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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 the A Night to Remember Blu-ray Review
Starring: Kenneth More, Ronald Allen, Robert Ayres, Honor Blackman, Michael Goodliffe, Laurence Naismith
Director: Roy Ward Baker
» See full cast & crew
A Night to Remember Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, March 18, 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 Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include an original trailer for the film; documentary film directed by Ray Johnson; video interview with Titanic survivor Eva Hart; documentary film produced for Swedish television; audio commentary with Don Lynch and Ken Marschall; and more. The disc also arrives with an illustrated booklet featuring an essay by film critic Michael Sragow. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "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 Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"This new high-definition digital transfer was created in 2K resolution on an ARRI Laser Scanner from the original 35mm camera negative, which was restored by the Private Archive for ITV Studios Global Entertainment. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI's DRS and Pixel Farm's PFClean, while Image System's DVNR was used for small dirt, grain, and noise reduction.
Restoration project supervisor: Steve Hilton/ITV Studios Global Entertainment, London.
Restoration project adviser: Fiona Maxwell/ITV Studios Global Entertainment, London.
Digital picture restoration: Deluxe 142, London.
Telecine supervisor: Richie Hornett/Deluxe Digital, London.
Colorist: Trevor Brown/Deluxe 142, London."
Anyone who has seen or still owns Criterion's now out of print DVD release of A Night to Remember will be enormously impressed with the massive upgrade in quality the Blu-ray release offers. There are huge improvements in every single area we typically address in our reviews - detail, clarity, contrast stability, color gradation, etc. Furthermore, where the old DVD release made the film look fuzzy, blocky, and jittery, now the Blu-ray release adds fluidity and depth that literally open up entire sequences and expose details that could have never been seen before. Especially during the final third of the film, where the majority of the longer nighttime sequences are, the improvements are very impressive. Additionally, there are no traces of overzealous sharpening or compromising denoising corrections. Unsurprisingly, a layer of consistent, well resolved light grain is present throughout the entire film (excluding, of course, the archival footage). Damage marks, debris, dirt, stains, and cuts have also been effectively removed. All in all, this a beautiful presentation of a truly excellent restoration, for which ITV Studios Global Entertainment undoubtedly deserve a lot of credit. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A 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 1.0. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"The original monaural soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the 35mm optical soundtrack. Clicks, thumps, hiss, and hum were manually removed using Pro Tools HD. Crackle was attenuated using AudioCube's integrated workstation."
I don't have any major reservations with the loseless audio track. Generally speaking, the dialog is crisper, clear, and better rounded than it appears on the lossy track from the DVD release. It is free of strong background hiss and there are no high-frequencies distortions. It is clear that various stabilizations have been performed as well because there are no balance fluctuations with William Alwyn's music score either. For the record, there are no sync issues or audio dropouts.
A Night to Remember Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
A Night to Remember Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Criterion's Blu-ray release of director Roy Ward Baker's terrific A Night to Remember is a thing of beauty. Recently restored by ITV Studios Global Entertainment, the film looks simply wonderful in high-definition. I strongly urge you to consider upgrading your DVD releases, and if you do not yet have the film in your collections, you should move this Blu-ray release to the very top of your purchase lists. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
A Night to Remember Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Two Titanic Classics: A Night to Remember and Titanic, Behind the... - April 3, 2012
1912, long remembered when the ship Titanic hit an Iceberg. Within a short time it sank to the bottom of the ocean, killing over a thousand people. Two Titanic films from the 1950's make it to Blu-ray. Rank Organization's A Night to Remember and Fox's Titanic. ...
• 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 ...
• Criterion Blu-ray in March: Scorsese, Kalatozov, Hegedus & Penneb... - December 15, 2011
The Criterion Collection has posted their full roster of Blu-ray releases for February 2012. Titles include Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, Mikhail Kalatozov's Letter Never Sent, Chris Hegedus & D.A. Pennebaker's The War Room, the David Lean Directs ...
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