.
A Night to Remember Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.67:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Roy Ward Baker's A Night to Remember arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of ITV Studios Home Entertainment.
The basic characteristics of the high-definition transfer are practically identical to those of the one used by Criterion for their Blu-ray release of A Night to Remember, which should not be surprising as the film was restored by the Private Archive for ITV Studios Global Entertainment. However, there are a few small discrepancies between the two. To be clear, brightness levels appear to have been slightly elevated here, or Criterion appear to have toned down brightness levels on their release. The difference is extremely small, but if one compares the two releases, one is likely to notice it (compare screencapture #8 with screencapture #2 from our review of the Criterion release). Compression is also slightly better on the Criterion release. Detail, clarity, and image depth, however, are virtually identical. I compared a number of specific sequences from the two releases and could not see much of a difference. Especially when there is plenty of light (see screencapture #3), the image quality is very impressive. Finally, there are no purely transfer-specific anomalies to report in this review. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
A Night to Remember Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English LPCM 2.0. For the record, ITV Studios Home Entertainment have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
The audio has the same level of depth and clarity present on the Criterion release. There are no dynamic fluctuations either (I compared the sequence where the musicians perform their last piece while people are running around them, screaming and crying). Additionally, there are no sync issues, audio dropouts, or distortions to report in this review.
A Night to Remember Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
A Night to Remember Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
It is obvious that ITV Studios Home Entertainment's release of Roy Ward Baker's A Night to Remember uses the same restoration Criterion's release does. This said, there are some minor discrepancies between their high-definition transfers, but, in my opinion, not substantial enough to declare that one of the two releases is superior. Now, as far as supplemental features are concerned, Criterion's release easily wins. Naturally, those of you who could play Region-A "locked" discs should definitely consider importing it. Ultimately, however, no matter where you reside, I urge you to add A Night to Remember to your collections. The restoration is fabulous and the film has never ever looked this good before. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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A Night to Remember Blu-ray, News and Updates
• A Night to Remember Blu-ray - December 21, 2011
British distirbutors ITV DVD have announced that they will release on Blu-ray director Roy Ward Baker's A Night to Remember (1958), starring Kenneth More, Honor Blackman, Michael Goodliffe, and David McCallum. Exact technical specs, region coding status and supplemental ...
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