In 1939, Germany's Hamburg-America Line announced a voyage from Germany to Cuba. 937 people, the vast majority being Jews, signed up for the opportunity to escape Nazi Germany. Unbeknownst to the passengers, the visas they purchased were from a corrupt Cuban director of immigration, and they were invalid. Upon arrival in Havana, only 28 people were allowed to disembark, while the rest remained on board for weeks as they sailed to Florida, and eventually Canada, searching for safe haven. Sadly the ship returned to Antwerp after more than a month at sea. Forced back under Nazi rule as the low countries fell, it is estimated that approximately 250 of the refugees died in the extermination camps in occupied Poland.Written by
The ship used in the film was the M/V Irpinia from the Italian Grimaldi Siosa Line. Originally a French liner, she was built in France in 1929 as the steam turbine ship Campana. In 1940, she was berthed in Buenos Aires during the armistice between France and Nazi Germany in 1940. From 1943 until she was returned to her original owners in 1946, she served the Argentinian government, running between Buenos Aires and New York as the Rio Jachal. In 1955 she was acquired by the Grimaldi Siosa line. In 1962 she was converted to a single funnel design, added two Fiat diesel engines, and became a merchant vessel. The aging vessel was scheduled to be retired in 1976, but was rented by the production company as she was still well appointed and running on the Mediterranean cruise routes. She sailed for a few more years after the movie. Then, unable to obtain a certificate of seaworthiness in Italy, she was sold to ship breakers in La Spezia, Italy. She languished there for two years before finally being broken up. See more »
'Besame Mucho' was written in 1940. 'El Cumbanchero' was written in 1946. See more »
Opening credits prologue: Saturday, May 13th, 1939 Hamburg Harbor See more »
A version running a length of 182 minutes, released in 1980 on a double-cassette Magnetic Video, was released in 1980. The current video version, from Artisan/Live runs 158 minutes (even though the video cover says 137 minutes). See more »
The cast was a magnet, imagine, Faye Dunaway, Orson Welles, Malcolm McDowell, James Mason, Oskar Werner, Max Von Sydow, Wendy Hiller, Lee Grant, Maria Schell, Katherine Ross and I could go on. The splendor of the cast can't manage to disguise the poverty of the script. A huge subject tackled in Stanley Kramer's Ship Of Fool and that film also had an extraordinary cast: Vivien Leigh, Simone Signoret, Lee Marvin, Jose Ferrer and even Oskar Werner who, strangely, was in both films. However, Stanley Kramer had a great script by Abby Mann (Judgment At Nuremberg) and some of the scenes are spectacular. Here in this Voyage nothing is piercing or memorable just a succession of cardboard TV style scenes. But, if you're into star gazing this voyage could give you enough stasfictions to feel you haven't wasted a full afternoon.
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