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Why hasn't anybody ever heard of this movie?
Danimal-717 September 1999
I stumbled across MORITURI in a Virginia Blockbuster; I've never seen it for rent anywhere else. I noticed that it had Marlon Brando and Yul Brynner, so I thought it had to be worth a try. And so I saw what turned out to be one of the top 20 World War II movies I've ever seen. That's right, up there with PATTON, THE YOUNG LIONS, and the like.

Brando plays Robert Crain, who is assigned to go undercover on board a German freighter transporting a cargo of rubber to the war zone. He must impersonate a Nazi to do this, and must face some hard choices as to how cruel he can be to appear realistic. Brynner is Muller, the captain of the freighter who has accepted the job as his last chance to save his career in the German merchant marine. He is fair and compassionate and must rein in the fanatical Nazi second-in-command that his superiors have appointed for him. En route, the freighter picks up the survivors of a U-boat, including Esther (Janet Margolin) a beautiful young concentration camp survivor who is so brimming with hatred and vengefulness that she can no longer even accept human compassion.

Brando is very good in his role, but he is completely upstaged by Brynner, who gives the performance of a lifetime. His conflict, between his patriotism and self-preservation on the one side and the vileness of what the Nazis are doing to him and to his country on the other, is marvelously realized. The movie also features a beautiful exchange between Brando and one of the passengers - "I was a political prisoner." "Falsely accused, of course." "No. Not falsely accused." (smiles). I have a soft spot for movies where adversaries come to respect each other, and MORITURI is one of the best of that type.

Good luck finding this movie. It's a true diamond in the rough.

Rating: ***1/2 out of ****.
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Great overlooked film
konover17 February 2002
Back in April 2001, I saw Last Tango In Paris and I've been on a Marlon Brando kick ever since. I read Peter Manso's Brando biography, which states that the film was panned and I really don't understand why.

The film boasts two commanding performances by Brando and Yul Brynner.

Brando plays a German man who's blackmailed by British Intelligence to pose as a NAZI officer on a German ship commanded by Brynner. Brando's German accent was full on the whole way through. And after seeing various Brando films, it was really cool to see Brando play a double agent that was light on his feet, sneaking in and out of rooms on a German ship, in an attempt to sabatoge the ship. The supporting performances are solid all the way around. Trevor Howard has a nice cameo at the beginning of the film as a British Intelligence man.

I've always known about Yul Brynner, but this is the first time I see one of his performances. I can see why he's a legendary actor. The guy has tons of personality and has the acting ability to go with his charisma. And watching him work with Brando was an absolute pleasure. Now I definitely have to go and rent more of Brynner's stuff.

Brando's career presumably took a dive in the 60s, but Morituri is definitely a good movie with excellent performances by its two leads and it boasts some of the best camera work I've ever seen.

