7.2/10
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64 user 23 critic

Ship of Fools (1965)

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)
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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

Plot Keywords:

german | ship | american | love | germany | See All (227) »

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

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Language:

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Release Date:

October 1965 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Das Narrenschiff  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The election referred to was the German Federal election of 1933, in which the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP, or the Nazis) received 43.9% of the overall vote, an increase of 10.8% on the previous election. See more »

Goofs

Although set in 1933, the hairstyles and costumes are decidedly mid-sixties. See more »

Quotes

Frau Hutten: Do you know what they say in Mexico? Mexicans loathe the Americans, hate the Spaniards, distrust the English, admire the French and love the Germans.
Rieber: That is all very nice. I am glad they say those things but, as far as I am concerned, after a few weeks in Mexico, you can keep the Mexicans too.
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Connections

Referenced in Scarecrow and Mrs. King: Ship of Spies (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Irgendwie, irgendwo, irgendwann
Music by Ernest Gold
Lyrics by Jack Lloyd
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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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