Stanley Kramer – Ship of Fools (1965)

Ship of Fools (1965)

Published 11 Nov 2019



Ship of Fools (1965) A Film Directed by Stanley Kramer with Vivien Leigh, Simone Signoret, José Ferrer.

Synopsis | Plot
Vivien Leigh, Simone Signoret, Jose Ferrer and Lee Marvin All give Mature and Passionate Performances in this Adaptation of Katherine Anne Porter’s 1962 Novel Recounting the Voyage of A German Ship as it leaves Mexico On its Way to Bremerhaven, Germany, Prior to World War II, in 1931. The Film highlights How the Voyage is Fraught with Anti Semitism, Unrequited Love, Xenophobia and Dissatisfied Lives. A Microcosm of the World and the Human Experience is Revealed Aboard A German Ocean Liner in the 1930′s. Based on A 1962 Novel by Katherine Anne Porter.

1965  2 Academy Awards, Best Cinematography (B&W), Art Direction (B&W). 8 Nominations
1965  Golden Globes, 3 Nominations, Including Best Film, Drama
1965  New York Film Critics Circle, Best Actor (Oskar Werner)
1965  National Board of Review Top 10 Best Films and Actor (Marvin)
1965  BAFTA Award, 2 Nominations Including Best Foreign Actor (Werner)
1965 Writers Guild of America (WGA) Nominated for Best Drama Screenplay

Marc Kagan

Vivien Leigh’s Last Film Role was Mary Treadwell in Stanley Kramer’s Ship of Fools, A Novel Written by Katherine Ann Porter. Vivien Leigh had Battled Mental Illness and Tuberculosis for Much of her Life and it would be the Tuberculosis Which Eventually Killed Her in July 1967. Producer and Director Stanley Kramer had Planned to Star Vivien Leigh but was Initially Unaware of How Fragile her Mental and Physical Health was. The Film proved to be her Last Film and in Later Recounting her Work, he Remembered her Courage in taking on the Difficult Role, “She was Ill, and the Courage to Go Ahead, the Courage to Make the Film, was Almost Unbelievable.” Kramer did Not Regret Casting her in his Film. He Admired her Fortitude, Later Saying, “She was Taking Shock Treatments at the Time Plus, she was Also Highly Nervous but Despite her Illness she Never Let it Intrude. She would Occasionally Go Off to One Side of the Soundstage and Actually be Shaking, she would Try Control herself, Go Back to the Scene that she was doing, Manage it and Do it without Having to do A Retake and then Go Back to being Nervous Again it was Something Truly Indescribable. Leigh’s Performance was Tinged by Paranoia and Resulted in Outbursts that Marred her Relationship with Other Actors, although Both Simone Signoret and Lee Marvin were Sympathetic and Understanding. In One Unusual Instance, she Hit Marvin So Hard with A Spiked Shoe, that it Marked his Face. There are Two Scenes in the Film that Stand Out. The First One is Where Vivien is Walking Down the Long Passageway to her Stateroom and she does A Charleston Dance Step in Hallway and Then Continues on to her Stateroom As if Nothing had Happened. That’s When the Other Scene takes Place As she Removes off her Make Up she Starts Talking to her Reflection about Growing Old and Acting her Age. Vivien’s Performance in this Scene Evokes Mere Glances of Scarlett O Hara, Blanche DuBois, and Karen Stone. At this Moment Lee Marvin Breaks into her Room and Attempts to have his Way with her. She will have None of That and Beats him Off with her High Heeled Shoe. When the Ship reaches its Destination they Both Disembark Separately, his Face Covered in Hand Aids and Vivien Coolly walks Down the Gangplank with her Head Held High making her Grand Exit, from you might say From Life Itself.


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