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Ship of Fools (1965)

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A varied group of passengers boarding a ship bound for post-war Germany represents a microcosm of 1930s society.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Siegfried Rieber (as Jose Ferrer)
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Pepe (as Jose Greco)
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Karl Glocken
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Capt. Thiele
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Julius Lowenthal (as Heinz Ruehmann)
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Frau Hutten
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Amparo (as Barbara Luna)
Alf Kjellin ...
Freytag
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Lizzi Spoekenkieker
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Storyline

1933: An ocean liner belonging to a second-rate German company is making a twenty-six day voyage from Veracruz, Mexico to Bremerhaven, Germany. Along the way it will stop in Cuba to pick up a large group of Spanish farm laborers who are being shipped home and who will be housed like cattle in steerage. There it will also pick up La Condesa, a Spanish countess. It will stop in Tenerife, where the farm workers will disembark and where La Condesa will be sent to a German-run prison for her "traitorous" activities in Cuba. This voyage will be the last of three for the ship's doctor, Willi Schumann, who has a serious heart ailment and who thought he could find some meaning to his life through this job. Willi and La Condesa fall in love, with the ship's Captain Thiele, who is Willi's closest friend on board, believing the drug-addicted La Condesa is only using him to get her fixes. Willi and La Condesa have to figure out if there is a future for them after the voyage, as Willi's life also ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

EXPLORER, MISTRESS, VAGRANT, LOAFER, ARTIST, TRAMP ... THEY ARE ALL AT THE CAPTAIN'S TABLE! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

October 1965 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Das Narrenschiff  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Oskar Werner got an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role despite being fifth billed in the movie. See more »

Goofs

Tenny (Lee Marvin) states he's bought "a couple of Margaritas" for the flamenco dancer. That cocktail did not exist in 1933. See more »

Quotes

Lowenthal: How old are you?
Elsa: Sixteen.
Lowenthal: Adolescence. What is adolescence? Adolescence is a time when people worry about things there's no need to worry about. Sixteen... I promise you, at seventeen you will be even more charming than you are now. At twenty-one, you will be gorgeous. And at twenty-five... devastating! And I won't stand any argument!
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Connections

Referenced in Cheers: Yacht of Fools (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Tango Tudescu
Written by Ernest Gold and Ned Washington
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User Reviews

 
The Love Boat as told by Ambrose Bierce
15 September 1999 | by (california) – See all my reviews

A modernist morality tale with several different dark, sardonic stories. It creates a strange mood with its post WWII sensibility superimposed on pre-Nazi German culture. It's like The Love Boat as told by Ambrose Bierce. The best story revolves around Oskar Werner as he takes care of Simone Signoret. He sits at her bedside and listens with his head at a ridiculous angle to show his complete understanding - their situations are parallel, but their compositions are worlds apart. His slow slide into oblivion is fascinating to watch.

But the best performance belongs to Vivien Leigh in her final film role. She is absolutely stunning as "the 46-year old coquette" (as Werner Klemperer puts it). It's a terrible tragedy that she was not able to make very many movies in her career.

However, I have never cared for George Segal or Elizabeth Ashley and they weaken the film - particularly Segal who seems overmatched by the other members of the cast. But I did enjoy the rest of the movie and it's well worth getting through their story to see it.


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