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For Titanic Disaster's 100th Anniversary, 'A Night to Remember' Comes to Criterion Blu-ray: Docudrama meets Pinewood Studios

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood March 29, 2012 at 1:38PM

With James Cameron grabbing headlines for his deep ocean plunges and "Titanic" 3-D re-release, the doomed oceanliner is back in headlines. Another terrific Titanic flick, "A Night to Remember," has come to the Criterion Collection in a new digital restoration, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the RMS Titanic's sinking.

By comparison, James Cameron's terrific VFX epic "Titanic" is windswept with emotion from beginning to end, a five-hankie showstopper bursting at the seams with romance, grandeur and Celine Dion. It's unguarded, all-stops cinema. While Cameron's film openly moves from revelry to tragedy, "A Night to Remember" feels more private, like a standoffish acquaintance who comes to you sobbing, gasping in his last moments of life. It's unsettling and riveting.

The Criterion Collection has outdone itself with special features. Everything you could ever want to know about the film or the Titanic disaster can probably be found in the 3 (!) documentaries included: "The Making of 'A Night to Remember,'" with rare behind-the-scenes footage; the BBC's "The Iceberg That Sank the Titanic"; and Sweden's "En natt att minnas" featuring interviews with the ship's survivors.

Angelinos, take note: The TCM Classic Film Festival will present a brand-new, beautifully restored DCP of "A Night to Remember" on April 14 at 9:30 PM, the exact 100th anniversary -- almost to the minute -- of the sinking.

This article is related to: Classics, Reviews, DVD and VOD, DVDs, Reviews, James Cameron

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.