On a scale from 1-10, I'd give the film at least an 8.
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Bleak, fascinating war pic
sam6628 August 2001
An interesting and rather dark war story that takes place aboard a German merchant vessel during WWII. The black and white filming adds to the generally drab and realistic ambiance of the ocean crossing. Marlon Brando's expatriate is trapped into a scheme of espionage/sabotage, and his grim, softly sneering coolness gives the character of Robert Crain an added dimension. Yul Brynner plays the captain of the ship, out of favor with the Nazi party and under surveillance, yet still "pragmatically patriotic" to the Fatherland. Brynner is an oft-underrated actor because of the larger-than-life roles he played, but this film better showcases the subtlety he was capable of, and at times his performance excels. This is a complex and tense war movie that views both sides through a curtain of ugliness, yet captures moments of honor and loyalty and even kindness, a facet that other war movies in this genre often lack. The realism of the shipboard action is crucial--you could get a flutter of seasickness just watching--and all of the characters show depth and detail. No spoilers here; try to find this flick at the video store and watch it a couple of times. It's worth the search.
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Cool, slick little gem that has been overlooked
MoreLord7 February 2005
Morituri is by no means a flawless masterpiece, but it is a good film. The problem is, because of a somewhat intricate plot you have to watch it a couple of times to understand it. Some parts of the film are dull, especially some of the engine room scenes where there is relative silence--only the noise of the engine room is heard, but it is also gripping at times. I decided to give this film another shot-and I'm glad I did. I found that it is quite interesting, after you watch it a couple of times you understand the purpose of Brando's character in the film. He is great in this film, his accent is flawless and he looks just great--I wish he would have done more action-oriented films. The cinematography is also great, and I absolutely loved the musical score. Hopefully, people will give this movie a chance and see that Brando did do a few good films in the 60's and stop giving him a bum rap.
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Intriguing and fascinating film!
r-chancey4 January 2006
One of the many things this great (but at the time overlooked) movie did was to indirectly dispel some of the mislaid blame laid on Brando for the excesses of "Mutiny on the Bounty". Here he is again working with Trevor Howard (Bligh in "Mutiny")whom the press said loathed Brando (although Howard himself came to Brando's defense during the "Mutiny" blame game. Also, here is Brando again working with Aaron Rosenburg (also from "Mutiny") whom the press clippings claimed would never work with Brando again. By all accounts, all associated with Morituri got along famously and were all on their best professional behavior. This is one of Marlon's better works during the 1960's and it is sad that the Critic's were so eager to pounce upon it. It is one of those rare films that has grown better with age. Thankfully it is out now on DVD and given the treatment it deserves.
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Surviving On His Wits
bkoganbing3 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
A whole lot of Marlon Brando's films have been unjustly neglected from the sixties and Morituri is one of them. It's a nice espionage yarn set on the high seas in a voyage from Japan to occupied Bordeaux in France.

There's no other way to put it, Marlon Brando's character is a draft dodger who if he had done so in The Young Lions he'd have been much better off. But he's got certain engineering skills that British Intelligence learns about and they essentially blackmail him into a mission for them. The British Intelligence officer is Trevor Howard and quite frankly I'm surprised the two of them are sharing the screen again. They had pointedly not gotten along during the making of Mutiny on the Bounty. Maybe the dislike put some bite into the scenes where Howard persuades Brando to enlist in the Allied cause.

The mission is to disable a German freighter leaving from Japan loaded with several tons of rubber ore. The allies don't want the ship sunk, they in fact want Brando to disable the various charges put around the ship that would enable Captain Yul Brynner to scuttle if need be.

What I like about Morituri is that there are no heroics here. Brando's cover is that of an S.S. man traveling as a passenger on the ship. He's got no back up at all and he's got no James Bond like spy devices. His character has to survive on his wits alone and Brando proves very clever at out thinking foes that are not stupid. He's helped in this by a very good script.

Brynner also has his problems. He's a patriotic German, not particularly in love with the Nazis. He has a son in the German Navy though. Brynner was drunk on his last voyage and may have been indiscreet due to alcoholic influence, a fact that Brando cleverly exploits in letting them think his real mission as a 'passenger' is to keep an eye on Brynner.

Both stars get their moments to shine in the film. Brando was able to use his star power to get a role for his best friend Wally Cox as the ship's morphine addicted doctor. Cox was trying in the sixties to branch out into serious parts and doing it successfully.

Morituri is a good espionage tale with a very tight and literate script, brought to the screen by a pair of the best actors around.
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Like another reviewer asks, "Why haven't I heard of this?"
wahoodoss-17 October 2005
I don't mean to be repetitive but I stumbled onto this film at my local video rental store just like one of the other reviewers wrote. I'd never heard of it before. A movie with both Yul Brynner and Marlon Brando. A war movie at that. And I'd never heard of it. Not that I'm a super movie buff but at least I think that this is one I would have come across at some point.

Anyway, it's a great film about the conflicts between duty and beliefs. Each character is on a mission not of their making or preference. Each actor does a great job of portraying the difficulty in taking on a task one would rather not have to do.

