In 1933, a luxury liner sails from Mexico to Germany. On board: Vivien Leigh, who is bitterat the loss of her youth; Simone Signoret, a Spanish countess who is being deported; OksarWerner, the ship’s doctor with the bad heart condition who falls in love with Signoret; JoseFerrer as the rude, crude, stupid Nazi mouthpiece; Lee Marvin as the washed-up ball player; andso on and so on and so on. The format of big stars and their multiple interlocking tales was firstperfected in…the 30s with Grand Hotel, but Ship of Fools more closely resemblesthe disaster movies that would come a few years later (only in this case the disaster is thelooming Second World War). There’s some grand fun to be had (in a campy kind of way), butthe movie is so determined to teach you something valuable that the effect is like watching a soapopera while eating bean sprouts.
The sound is mono. The track is clearn and completely free of distortion. The dialogue isperfectly clear (though some of the German accents might have you reaching for the subtitles).The music has a fine, warm sound to it.
The aspect ratio is 1.33:1, and this is, insofar as I have been able to determine, the originalratio, which is very surprising for 1965. So far, I haven’t been able to find evidence to thecontrary. At any rate, the print quality is generally very good. There are some moments ofspeckling and grain, and there’s some vertical line damage on the right-hand side of the screenabout 130 minutes in. Edge enhancement is visible also. The picture is extremely sharp, however,and the black-and-white photography just gorgeous.
You’ve got trailers for All the King’s Men, Born Yesterday and FromHere to Eternity. The menu is basic.
This is not a movie that has aged very well, and is very difficult to take seriously, preciselybecause it takes itself so seriously. Solidly entertaining, though.
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