Ferry to Hong Kong (1959)
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Hart is stuck with Mark Conrad (Curd Jürgens) a drunken, troublemaker, expelled from Hong Kong and denied entry to Macau. He is destined to remain a passenger on the ferry much to Hart's anger, he even sets up a rigged bet to get rid off this unwanted passenger. Despite looking dishevelled Conrad earns the sympathy of Liz (Sylvia Syms) who is a teacher to some children regularly on board.
Conrad and Captain Hart have to set aside their mutual loathing when the ship encounters a typhoon and later seized by pirates with Conrad having to take responsibility and control of the situation the ship's passengers find themselves in.
The film benefits from the Hong Kong location shooting which provides a colourful backdrop, the script is pedestrian and at times hammy as Welles performance.
But I never expected to see him as he is in `Ferry to Hong Kong' mugging and pulling faces to try to produce cheap laughs in an awful English accent. He even waddles around at one stage with a board strapped to his back, all dignity gone. To paraphrase a well-known script-writer from Stratford `When great Orson fell, what a fall was there!'
Otherwise this is a pretty poor attempt at a comedy with perhaps some interest for those who want to see ever-changing Hong Kong as it was in the late Fifties.
I wish I hadn't seen `Ferry to Hong Kong'
Wells English accent & comedy timing is very good, shame he didn't do more comedy, Jurgens is just pure class as the black sheep rouge
Amazing action sets the wonderful cast crew locations are a gem of its time well worth a watch and beautiful Sylvia Syms always a treat
Now for the antagonist Orson Welles as Captain Hart, an uptight, prissy jerk that runs the boat with a iron fist. Both Conrad and Hart couldn't be more different and much of the film has them at odds, both at sea and on land. But let's not forget the love interest – Sylvia Sims as Liz, a beautiful (too young for Jurgens) missionary with a bevy of orphans, can't help but love the grungy loner who has a heart of gold like any scruffy anti hero.
Jurgens makes for a decent lead while Orson Welles provides an annoying British accent, sounding like an imitation of an uptight character meant to be hated by the audience and the people around him. Although there are moments when he becomes a real human being, mostly as he's pushed by Conrad, who eventually takes command when pirates hijack after a formidable storm.
The Asian locations are beautiful and the direction by Lewis Gilbert (THE SPY WHO LOVED ME) flows. And despite a somewhat clunky script, not sure whether to be a comedy, romance, or adventure, by the end you'll want to spend more time on that boat, a cozy enough place to be stuck without a paddle.
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The film's main strength lies in the underrated Curt Jurgens who makes for an understated lead. He's an underdog character, a man without a home who looks like a tramp for the most part, and yet his heroism shines through as the story goes on. The tale is rather stodgy with pedestrian direction and a definite lack of suspense, although it picks up with some good stuff at the climax. The interesting supporting cast includes Sylvia Syms as the love interest, Noel Purcell as an engineer, future actor Roy Chiao (of INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM fame) as a pirate and the great and hulking Milton Reid as a really nasty piece of work.