Ship of Fools

Ship of Fools

DVD - 2003
Average Rating:
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In 1933 on a German luxury liner sailing from Mexico to Germany, the separate but interlocking stories of the various passengers begins to unfold. Among the many passengers is a divorcee desperate for love and lost youth, a Spanish noblewoman being deported as a political prisoner, an aging alcoholic ballplayer, and a budding Nazi whose brutishness foreshadows the holocaust to come.
Publisher: Culver City, Calif. : Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment, c2003
Edition: Full screen version
ISBN: 9781404911024
1404911022
Branch Call Number: DVD 791.43 SHI NVD
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (149 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in

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c
CharlesPonzi
Nov 22, 2015

Boring.

n
Nursebob
Jul 13, 2015

Based on Katherine Anne Porter’s book, Stanley Kramer’s ambitious film takes every virtue, cruelty, and vanity mankind has produced and places them squarely on the shoulders of a motley group of cruise ship passengers who pretty much encompass all seven of the deadly sins. From the clownish nazi to the ethically conflicted lovers who can only agree between the sheets, it appears everyone on board has something to regret, extol, envy, buy, or sell. And just to add a bit of moral ballast the ship’s lower deck is teeming with hundreds of unwashed migrant workers returning to Spain, their sobering presence contrasting with the first class couple who enjoy feeding their slobbering pooch steak from the captain’s table. A sterling international cast featuring Vivian Leigh (making her swan song), José Ferrer, Oskar Werner, and Simone Signoret shine despite the occasional dramatic hyperbole and director Stanley Kramer manages to forge his collage of separate storylines into something streamlined and cohesive as his camera tracks characters from deck to deck and cabin to cabin. And having the diminutive Michael Dunn, here playing a dwarf either ignored or reviled by his fellow passengers, step out of character in order to bookend the film was a stroke of inspiration—he may not be the mouse that roared but his roguish smile and mocking laugh add yet another layer of irony. Unfortunately it is the film’s ironic excesses and thinly disguised sermons which keep it from being truly exceptional. A grand ensemble piece just the same buoyed by a host of assured performances and a crisp B&W cinematography that makes the most of those swelling waves and distant horizons.

rufus_red4 Jun 30, 2015

An amazing cast and story about a luxury ocean liner in 1933 and it's inhabitants. Katherine Ann Porter touches on class, race, sexism and of course anti semitism. The film could've benefited from some additional editing, it's rather long but I enjoyed it nonetheless. This copy on DVD has low sound, I had to crank the volume and put on subtitles to understand the mostly international cast speak English, it's not always clear.

c
COURIER3
May 02, 2015

I WAS A FOOL TO THINK THIS WOULD BE A GREAT MOVIE WITH A GREAT CAST. WAS GOOD TO SEE THE ACTORS IN THEIR EARLY YEARS. DISAPPOINTED WITH BLACK & WHITE. WAS BORED WITH THE SCRIPT. I WAS DOING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE TO PASS THE TIME AND MISSED SOME OF THE DIALOGUE.

j
JackPurcell
Apr 21, 2015

I'd forgotten this film until I came across it here. When it came out it was one of those "Have you seen it yet!?" events on a par with other big releases of the time. It's aged well, still well worth the watch.

Sandrine1949 Aug 14, 2014

I remember seeing this film, upon its initial release, while I was still in high-school. As I came-out of the theatre, I was almost hit by a bus as I crossed the street, as was I so mesmerized by the film I had just seen. I love this S.Kramer film, which, when released garnered both critical and audience praise.
Over the years, I have re-viewed this gem, and each time I was taken-back to that wonderful experience when I was seventeen. A sort of "GrandHotel" on the high seas... this time on an ocean liner in the 1930s, on-which the characters/passengers collide with each other... their vanities, prejudices, regrets, disappointments, failings, hopes and aspirations all bouncing-off each other. The wonderful performances make it so easy to return again and again... especially those of OskarWerner,SimoneSignoret,VivianLeigh and all the others. My one disappointment is that there is no accompanying supplemental material or commentary, of which I feel this film is strongly deserving. Finally, the superb musical scoring of this film also definitely deserves acknowledgement. All-in-all, a film deserving the qualification of : they don't make them like this anymore: a superb ensemble character-driven drama, obeying the rule of unity-of-place. A real cinematic gem.

r
rslade
Jul 10, 2014

Little in the way of plot, but some really good acting.

m
Monolith
Mar 08, 2013

A rather dry, dated, and forgettable film displaying a sampling of dullards spanning the spectrum of personalities. Insecurity and arrogance being the most prevalent. Oskar Werner gives the standout performance as Dr. Schumann, with a touching romance with the doomed Simone Signoret as La Condesa (who, forgive me for saying so, kind of looked like a man). Vivien Leigh made me sad as the miserable old, lovelorn boozehound, as it didn't seem as much of a stretch for her to portray. She was once so beautiful...

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m
Monolith
Mar 08, 2013

Rieber: "As a publisher, my aim is to direct the readers to the vital issues of our society. I have legally got a doctor to begin a series of articles advocating the extermination of all of the 'unfit'... at birth." Lizzi: "That's the way it's with Herr Rieber -- he is thinking all the time." Rieber: "All this will be accomplished painlessly, of course. Painlessly. Not only defective or useless children, but the old, too. Old persons over, mm, sixty or sixty-five, perhaps. The same measures will be taken with Jews, of course, and any... illegitimate mixtures of race. White with, uh, colors of any kind; Chinese; Negroes; and for any White man convicted of a serious crime... Well, as for him..." (he winks) Captain Thiele: "There's only one problem with all this -- who will be left?"

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