Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (1958). Roy Ward Baker.

A Night to Remember takes a more detached, clinical view of the Titanic tragedy than other cinematic versions, and while there are vignettes of various characters, we never get to know any of them very well. There is much more detail concerning the final fates of the people left aboard the ship -- scrabbling frantically as the ship begins to tilt, jumping into the frigid water, and so on -- and we see the squabbling on some of the lifeboats as people argue as to whether or not they should go back to pick up survivors. Certain moments are unsparing, such as when a pair of newlyweds are apparently crushed by the falling smokestack. But while the final scenes in Remember are harrowing and horrifying -- and you can't help but be moved by them -- they lack the human drama, and therefore, the emotional intensity, of the Webb/Stanwyck Titanic. Furthermore, the actor who plays the ship's designer essays it in a stoic, completely unreal manner, and certain scenes, such as Isadore Strauss and his wife deciding to stay on the ship together, lack the impact of their counterparts in the original.

Verdict: Enough to make you take a plane. **1/2.

No comments: