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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
Charles Korvin ...
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:

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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

Vivien Leigh was subject to bouts of depression and alcoholism and was abrasive to fellow actors. After a rocky start with her relationship with Lee Marvin with her complaints about his stale alcohol breath, the two eventually became highly unlikely good friends. See more »

Goofs

As the passengers disembark at the end, Johann pauses on the steps to watch Amparo walk by, when Tenny appears walking down the steps behind Johann. Immediately the film cuts to a shot of the gangplank above, where Tenny is seen just leaving the ship. See more »

Quotes

Lowenthal: I like people; if you look for it, you can find something good in anybody.
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Connections

Referenced in Murder, She Wrote: Ship of Thieves (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Limpiabotas
(uncredited)
Written and Performed by José Greco
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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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