British director Roy Ward Baker, who helmed “A Night to Remember,” died Oct. 5 in London. He was 93.
Lensed in black and white, the 1958 pic, based on Walter Lord’s book, told the Titanic’s sinking without any fictional embellishments. Written by his friend and mentor Eric Ambler, the film drew upon their shared Army experience and was praised for its emotional restraint.
Baker started in 1934 as a gofer at London’s Gainsborough Studios before becoming assistant director for Alfred Hitchcock’s in 1938’s “The Lady Vanishes.” During World War II he fought for the British in the army’s Kinematograph Unit under writer-producer Ambler, who gave Baker the opportunity to direct after the war with 1947’s “The October Man.”
In the next decade as Roy Baker he helmed pics such as WWII thrillers “Passage Home,” true story “The One That Got Away” plus “Tiger in the Smoke” and “The Singer Not the Song” for the J. Arthur Rank Organization.
In 1952, Baker went to Hollywood where he directed films for 20th Century Fox including “Night Without Sleep,” “Don’t Bother to Knock” with Marily Monroe and “Inferno.”
On his return to the U.K. He spent 25 years helming series including “The Avengers,” and “The Saint” before turning to features. For horrormeister Hammer, he added the middle name Ward and directred a series of horror pics including “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and “The Vampire Killers,” with Bette Davis.
His last outing was “The Good Guys” series for Yorkshire Television.
In later years he sold his production files and letters in auction. In 2002 he published, “Director’s Cut: A Memoir of 60 Years in Film.”
Survivors include his wife, Joan, and a son.