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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.

Director:

Stanley Kramer

Writers:

Katherine Anne Porter (novel), Abby Mann (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:
Vivien Leigh ... Mary Treadwell
Simone Signoret ... La Condesa
José Ferrer ... Siegfried Rieber (as Jose Ferrer)
Lee Marvin ... Bill Tenny
Oskar Werner ... Dr. Wilhelm Schumann
Elizabeth Ashley ... Jenny
George Segal ... David
José Greco ... Pepe (as Jose Greco)
Michael Dunn ... Karl Glocken
Charles Korvin ... Capt. Thiele
Heinz Rühmann ... Julius Lowenthal (as Heinz Ruehmann)
Lilia Skala ... Frau Hutten
BarBara Luna ... Amparo (as Barbara Luna)
Christiane Schmidtmer ... Lizzi Spoekenkieker
Alf Kjellin ... Freytag
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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:

Everywhere...Everyone's Calling It the Must-See Picture of the Year! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Spanish

Release Date:

October 1965 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Narrenschiff See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The moment leading into Vivien Leigh's Charleston is so perfectly synchronized that, even after multiple viewings, it's impossible to determine whether the soundtrack cues her movement or vice versa. Ernest Gold's post-production scoring imaginatively matches Leigh's fleeting sanity by juxtaposing the brash, abandoned ragtime melody with a lone, melancholy note for strings, which alternate at unexpected intervals. 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

[first lines]
Glocken: [walks up to the ship's railing] My name is Karl Glocken, and this is a ship of fools. I'm a fool, and you'll meet more fools as we go along. This tub is packed with them: emancipated ladies, ball players, lovers, dog lovers, ladies of joy, tolerant Jews, dwarfs - all kinds. And who knows, if you look closely enough, you may even find yourself on board.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Limpiabotas
(uncredited)
Written and Performed by José Greco
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User Reviews

 
An Imperfect Gem
2 December 2007 | by littlemartinarocenaSee all my reviews

A grim long voyage with an earnest script by the remarkable Abby Mann and a respectful Stanley Kramer at the helm. Assorted desperate characters makes the sailing a gripping one. When the extraordinary Simone Signoret, Oskar Werner and Vivien Leigh are on, we're there with them one hundred per cent. Simone Signoret's addicted Countess and Vivien Leigh's bitter and disillusioned middle age Southern woman touch and dominate the highest, most powerful moments. Their stories have an immediate resonance and their faces, wonderful, beautiful faces, carry a truth that is as pungent as it is undeniable. Painful yes, very painful but, as it happens with the best kind of drama, entertaining, compelling, cinematic. Jose Ferrer's German bore, George Segal and Elizabeth Ashley and even the wonderful Michael Dunn will make you sea sick at times but I will recommend it nonetheless just to admire and enjoy Vivien Leigh's Charleston or Simone Signoret looking at Oskar Werner with a mixture of love, lust, compassion and need. For collectors of imperfect gems.


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