7 A Night to Remember

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Martha
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7 A Night to Remember

#1 Post by Martha » Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:18 pm

A Night to Remember

Image Image

On April 14, 1912, just before midnight, the unsinkable Titanic struck an iceberg. In less than three hours, it had plunged to the bottom of the sea, taking with it more than 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers. In his unforgettable rendering of Walter Lord’s book of the same name, A Night to Remember, the acclaimed British director Roy Ward Baker depicts with sensitivity, awe, and a fine sense of tragedy the ship’s final hours. Featuring remarkably restrained performances, A Night to Remember is cinema’s subtlest, finest dramatization of this monumental twentieth-century catastrophe.

Disc Features

- New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- Audio commentary by Don Lynch and Ken Marschall, author and illustrator of Titanic: An Illustrated History
- The Making of “A Night to Remember” (1993), a sixty-minute documentary featuring William MacQuitty’s rare behind-the-scenes footage
- Archival interview with Titanic survivor Eva Hart
- The Iceberg That Sank the Titanic (2006), a sixty-minute BBC documentary
- En natt att minas, a forty-five-minute Swedish documentary from 1962 featuring interviews with Titanic survivors
- Trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Michael Sragow


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devlinnn
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#2 Post by devlinnn » Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:43 am

After a number of viewings over the years, the very clean, as new DVD faills to load in more than one machine. Grrrr. As I wait for a reply from Criterion, I'm wondering if anyone else has had problems with this one.

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#3 Post by Godot » Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:48 pm

James, quite coincidentally, I rented this (again) from Netflix last week to show my sister-in-law (who was enjoying the book by Lord, but had no idea a film was produced), and had difficulty loading the movie. It didn't work in three of my players, but finally did in my cheap-o Cyberhome (and did in two others I subsequently checked). I figured it was the disc condition, so I polished it up (I could clearly see some gouges) and had the same results. Not really sure what the problem was.

Damn good movie, though, and I love the commentary and making-of extras.

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#4 Post by kinjitsu » Thu Apr 21, 2005 12:39 pm

devlinnn wrote:After a number of viewings over the years, the very clean, as new DVD faills to load in more than one machine. Grrrr. As I wait for a reply from Criterion, I'm wondering if anyone else has had problems with this one.
This happens in one of my players as well. Has Criterion responded as yet?

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#5 Post by devlinnn » Thu Apr 21, 2005 7:37 pm

This happens in one of my players as well. Has Criterion responded as yet?
Only with the predictable 'you look to have a faulty disc. Return to place of purchase, or mail it to us and we will exchange it.' An official statement on the website regarding problems with this DVD would be welcome, as it looks to be more than a one-off.

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#6 Post by kinjitsu » Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:19 pm

JM replies:
It sounds like you have a faulty disc.

I believe your best bet would be to return your copy of A NIGHT TO REMEMBER to the point to purchase and exchange it for a new disc. Or, if you prefer, you may exchange this disc directly through Criterion by sending the faulty DVD to our offices at:

As soon as we receive your disc, we will send a replacement A NIGHT TO REMEMBER to you. Please enclose a mailing address (U.S. and Canadian addresses only - we are unable to ship exchanges abroad) with your DVD.
Last edited by kinjitsu on Sun Aug 10, 2008 12:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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#7 Post by fliggil » Wed Apr 27, 2005 5:00 pm

Has anyone tried sending their disc to CC for a replacement? My copy hasn't been loading, just want to make sure they're actually taking care of the problem before I send mine out.

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#8 Post by devlinnn » Wed Apr 27, 2005 5:29 pm

I'm not from the US or Canada, so am unable to take up the offer, but returns should be OK as long as you inform them first. (Or just copy out Kinji's reply from Criterion - this is the blanket response to any problems, letter for letter)

But this really is not good enough from Criterion. There is a major problem with the DVD that they are refusing to acknowledge exists. Why would a DVD suddenly not load after a number of years? Is the problem with a particular pressing? Will it occur again in a couple of years? Until they are more forthcoming, I'd advise not purchasing the DVD.

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#9 Post by david hare » Wed Apr 27, 2005 5:42 pm

This sounds very much like the problem with the AMARCORD disc which also refused to load after a couple of years. I canvassed this in the last forum and the wash up was Criterion agreed to replace it but only for North American customers.

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#10 Post by dx23 » Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:05 pm

But this really is not good enough from Criterion. There is a major problem with the DVD that they are refusing to acknowledge exists. Why would a DVD suddenly not load after a number of years? Is the problem with a particular pressing? Will it occur again in a couple of years? Until they are more forthcoming, I'd advise not purchasing the DVD.
Criterion disc are not the only one suffering from this loading problem. There are several Warner DVDs that have what it is call "DVD Rot" and for the moment I have only heard that it has occured to DVDs from the late 90's. I know some laserdiscs had rotting problems, but I thought that the DVD technology was going to eliminate that.