This one is worth watching. I give it an 8.
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Great WWII Film
flutter_bi22302 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Don't worry, I won't give away many spoilers at all. This is a great piece of work. I have read that it didn't get great reviews, and I wonder why! This is as close to an action film as Marlon Brando ever did. He mostly performed in dramas, and when he did appear in action/adventure films, it was usually in a supporting role (Superman, The Score). And he totally delivers.

He plays a man named Schroeder, masquerading in India as "Robert Crain." Trevor Howard plays a British military man, who finds Schroeder in hiding, and gives him two choices: Go on a suicide mission, on a German freighter and defuse all of her scuttling charges so the Allies can take her cargo....or be turned over to the Gestapo in a prisoner exchange. So, essentially, he has to choose which way he is going to die. Except, that with the mission, he has a small prayer of coming out alive.

Yul Brynner plays the level-headed captain of the German freighter (which is loaded with political prisoners, bound for France), and is he ever at the top of his form in this one. In fact, he commands the best scene in the film...which is him reacting to an incident at sea involving his son. Janet Margolin is also haunting as a Jewish prisoner transferred to the German freighter in the middle of the voyage, and becomes part of the plans of Schroeder (called Kyle on the mission) and the political prisoners, to take over the ship from the Nazi crew.

The cinematography in this film is outstanding. We get lots of long shots of the crew on the ship, and the special effects do not look too dated...which is saying a lot, considering this is a black and white film made in the 1960's. This movie has a little bit for everyone...Fans of action films will enjoy the tenseness of the climax of the film, and fans of spy films will find a lot to like here. Brando's character is in the midst of impossible circumstances, which only get worse as the film goes on, but he always manages to keep his cool, as only Marlon Brando can. This is a must-see for Brando fans, if only to see their favorite actor take on such a role. As I have written before...this is as close to a pure action film that Brando ever made, with himself in the starring role. The plot runs very smoothly, and there aren't any lulls in the narrative. Extremely underrated picture.
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A rather great understated war film--terrific photography and Brando
secondtake22 January 2013
Morituri (1965)

I had no expectation here. The name was odd. And the description was odd--a WWII film from the point of view of the enemy. Sort of. And so I didn't really think I'd be fully captive.

And I was. This is a special film war film. For one thing it has Marlon Brando being his arrogant best, and Yul Brynner, too. It presents an odd dramatic situation, a tension between strong willed characters who don't quite know what the other is up to. Here I mean Brando playing a German plant on this ship going from Japan to Europe, and Brynner, the captain, a disgruntled German with some experience both with the wheel and the bottle.

The ship is a modern (1942) Japanese ship, and among the crew are a bunch of political prisoners, who of course can't be totally trusted. The cargo is rubber, the most sought after material in the early war (later it would be uranium, I suppose).

Cinematographer Connie Hall is quite aggressive and brilliant with his photography, keeping the angles and movement nearly constant. The light is dramatic, the sharpness clean. And he got nominated for an Oscar for his work. The interior of the ship is large and filled with strange turns, great heights, lots of interior and exterior spaces that take you by surprise. Beautiful stuff.

The plot moves more quickly than you'd expect, too, with little surprises and turns, like finding a burning American ship at night and rescuing survivors. One of these is a young woman who was born in Berlin and they question her--why is a German on an enemy ship? And she says she is not German. And they ask what is she? You expect here that she might say she was American, but even better she says, "I am anti-German."

The script is tight and believable. The scenario, which is not formed from fact as far as I could discover (it's based on a novel), seems reasonable. And it ends up being more subtle than you'd expect. Yes, there are aspects that are obvious dramatic additions--the one woman who appears, for example, happens to be Jewish--but these end up being ways of showing people's characters. Ultimately that's what this movie is about.
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Morituri- A Movie of Glory ***1/2
edwagreen13 March 2010
Excellent film involving espionage during World War 11. Marlon Brando plays a German citizen living in India who is blackmailed to go on a ship filled with rubber that is bound for Germany. His assignment is to dislodge charges on the boat so that the allies can get the rubber.

