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Ship of Fools
Ship of Fools
Actors: Vivien Leigh, Simone Signoret, Josť Ferrer, Lee Marvin, Oskar Werner
Director: Stanley Kramer
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Military & War
UR     2003     2hr 29min

The interlocking stories of a group of people sailing from Mexico to pre-Nazi era Germany. Genre: Feature Film-Drama Rating: UN Release Date: 2-DEC-2003 Media Type: DVD

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Vivien Leigh, Simone Signoret, Josť Ferrer, Lee Marvin, Oskar Werner
Director: Stanley Kramer
Creators: Ernest Laszlo, Stanley Kramer, Robert C. Jones, Abby Mann, Katherine Anne Porter
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Love & Romance, Classics, Military & War
Studio: Columbia Pictures Corporation
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 12/02/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/1965
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1965
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 2hr 29min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 10
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, Japanese

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Movie Reviews

Excellent adaptation of Katherine Anne Porter novel
Joseph C. Jones | Tampa, FL United States | 12/01/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A stunning, powerful examination of how racism and xenophopia, if unchecked, can overtake society, Ship of Fools is set aboard a German liner sailing from Mexico to Bemerhaven just after the Nazis have taken over. Among the passengers are Vivien Leigh as an embittered divorcee, Lee Marvin as a down-on-his-luck baseball player, George Segal and Elizabeth Ashley as an artist and his lover, Jose Ferrer as a vociferous anti-Semite, Simone Signoret as a Contessa having an affair with ship's doctor Oskar Werner, and Michael Dunn as Greek Chorus. With few exceptions, the entire cast is terrific. Leigh, in her last film, seemingly assimilated all the heartache of her life into this role, and her Charleston near the end is a highlight. The standouts, in my opinion, are Signoret and Werner; they inject their love affair, obviously doomed from the start, with an emotionalism that is genuinely heartbreaking. Ship of Fools is undeniably Stanley Kramer's finest hour as a director, though, ironically, he was passed over for an Oscar nomination, despite a Best Picture nomination. Ship of Fools is required viewing, particularly for those wanting to find some reason for World War II and the Holocaust."
Looking For Fulfillment and Purpose
James L. | 08/19/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The setting of this tale is a ship en route from Mexico to Germany in 1933, carrying a disparate group of people, many of whom are unhappy or unfulfilled, living in a time of great political uncertainty. Oskar Werner is the ship's doctor who considers his life a failure and dull, until he meets drug-addicted Simone Signoret, on her way to political imprisonment. They are the standout performers in this film, delivering heartfelt and touching performances, sometimes just needing a knowing glance to communicate so much. Vivien Leigh is terrific as a southern divorcee, bitter about life, men, and marriage, who has some strange encounters aboard, especially with Lee Marvin, an aging ex-athlete who never achieved the glory he wanted. Jose Ferrer pulls out all the stops as an anti-Semitic Nazi sympathizer, who stirs up trouble and alienates almost everyone with his crassness and attitude. George Segal and Elizabeth Ashley star as lovers at odds with each other, but their part of the story is the least interesting. Michael Dunn as a philosophic dwarf and Heinz Ruhmann as a tolerant, kindly Jew also contribute good performances, and if you look carefully, you will also see Kaaren Verne, an actress from Warner Brothers' heyday (All Through The Night, Kings Row) in the role of an insecure girl's mother. The film is fairly long, but it moves along well, since most of the characters are so interestingly drawn and acted, and there is also a good amount of action on board as people go through various crises. Credit goes to director Stanley Kramer for balancing the storyline and ensemble cast so well, and for creating an effective atmosphere that reflects the mood and the real sense of the world at that time in history just before so much would change. It's a classy film."
A blue ribbon film with excellent character portrayals
vegan miss | Charlotte, NC | 04/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Given its setting of sundry characters en route to Germany from Mexico, this film could have easily degenerated into something predictable, mawkish and trite. Instead, it is a truly fabulous cinematic work, with flesh-and-blood characers whose various predicaments, interwoven against the burgeoning Nazi sentiment of the early 1930s, grab the viewer from the very start. As Glocken, the "little person" who delivers a welcoming narrative, said: there's a ball player, a doctor, dog lovers, emancipated ladies and others whose assorted problems unravel themselves and somehow get resolved through the weeks of the sea journey. Simone Signoret and Oskar Werner deliver bravura performances as doomed lovers, while middle-aged disillusioned socialite Vivien Leigh turns in a wonderfully tart portrayal of a closet romantic hidden beneath a sarcastic facade. Lee Marvin is also good as a rough, contemptible athlete whose unmannerly words and actions manage to alienate just about everone on board. The film's theme music, while limited to a few scenes, is also hauntingly poignant. Don't miss this one!"
A Voyage Not To Be Missed
Cowboy Buddha | Essex UK | 06/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's a cliche to say it, but it's true - they don't make movies like this anymore. Ship of Fools is an intelligent film populated by a variety of beautifully drawn characters portrayed by a cast of actors who know the subtle art of making their interior feelings exterior. Abby Mann's splendid script is based on a book by Katherine Anne Porter and makes some of the usual concessions of adaptations - the hunchback in the book becomes a dwarf in the film, for instance. But the themes and passions remain intact - and the characters and their emotions are as involving now as they were when the film was first released back in the sixties.Often called a kind of floating Grand Hotel, the ship of the title is a second rate tub taking its crew and disparate collection of passengers from Mexico to Germany in the uncertain days of the mid-1930's. The impending doom of World War II and the Holocaust loom large for everybody to see, but the mostly self-centered characters remain oblivious to all the omens. Tension and passion are always in the air, but the superb dialogue leaves much of it in the subtext.Of course, any all-star enterprise will succeed or fail on the strength of its performances and Ship of Fools provides more than a single film's worth of acting greatness. Vivien Leigh, at the end of her rollercoaster career, richly deserves her top billing. Her aging coquette may have hints of both Scarlett O'Hara and Blanche Dubois, but she makes her character here equally memorable. Lee Marvin, as a washed-up baseball player, also proves that he could really act when he wanted to. And Jose Ferrer is gloriously over the top as the German businessman eager to embrace Nazi ideals. German actor Heinz Ruehmann is quietly effective and touching as a permanently cheerful Jew ("There are a million Jews in Germany," he says at one point. "What are they going to do - kill us all?"). Michael Dunn as the narrating dwarf maintains a nice air of cynicism. Even the famous flamenco dancer Jose Greco is outstanding in a surprisingly unflattering role.Best of all, however, are Oskar Werner as the ship's disillusioned doctor and Simone Signoret as a drug-addicted political prisoner on her way to an uncertain future. These two - Werner in particular - bring screen acting to new heights and, in their scenes together, make the audience genuinely care for them. I never cease to be thrilled by Werner's performance.On the minus side are George Segal and Elizabeth Ashley - two actors who we all know are capable of being much better. Their cardboard characters and trite dialogue seem to belong to another film. Possibly this pair of bohemians were supposed to appeal to the younger members of the audience. Compared to the rest of the cast, they are an embarrassment and a certain impatience sets in whenever they are on the screen.The film's views and messages may now seem a bit obvious but they are presented with such superlative craftsmanship that you easily forgive a bit of occasional creakiness. There are many wonderful moments to compensate. Such as when Signoret asks Werner if he is happy. Werner smiles slightly, shrugs and replies: "Who is happy?" with such a wealth of world weariness and resignation that he seems to have crammed an entire life (and acting master class) into those few words. Great films, someone once said, are made up of memorable moments. Ship of Fools has more than its fair share of them."