A powerful, impressively mounted re-creation of the Titanic disaster, told from the point of view of Second Officer Charles Lightoller, the most senior crew member to survive. With its tilting, groaning sets, and a cast movingly evoking both grace under fire and the character-testing fraying of nerves, the film brings alive the tragically familiar saga as if it is unfolding anew before our eyes. The best-known achievement of director Roy Ward Baker, a consummate studio stalwart who passed away last year at 93.
“A Night to Remember has a plainspoken complexity. It emphasizes that laxness, snobbery, and hubris coexisted with discipline and courage on a night when 705 were saved and roughly 1500 lost. The film allows you to be infuriated by any number of screw-ups and oversights, including the neglect of steerage passengers, yet still be awestruck by the crisp judgment of the ship’s captain (Laurence Naismith), second officer (Kenneth More), and builder (Michael Goodliffe).”