He doesn't immediately hit it off with the ship's captain-Yul Brynner.

Nevertheless, this becomes a great spy film where Brando and Brynner both reveal their anti-Nazi feelings.

In a supporting role, Janet Margolin plays a Jewess boarded on the boat along with American prisoners. Her description of what happened to her parents and brother are memorable. She is very effective in her role as the tragic young lady.

This film is exciting and very revealing. The end gets you to think, something which is rare in films today.
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Looks great. Proof Brando did great things in the 60's.
Ben_Cheshire23 December 2003
If the plot is a little hard to follow at times, Morituri at least looks great. Fantastic black and white cinematography, which provides some great noirish moments, especially below-deck, and Marlon Brando, make this a very beautiful movie to look at. The 60's are generally thought of as Brando's "down period," between his giving up the part of Lawrence of Arabia and ending up being falsely blamed for the project he chose instead of it going over budget, Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), and his massive "comeback" with The Godfather in 1972 (by the way, Marlon's simple reason for his choice between the two projects, was he'd much prefer to be swimming in beautiful Tahiti for three months than stuck in a hot desert for three months!). Because of this myth, Brando afficionadoes seek out movies from this period and test how accurate a reflection of talent and ability public opinion and money-making is. I haven't yet seen all of them, but the example of Morituri suggests that there was no reason to suspect Brando's talents ever dimmed. Some projects he had no respect for, and clearly just walked through the part - but when he cared, and when the director could tell the difference between a "full" take and an empty one, Brando was electric. Morituri is an example where we see Brando at his best. His German accent in this is actually quite good - certainly better than his English accent - and it contains quite a few special Brando moments (like when he is discovered below-deck by someone who isn't aware he shouldn't be there). Jerry Goldsmith's (Omen) score is a highlight. Very Herrmann-esque.
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Another reason why IMDb ranking CANNOT be used to judge a film
arjunkaul29 January 2012
I'll quickly cover this film and then go on to talk about IMDb and its rankings scheme in general.

Morituri was for me a big surprise as I wasn't expecting much. Frankly Im not very used to watching black and white films and most films from that era do seem rather dated to me. This movie rocked my socks. It was tight, gripping, and moving. Like a well written thriller played out on screen by arguably the greatest leading men of all time - Marlon Brando and Yul Brynner. If you haven't already seen this, watch it right now. Its worth your time and $.

Now lets have a look at IMDb rankings. The Dark Knight was released in 2008 and has about 637,794 votes. Casablanca released in 1942 has about 207,358.

There's no logical or artistic reason why The Dark Knight is rated higher than Casablanca on IMDb's ranking.

Therefore if you're reading this, do your best to promote the films that you really like because there are millions of fools doing the same for substandard, trashy ones. Now I'm not saying the Dark Knight is trashy but just used that title as an example.
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Brando and Brynner at their best!!!!!!!!!!
diegosantti9 December 2001
Marlon Brando is just amazing in this intelligent film.Most people don't understand Brando's and Brynner's career choices during the sixties.But I think that as years go by,they will.Their ideas were way ahead of their time.Their talent and range were unbelievable.Every actor tries to imitate their intensity (deniro,penn,nolte,.....) with no success.Definitely the kings of acting.
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WW II drama of top notch quality
kbrai27 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
i just cant understand how this move was torn apart by critics when it was released and how come the box office did not take to it.

the performances are brilliant, brynner is very good and charismatic and brando is simply brilliant. the uneasiness that he conveys to bring his characters (when he is pretending to be an SS officer) evil and ruthless nature are brilliant. The man is simply the greatest actor there is. In every movie there is a moment where brando does something which sets him apart from others and this movie has their share of them. The one where he reacts to the cruel killing of the Jewish girl is unbelievable.

The cinematography is beautiful and it adds to the tension. The dialogue about the concentration camp victims is heart rending and it sets it apart from other war movies which mostly talk about the soldiers condition but not about the victims.

