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directed by Roy Ward Baker
UK 1958

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, the acclaimed British director Roy Ward Baker depicts with sensitivity, awe, and a fine sense of tragedy the ship’s last hours. Featuring remarkably restrained performances, A Night to Remember is cinema’s subtlest and best dramatization of this monumental twentieth-century catastrophe.

***

A conscientious and straightforward recountal of the Titanic disaster, A Night to Remember strikes a deep note of sorrow in its multitude of stories. In 1912 perhaps the most widely publicised ship of modern times was launched, to great fanfare and acclaim. Arguably the finest ship ever to set sail (metaphorically speaking), its maiden voyage can be nothing but a celebration of Man's ingenuity over Nature's chaos. Across the land people make ready for their voyage, all segregated into First, Second and Steerage Class dependent upon their purchasing power. For Herbert Lightoller (Kenneth More), the 2nd officer, this post represents the crowning moment of his career so far. He may even feel prouder than J. Bruce Ismay (Frank Lawton), Managing Director of White Star Lines.
In dock Captain Edward Smith (Laurence Naismith) is pleased to note the final passenger tally of 2207 souls, all bound for New York. Already they have separated out into their own, familiar worlds. In first class the fittings are opulent, such that the Titanic lives up to its reputation as a floating palace; Sir (Patrick Waddington) and Lady Richard (Harriette Johns) are in their element. Nearby stands Thomas Andrews (Michael Goodliffe), the ship's designer and builder, basking in the glory. Already his mind is considering potential improvements.

 

Excerpt from Damian Cannon's excellent film review located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 3, 1958

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Comparison: 

Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

Box Cover

On March 19th, ITV has their UK Blu-ray Released:

Distribution

Criterion Collection - Spine # 7

Region 0 - NTSC

Criterion Collection ( spine # 7 )

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Runtime 2:02:32 2:03:45.835
Video

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.89 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,545,998,959 bytes

Feature: 27,818,188,800 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio Dolby Digital 1.0 LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection - Spine # 7

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Pristine digital transfer with restored image and sound in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.66:1
• Commentary by Don Lynch, author, and Ken Marshall, illustrator, of Titanic—An Illustrated History
• The Making of “A Night to Remember” (1993), a 60-minute documentary featuring William MacQuitty’s rare behind-the-scenes footage
• Optimal image quality: dual-layer edition

DVD Release Date: June 16, 1998
Keep Case

Chapters 42

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection - Spine # 7

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

1080P / Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,545,998,959 bytes

Feature: 27,818,188,800 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• 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 producer William MacQuitty’s rare behind-the-scenes footage
• Archival interview with Titanic survivor Eva Hart
• En natt att minnas (1962), a half-hour Swedish documentary featuring interviews with Titanic survivors
• The Iceberg That Sank the “Titanic” (2006), a sixty-minute BBC documentary
• Trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Michael Sragow and archival photographs

Blu-ray Release Date: March 27th, 2012
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 40

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - March 2012: The non-anamorphic, flatter, SD doesn't hold a candle in-motion to the new Criterion, dual-layered, Blu-ray which advances in expected areas - contrast, detail and looks to be more horizontally proportionate - as well as showing, significantly, more information in the frame on all 4 edges of the 1.66:1 original aspect ratio. No depth and minor grain but the image quality is very clean and consistent.

The linear PCM track stays faithfully mono - but exports some perceived depth. It seesm clear and flawless although without any noteworthy features. There are optional subtitles on the region 'A'-locked disc. ITV is the UK are also coming out with A Night To Remember HERE.

The Criterion Blu-ray includes the 1994-recorded audio commentary by Don Lynch and Ken Marschall, author and illustrator of “Titanic”: An Illustrated History - as well as the 1993, a sixty-minute documentary, entitled The Making of “A Night to Remember” (1993), featuring producer William MacQuitty’s rare behind-the-scenes footage. There is an archival interview with Titanic survivor Eva Hart and En natt att minnas (1962), a half-hour Swedish documentary featuring interviews with Titanic survivors - plus a fairly substantial sixty-minute 2006 BBC documentary; The Iceberg That Sank the “Titanic” (2006), a trailer, plus a booklet featuring an essay by film critic Michael Sragow and archival photographs.

This remains and engrossing film and unique study of the calamitous event. Criterion have added some great supplements and the more film-like Blu-ray can be easily recommended!

Gary Tooze

 

***

 

ON THE DVD: An early disc from Criterion. Supportive contrast and acceptable detail in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The only real room for improvement would come from an anamorphic transfer. The print used shows some slight damage that isn't really noticeable unless you're looking for it. The mono audio track is clean and doesn't exhibit any obvious damage. The two main extras are terrific and help to round out this release very nicely. Overall an outstanding disc that shows that even during their early releases Criterion had the goods.

 - Mark Balson

 


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Box Cover

On March 19th, ITV has their UK Blu-ray Released:

Distribution

Criterion Collection - Spine # 7

Region 0 - NTSC

Criterion Collection ( spine # 7 )

Region 'A' - Blu-ray



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