This meticulous re-creation of the sinking of the Titanic was adapted by Eric Ambler from the best-selling book by Walter Lord, and it preceded the blockbuster Titanic by almost 40 years. The film covers the life and death of the huge vessel from its launching celebration to that fateful night of April 14, 1912, when the "unsinkable" ship struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Of the 2224 passengers on board, 1513 were drowned as a result of the bad planning of lifeboats and escape routes. Kenneth More heads a huge and stellar cast, with 200 speaking parts, as second officer Herbert Lightoller, from whose point-of-view the story unfolds. Also in the cast are Laurence Naismith as the ill-fated Captain Smith; Michael Goodliffe as conscience-stricken ship's designer Thomas Andrews; Tucker McGuire as feisty American millionaire Molly Brown, whose courage and tenacity saved many lives; and Anthony Bushell as the captain of the Carpathia, who launched a noble but vain rescue mission once he was apprised of the disaster. Also appearing are two future TV favorites: The Avengers' Honor Blackman as a woman who believes that she has nothing to live for, and The Man From UNCLE's David McCallum as a wireless operator. The climactic sinking of the vessel is re-created with painstaking accuracy; filmed in "real time," it is a mere 37 minutes shorter than the actual tragedy. Two years before the film's release, an American TV adaptation of A Night to Remember set a precedent as the most elaborate and technically complex "live" broadcast of its time. Some viewers will find this movie a more accurate and gripping representation of this sea disaster than the romance-heavy Titanic.
by Hal Erickson synopsis