Tense drama, clever crips dialogue and brando and brynner. A total treat.
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Gripping WWII film, very cool acting in tense situations
seasthedayc222 July 2002
I enjoyed this film very much. Marlon Brando is in great form, if a little soft spoken. Handsom as ever. Yul Brynner is great also, though he is limited by the role. As "Pharoah", he was splendid. I will definitely watch this one again.
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Those who are about to die
hasosch15 August 2009
Bernhard Wicki, the great late Burg theater actor and star of several high-class German TV productions and cinema movies (f.ex. as Dr. Orlovius in R.W. Fassbinder's "Despair", 1977), directed this Hollywood film. And he directed "Morituri" with an astonishing huge crew of mostly German and a few American actors. From the standpoint of today, this is almost extravagant, since which director would nowadays go through the "pain" of hiring real German speakers for the roles of Germans? If Europeans, seldomly enough, make a movie about America, they hire - Americans. If Americans, too often, make a movie about Europe, they hire - Americans. If you see how well Wicki trained Marlon Brandy to make him able to speak with an almost perfect German accent, only in order to hear this two hours and eight minutes long, is worth watching the movie.

However, "Morituri" is full of similar surprises. There is Max Haufler in the movie. Haufler played basically bum characters in the old Swiss movies directed by Kurt Früh. Besides that, he worked with Orson Welles in Kafka's "Process" and with a few comparably illustrious directors and actors. Doubtlessly, with his role of "Branner" (= Brunner = Brynner?), Wicki wanted to let him put one foot in Hollywood's door. However, this was Max Haufler's last role. Desperate from his experiences in the US, he returned to Zurich where he hung himself up at age 55. Also one of the most illustrious, though rather dubious characters of German film is in this movie: Prince Wilhelm Von Homburg who had his one big role in Werner Herzog's "Stroszek" (1977), although he is known to a wider audience because of his character "Vigo" in "Ghostbusters II" (1989).