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#11 Post by BWilson » Mon May 02, 2005 8:29 pm

I went home and checked and just for the record my Amarcord plays fine but my Night To Remember does not load.

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#12 Post by kinjitsu » Tue May 03, 2005 3:38 pm

I returned my copy of Night To Remember to Criterion yesterday... more as it happens...

Follow-up: promptly replaced
Last edited by kinjitsu on Sat Sep 16, 2006 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#13 Post by Narshty » Wed Jun 22, 2005 8:45 am

Curiously, there are several very noticeable differences between the back covers of the first and second printing (including a change of licensor).

First Printing

Second Printing

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#14 Post by zedz » Mon Feb 27, 2006 6:49 pm

This disc was so cheap from DVD Planet recently that I splashed out. I was pleasantly surprised.

The movie has held up amazingly well. It's beautifully structured, getting to the iceberg in an efficient 30 minutes (and thankfully underplaying the back-stories of the future victims - most characters only get, and only need, a brief vignette to establish identification) and thereafter unfolding pretty much in real time, without turning that into a constricting gimmick. The effects were delivered with enough craft to retain their persuasive power and the performances are straight and solid, as precisely engineered as the multi-focus plotting.

The sharp transfer of a clean print looked great on my tube, though it's probably a bit dated for more advanced set-ups. This struck me as one of the best overall packages among the earliest Criterion titles. The hour-long documentary (a bit of a rough-and-ready transfer) contains extensive, wonderful making-of footage and is very nicely complemented by the engaging Titanic-geek commentary.

A disc well worth a rental or, if it's cheap enough, a blind buy.

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#15 Post by Narshty » Sun Apr 23, 2006 11:26 am

A totally brilliant film, and one of those inexplicable instances where an otherwise pedestrian director achieves a short burst of utter mastery. It is a consummate lesson in the use of contrasts to engineer tension - the continual intercutting between the growingly desperate situation among the ship's crew and the uncomprehending irritation of the passengers effortlessly ramps up the tension.

It struck me how infinitely less suspenseful an experience it would be if all those who drowned weren't British - the sheer pig-headed stubbornness of nearly everyone in first and second class ("But WHY must I put on my lifejacket?") adds tenfold to the suspense and excitement, as well as the staggering heartlessness of refusing to allow the steerage passengers onto the top deck until the rich folk have got all the boats they need.

Just like the the characters themselves, no-one involved in the film either in front or behind the camera makes an effort to stand out or show off. The restraint of the film is its major key to success. With all due respect, Roy Ward Baker is no-one's idea of a brilliant cinematic mind, but there's one truly immortal shot in the film - a dinner trolley in an empty dining hall that starts to slide across the floor for a moment just after the fateful iceberg. It's a perfect example of the kind of prescient understatement of the rest of the film that makes it so gripping.

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#16 Post by tryavna » Sun Apr 23, 2006 12:09 pm

Narshty wrote:With all due respect, Roy Ward Baker is no-one's idea of a brilliant cinematic mind, but there's one truly immortal shot in the film - a dinner trolley in an empty dining hall that starts to slide across the floor for a moment just after the fateful iceberg. It's a perfect example of the kind of prescient understatement of the rest of the film that makes it so gripping.
I'm in complete agreement with you about the brilliance of that one image, and I suppose I'm not willing to push too much for Baker as an under-appreciated director. However, I think his best work is in the Hammer film adaptation of Quatermass and the Pit (a.k.a. "Five Million Miles to Earth"). That movie demonstrates the same ultra-effective level of restraint and understatement, but the fact that, going into the movie for the first time, a viewer has no idea what the end result of the film will be ratchets up the suspense even more. I guess I just find Quatermass and the Pit creepy in a way that any Titanic story can never be -- I mean, there's not much ambiguity about what's going to to happen to the boat at the end. :wink:

Anyway, all I'm saying is that, if you liked Baker's work in Night to Remember, you should also check out Quatermass and the Pit.

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#17 Post by Gordon » Sun Apr 23, 2006 6:09 pm

Roy Baker was a pretty subtle director and most of the films he directed seem to passing into memory. The One That Got Away (1957) is quite a film, very tautly directed. It was recently re-released in the UK by Network replacing the OOP Granada disc: £7.49 at Amazon.

I haven't seen The October Man (1947) for a few years, but I recall it as being very good.

