Ship of Fools

D: Stanley Kramer
Columbia (Stanley Kramer)
US 1965
148 mins


W: Abby Mann [based on the novel by Katherine Anne Porter]
DP: Ernest Laszlo
Ed: Robert C. Jones
Mus: Ernest Gold
PD: Robert Clatworthy
Cos: Bill Thomas & Jean Louis

Vivien Leigh (Mary Treadwell), Simone Signoret (La Condesa), Jose Ferrer (Rieber), Lee Marvin (Tenny), Oskar Werner (Dr. Schumann), Elizabeth Ashley (Jenny), George Segal (David), Michael Dunn (Glocken)

A melodramatic soap opera set at sea, where a ship sailing from Mexico to Germany in 1933 has a rich complement of characters, each with their own story, status and prejudices. 
There's a few stories which director Stanley Kramer has to keep afloat, and though the source material would probably work better as a book, this adaptation is probably as good as what could have been made at the time, without the use of clichéd narration.
The ship's company sees a German, a Jew, a coquette heiress, an expatriate countess, a terminally ill doctor, a racist cowboy, a passionless newlywed couple, a dwarf, a prostitute and a large horde of Cuban peasants, all with their own story which unfolds during the voyage.
The film tackles a lot of subjects, with just as many metaphors, the chief one being the rise of fascism in the prelude to the Second World War. 

Vivien Leigh & Lee Marvin in Ship of Fools
Vivien Leigh & Lee Marvin in Ship of Fools