Morituri is one the most sympathetic war movies, because it transcends its genre. If it would have been made with solely American actors and an American director, it would not be practically overseen. However, the "foreign" crew is exactly what turns this Morituri into a little gem. Such movies were already "about to die" at the time when they were made.
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Good but a little gnarled as far as how one's sympathies will be engaged
mozli4 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I had been curious about this one for a while. Neither of the protagonists are in any way easy to warm up to. Naval films feel more like chess games than almost any kind of war film. Very cerebral, lots of talking but things do pick up and Janet Margolin's death scene is the price of admission. Lots of great atmosphere and the movie's music is in that chilly haunted style Jerry Goldsmith perfected. It seems like your standard espionage film but the acting is more deeply engaging. Trevor Howard's bit in the beginning seems more like the end to a completely different film. Like he's the hero who has tracked down his prey in a fugitive/chase type of film. The ending to this film feels disorienting. You wonder if the fact that the ship is saved is really worth it considering all the lives that were lost on both sides. Maybe it does feel a little like a draw in chess.
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Yul Brynner and Marlon Brando fighting the war their own way in hopeless desperation , but surviving
clanciai14 May 2019
I saw this film some 30 years ago and always looked forward to seeing it once again. It's a post war masterpiece with some detachment to the war and made by a German with the best possible players - Yul Brynner as the captain makes one of his very best performances (although they all are outstanding), and Marlon Brando is surprisingly good seconding him as faking an SS agent well aware that he has no alternative but to stake his life on a role play; but Yul Brynner is the more interesting character, a responsible captain torn between his loyalty to his country and his utter disgust at the party ruling it. But the strongest asset of this film is the very interesting story and script. It starts very slowly setting the stage, laying the foundations of the extremely difficult positions of Brynner and Brando, and gradually builds up with constantly increasing complications, the prisoners of war on board, being added with more prisoners to by a following German submarine, including a Jewish girl adding to the general tragedy, and the immensely interesting psychology in the development of relationships and conflicts between members of the crew, the prisoners, the command and the personal crisis of the captain - Yul Brynner was never better. To this comes the very apt music of Jerry Goldsmith, following the dramatic development with keen appropriateness. It's a polyphonic masterpiece of intrigue, character development and a priceless study in the effects of the pressure of war (which no one wanted) on intelligent responsible individuals with guns in their necks.
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Wicki at His Peak
EdgarST13 April 2013
"Morituri" was released 48 years ago... It seems nobody saw it. Or maybe influential but dumb film critics boycotted it. Based on a novel by Werner Jörg Lüddecke, it is a cynical, anti-war movie, made during a time when the US government was in the midst of its war campaign against Vietnam. This explains a bit the audiences' response, but does not justify the bad service of the film guides. I did not see it either. In 1965 there were many good releases, it is true, but I, at 14 years old, was more into watching my idol Paula Prentiss playing a suicidal poet-strip-teaser, Shirley MacLaine trapped in a harem in the Middle East, Julie Andrews singing in the Alps, Sandra Milo wearing chiffon and big hats for Fellini, Barbara Stanwyck shrieking each time she saw the ghost of her blind husband, or Virna Lisi emerging from a gigantic cake. I caught up with "Darling", "The Hill" and "King Rat", but it took me decades to see "The Pawnbroker" or "Alphaville". And now, 48 years later, I discover that Bernhard Wicki's "Morituri" is very good! Marlon Brando is cynicism personified as Schroeder, a demolition expert who refused to enlist (something that in 1965 was not unusual among young Americans who opposed to US intervention in Vietnam), and went to live with a forged passport in India under the name of Crain, to avoid the Führer's armed forces. But being India under British regime and him a prisoner, he is found by Trevor Howard, a member of British Intelligence, who blackmails him to put him aboard a cargo ship with 7000 tons of rubber for Nazi tires and other applications that is sailing from Tokyo to occupied France captained by Yul Brynner. The Allies are interested in the cargo. It is never clarified why they need to take someone else's rubber, instead of getting their own, but what matters for the purpose of the story is that if a Nazi ship is trapped, the captain must sink it, and that is why Marlon must disarm all the bombs, so a convoy of American destroyers can capture the ship and keep the cargo. It is great to watch Brando and Brynner confronting each other, and it is their merit that none plays the divo (or diva). Especially Brynner, who was so adept to pose for the camera as one of those models of vintage physique magazines (check "Kings of the Sun"!), is often restrained and effective. (We don't have to talk much about Marlon – he was always good of simply Brando in the worst turkeys). Add to the events the introduction of a Jewish girl, a character with an intense charge of pathos, and you have 123 minutes full of interesting dramatic action (and there is some physical action too), well handled by Wicki and with exceptional cinematography in black and white by Conrad Hall, the maestro who shot the classics "In Cold Blood" (1967), "Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid" and "American Beauty". The cast also includes very good performances by the German players Martin Benrath (as the stereotypical Nazi bastard) and Hans Christian Blech (as an anti-Nazi political prisoner), Hungarian actor Oscar Beregi Jr. as the German admiral, veteran Russian actor Ivan Triesault (often cast as German villains) as a collaborator of the Allies in the German Embassy in Tokyo, and Janet Margolin as the Jewish Esther Levy. Highly recommended.
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Good though overlong wartime drama with nice acting , splendid cinematography and powerful musical score
ma-cortes16 September 2013
This is a remake from a German film, it was made seventeen years prior to this movie, and it was the first German film made after the war which was about the Second World War. This enjoyable WWII film has a brilliant script , original, precise, forceful , with intensity difficult to perceive . The title "Morituri" is Latin which can be translated as "we who are about to die", from the traditional salute of Roman gladiators in the arena, "Morituri Te Salutamus" , We, who are about to die, salute you! . World War II, espionage, adventure and human lives have never before been combined so explosively . It deals with a German called Rober Crain (Marlon Brando) living in India during World War II is blackmailed by the English (Trevor Howard along with Brando appeared in Mutiny on the Bounty in 1962 and were to appear again years later in Superman) to impersonate an SS officer , he aboard a freighter captained by Mueller (Yul Brynner) with a dangerous assignment . His mission is to locate and disarm the scuttling charges in order to prevent Mueller from scuttling the gunboat and its cargo upon interception by the British fleet . As the allied spy attempts to persuade German boat captain to surrender his vessel .