He did a few films in America - The House in the Square (1951) and Inferno (1953), both for Fox, sound very interesting, but I have yet to see them. I'd particularly like to see Inferno, which stars Robert Ryan as a man left for dead with a broken leg in the middle of the Mojave Desert by his wife and her lover. It was shot in 3-D with cinematography by the great Lucien Ballard, too boot! Robert Ryan is immensely strong-willed in most of his films and this one sounds like it is purely about will-power - and revenge, with a great ending, apparently. The House in the Square seems to be some kind of wistful time-travel fantasy with Tyrone Power about a scientist who is disaffected with the Modern Age and slips back to 18th Century London and falls in love. Sounds like a great sunday afternoon uplifter. Come on, Fox, get 'em out!

Quatermass and the Pit is brilliantly executed. I haven't seen it for a long time, though. I have read that Anchor Bay (?) are planning a new edition, with a HD anamorphic transfer in the near future.

So, yeah, Baker was a pretty reliable craftsman and A Night to Remember is subtly effective as Narshty points out, with some nice touches. Not bad for someone who started out as a teaboy! I don't own the film on DVD, although I'd like to see the film again. I am slowly trying to collect the best of Geoffrey Unsworth on DVD for studying purposes, although I'm not sure whether to just rent the UK disc or stump up for the Criterion, as the transfer seems to be the best (though non-progressive and non-anamorphic) and the commentary sounds interesting.

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#18 Post by Suzukifan » Wed May 02, 2007 12:07 pm

There was a two for one sale recently at a local store and I picked this up on a whim. It really is a small gem and extremely entertaining.

Very solid all around. Good acting, sets, script and tan interesting commentary track went into the history and facts of the sinking.

With the success of the Cameron epic this probably wouldn't have gone under the radar, still good that Criterion made it available. Well worth a look.

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#19 Post by Solaris » Sun Jul 22, 2007 8:31 am

The first ever film about the Titanic sinking, In Nacht und Eis (1912), will be released on DVD in Germany sometime this year (well, according to wikipedia that is.

Has anybody checked out the Kino release of the 1943 German film Titanic? How is the film/quality?

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#20 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Jul 22, 2007 10:35 am

Solaris wrote:The first ever film about the Titanic sinking, In Nacht und Eis (1912), will be released on DVD in Germany sometime this year (well, according to wikipedia that is.
Was that the film mentioned in the Cinema Europe series? Where they had two different endings, one happy and one sad for the more cyncial European audiences?

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#21 Post by denti alligator » Sun Jul 22, 2007 11:43 am

Praise for this film intrigues me. As an early spine number, how is the transfer? Interlaced?

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#22 Post by tryavna » Sun Jul 22, 2007 12:25 pm

Solaris wrote:Has anybody checked out the Kino release of the 1943 German film Titanic? How is the film/quality?
The Kino is a PAL->NTSC port, with the usual problems inherent therein.

The movie itself is rather wacky and deserves to be seen at least once. Obviously, it was made during the war and thus takes on a bizarre propagandistic element: the hero of the film is a (fictional) German second officer who openly expresses his concerns about the blind British hubris that is speeding the ship to its doom. The sets and special effect are fairly impressive, considering what limitations the German film industry must have been facing in 1943. It's not quite as fun as Munchausen, but it's worth a rental.

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#23 Post by Person » Sun Jul 22, 2007 12:55 pm

denti alligator wrote:Praise for this film intrigues me. As an early spine number, how is the transfer? Interlaced?
DVD Beaver review. I'm not sure if it is an interlaced transfer.

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#24 Post by Solaris » Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:40 am

A Night To Remember is a brilliant film and Criterion have released a great DVD; the commentary is well worth listening to if you are interested in the disaster.

I re-watched the film recently and noticed how many scenes "inspired" James Cameron and his film (apparently his film has many similarities with the 1943 German film as well).

Curiously, the print used by Criterion is edited:
IMDb wrote:The US Criterion Collection DVD is slightly edited: after thet Titanic has sunk, 2nd Officer Lightoller (Kenneth More) is on top of the upturned Collapsible lifeboat, a steward swims up to him with a child. Lightoller takes the child, but in the DVD, you don't see him find out that the child is already dead, and then he gently places him in the water. There is also an "epilogue". It describes how the passengers did not die in vain: "The International Ice Patrol now Watches the Seas and a ceaseless radio vigil is in place, etc." In earlier versions, these titles are missing. Only the background footage of toys, deck chairs, and other wreckage floating on the water fills the screen. It is in this version, with no "epilogue", where Lightoller is seen lowering the dead child into the water.

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#25 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:57 am

Person wrote:
denti alligator wrote:Praise for this film intrigues me. As an early spine number, how is the transfer? Interlaced?
DVD Beaver review. I'm not sure if it is an interlaced transfer.
29.97fps = interlaced, if I'm not mistaken.

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