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A Night to Remember Movie Review

kenneth titanic rose michael

Eva Hart (1905–96) thought that of all the movies made about the Titanic, A Night to Remember came the closest to capturing those last few hours aboard the “unsinkable” ship, and Miss Hart ought to know; as a seven-year-old child, she was saved from drowning by her no-nonsense mother, Esther, but her father Benjamin went down with the ship. The large cast is upstaged by the White Star liner, but there are some unforgettable moments here by some very fine actors. Michael Goodliffe (1914–76) as Titanic designer Thomas Andrews gives a performance of such agonized restraint that it's almost impossible to believe that he's acting. Courteous and gracious nearly to the end, only a flicker of his dark eyes betrays the horror that he takes such pains to conceal. George Rose (1920–88) as Charles Joghlin does absolutely everything wrong, yet he is said to have survived his many hours paddling in the Atlantic because the massive quantities of alcohol he consumed served as a sort of anti-freeze. (Remember that if you're ever on the world's “safest” cruise.) Honor Blackman was still an English rose at this stage of her career (no leather on A-deck), but acquits herself admirably as a first-class passenger who must confront the reality of instant widowhood. Kenneth More (1914–82) was at the height of his popularity, so who better to play Herbert Lightoller, who enforced the policy of “women and children first” and then managed to swim to safety? If there were villains of the piece besides arrogance, carelessness, and neglect, Bruce Ismay (played as “The Chairman” by Frank Lawton, 1904–69), who urged that the Titanic beat some sort of speed record through the icy waters, Phillips (Kenneth Griffith), who ignored ice warning after ice warning all day Sunday, and Captain Lord (Laurence Naismith, 1908–92), who went to bed early while the Titanic sent repeated distress signals less than 10 miles away, top the list of the usual suspects. A Night to Remember, with its contracting perspectives of useless opulence and imminent mortality, makes April 15, 1912, seem like yesterday, not over 85 years in the past.

1958 119m/B Kenneth More, David McCallum, Anthony Bushell, Honor Blackman, Michael Goodliffe, George Rose, Laurence Naismith, Frank Lawton, Alec McCowen, Jill Dixon, John Cairney, Joseph Tomelty, Jack Watling, Richard Clarke, Ralph Michael, Kenneth Griffith; D: Roy Ward Baker; W: Eric Ambler; C: Geoffrey Unsworth. Golden Globe Awards ‘59: Best Foreign Film. VHS, LV, DVD

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