It's not the ordinary World War II spy movie , has an interesting as well as gripping screenplay without mannerisms , though is sometimes slow-moving and overlong . The improvisations throughout history , traps the writer to throw , the short dialogues and surprises rise the action . Sensational interpretations , where all the characters are equally evil in their intentions . Brando plays a Nazi soldier in this film as he had done so in the earlier ¨The young lions¨(1958) for 20th Century Fox, both movies being filmed in black-and-white and both being for made for the same studio. Yul Brynner -is no surprise- magnificent , the film's marketing boasted the surname alliteration of Brando and Brynner . A very support cast such as gorgeous Janet Margolin as Jewish Esther , Trevor Howard as Colonel Statter , Martin Benrath as Kruse , Hans Christian Blech as Donkeyman and William Redfield as Baldwin and Wally Cox as Dr. Ambach

Atmospheric cinematography in black and white by Conrad Hall ("Road to Perdition" 2002, "In Cold Blood" 1967,) . Evocative as well thrilling musical score by the great Jerry Goldsmith (Planet of apes , Patton) , full of nuances and details make a lovely movie. The motion picture was professionally directed by Berhard Wicki . He was a notorious stage actor , producer , filmmaker and secondary player . Wicki, who was clown before he became a soldier, stole food for and entertained his French prisoners while they waited to find out if they would be executed. He imprisoned for ten months at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp because of his earlier affiliation with the communist party. Started directing films from 1958 . Best known for his anti-war film ¨The Bridge¨ (1959) and subsequently ¨ Morituri¨. This movie bombed at the box-office upon initial release , it is believe that the film's title was not understood by the public . As such, when re-released, the film was re-named "Saboteur: Code Name Morituri"
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"Wouldn't it be wonderful, if it turned out your not an SS man after all?"
shhimundercoverdamnit11 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Morituri Marlon Brando is impressive as usual in this gripping World War II espionage drama. He plays a German deserter who is blackmailed into working for British intelligence. He then boards a blockade runner disguised as a Gestapo officer in hopes of claiming its cargo of rubber for the Allied forces. Brando has some terrific scenes playing psychological cat-and-mouse with the ships captain played by Yul Brynner.

Anyway, it's a film mostly about the conflicts between duty and beliefs. Brando's character views war as useless, while Brynner has managed to see the war turn people into merciless fanatics, including his very own son. He's a patriotic German, but he has no love for the Nazi's and what they've done to his country.

There were three major scenes that really stand out and two of them involved Janet Margolin, who plays a Jewish prisoner. The first is when Brando confronts her over the Gestapo. " You-You-You have no idea what these people are capable of," he tells her. She responds with just a shot to your heart, responding as someone who is brimming with so much hatred and vengefulness that she can no longer even accept human compassion. She is a broken person.

The second scene belongs to Yul Brynner: the radio has just said that his son has sunk an enemy vessel....everybody comes over to congratulates him and one of the crew grabs a navy book to know what this sunk ship looks like..and in 5 seconds we see Yul's face turning from happiness to bitterness..the ship his son sunk was an Hospital Ship. Brynner then proceeds to get himself completely wasted and then destroys his quarters, screaming " Hail Cannibals!" Then there is just one moment that is simply a "Holy Sh*t" moment. It is so horrific and disgusting that it literally shocks you to the core. The look on Brando's face pretty much sums it up.
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Super film!
RodrigAndrisan15 October 2017
Everything is excellent in this: story, direction, music, cinematography and, specially, last but not least, the actors. Marlon Brando and Yul Brynner are simply fantastic. All the others are top notch, Janet Margolin, Trevor Howard, Martin Benrath, Hans Christian Blech, etc. The film has tension, suspense, dramatic quality, great message. One of the best movies ever made. Super excellent! Bernhard Wicki (1919–2000) was a great filmmaker, director of great talent, very good actor, writer, producer, etc.
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Brando & Brynner!
sddavis6327 December 2013
The highlight of this movie set on a German cargo ship during the Second World War are the superb performances offered by Marlon Brando and Yul Brynner. Brando plays a German expatriate (disguised as a Swiss national) who's living in British ruled India in 1942. He ends up being drafted (very much against his will) by the British to go undercover as SS agent Keil to divert the cargo ship (which is carrying a very valuable - to both sides - cargo of rubber) into American hands. Brynner plays Mueller - the ship's captain - a man with a drinking problem trying to regain his reputation after having a ship torpedoed out from under him while he was drunk, but a man who's also no fanatical Nazi.

Both are very believable in their roles. There's also a strong performance from Martin Benrath as First Officer Kruse - who is a fanatical Nazi, who doesn't trust his captain, and who's as happy to have an SS officer on board as the captain is unhappy about it.

The movie is always interesting. It's not an action movie in the modern sense of the word, but it's increasingly tense as suspicion grows about Keil, and as the ship awaits a report from Berlin about him. As good as Brando and Brynner and even Benrath are, though - and as tense as the movie becomes about whether Keil's real identity will be uncovered - the most powerful part of the movie might have come in a scene featuring Janet Margolin. She played a Jewish medical worker who was taken prisoner along with a number of American sailors when their ship is sunk by a U- boat. Speaking with Keil as he tries to convince her that he's on her side, his SS identity notwithstanding, she recounts - in surprisingly and uncomfortably (even for today, and so shockingly so in 1965) graphic detail - her abuse at the hands of the Gestapo. Without going into detail, the words "hour after hour after hour" are haunting. It was a truly sobering scene. You can't watch it and not find yourself in sympathy with a character who otherwise really isn't that central to the overall story.

This is, overall, a very good movie with a very strong cast. (8/10)
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when a top German director looks at WW2
pierrealix29 March 2001
A Different Movie about WW2 mainly because of his cast..Bernard Wicki The Director is German,and has been widely praised for his other WW2 movie "the Bridge" also seen from the german side..the photography is exceptionnal,the man working easily in low key and in high key depending of the drama..the acting is something too : Brando is acting the way you expect from him ..he is less at ease with a tough german director than ,say, with lewis Milestone who had him in another Mutiny story 3 years before...this time he is clearly upstaged by Trevor Howard much more happy with a anti-actor's studio director..Yul Brynner didn't have the chance to play in good movies since "Magnificent 7" and was certainly happy to be cast in this one..The best Moment of the movie belongs to him : the radio just said that his son has sunk an enemy vessel.Everybody congratulates him.Someone grabs a navy book to know what this sunk ship looks 5 seconds we see Yul's face turning from happiness to bitterness..the ship sunk was an Hospital Ship.
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A great war movie
jazerbini21 November 2015
Surely one of the greatest war movies ever made. Brando and Brynner have both flawless performances. Brynner is a giant in his role. The film addresses a relatively unexplored subject, the need to supply the Nazi army. in this case, with rubber would be transported to Germany in a cargo ship that sets sail from Japan. It infiltrated the freighter a member of the British intelligence (Brando) in order to derail the mission. Brynner is the ship's captain, honest and conscientious man who no longer has illusions with Nazism. Janet Margolin, beautiful, plays a Jew who during the trip is collected along with other refugees on the ship. Film made in black and white has a great shot and was made exactly 50 years ago. It is a powerful movie with great acting of the cast and I think it is a film that did not have the deserved welcome as it is of great value as a cinematographic work. A great movie!
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