18 Ship of Fools

Discuss Blu-rays released by Indicator and the films on them.

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NABOB OF NOWHERE
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18 Ship of Fools

#1 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:23 am

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SHIP OF FOOLS
(Stanley Kramer, 1965)
Release date: 19 February 2018
Limited Blu-ray Edition (UK Blu-ray premiere)

Stanley Kramer’s star-studded, Oscar®-winning adaptation of Katherine Anne Porter’s novel about passengers aboard an ocean liner bound to Germany from Mexico in 1933 forms a potent allegory of a world drifting inexorably towards war. With its incredible cast – including Vivien Leigh (in her last screen role), Simone Signoret, Lee Marvin, George Segal, Oskar Werner and Jose Ferrer – Ship of Fools is a powerful drama and a compelling viewing experience. It remains one of the finest ensemble pieces of the period.

INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION SPECIAL FEATURES:
• High Definition remaster
• Original mono audio
• Audio commentary with Nick Redman, Lem Dobbs and Julie Kirgo
• Karen Kramer Introduction (2007, 2 mins)
• On Board the Ship of Fools (2007, 28 mins)
• Voyage on a Soundstage (2007, 11 mins)
• Original theatrical trailer
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Neil Sinyard, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the film
• UK premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited Edition of 3,000 copies

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Ribs
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Re: Indicator

#2 Post by Ribs » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:16 am

NABOB OF NOWHERE wrote:
Apperson wrote:New titles announced, which include domino's favourite Best Picture nominee
Wasn't particularly interested in Ship of Fools but the inclusion of commentary by Film Historian Nick Redman swung it for me.
I love Stanley Kramer movies, but Ship of Fools is like a waking nightmare seemingly without end.

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Big Ben
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Re: Indicator

#3 Post by Big Ben » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:50 am

I fear for domino's mental health regarding that Ship of Fools announcement.

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Dr Amicus
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Re: Indicator

#4 Post by Dr Amicus » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:53 am

Big Ben wrote:I fear for domino's mental health regarding that Ship of Fools announcement.

I'm not sure which will be worse, the announcement or Ribs's comment above...

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rapta
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Re: Indicator

#5 Post by rapta » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:10 pm

Ship of Fools interests me somewhat, being Kramer, but I'm not rushing to buy it right away. This new set of Hammer titles is a bit better than the last, but again I'll probably only grab a reissue or two. I guess my budget for February is going to Eureka and Criterion then! :)

Anyone know what the clue for next month is from? Could be another noir, perhaps. It can't be time for Night of the Demon yet, can it?

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domino harvey
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Re: Indicator

#6 Post by domino harvey » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:19 pm

I'm 100% okay with people here associating me with hating Stanley Kramer and Ship of Fools in particular. Very proud, actually

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tojoed
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Re: Indicator

#7 Post by tojoed » Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:53 pm

domino harvey wrote:I'm 100% okay with people here associating me with hating Stanley Kramer and Ship of Fools in particular. Very proud, actually
You should be proud. I've always assumed, perhaps wrongly, that everyone felt this way, and that the notion of him as some kind of great director was a running joke here.

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Big Ben
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Re: Indicator

#8 Post by Big Ben » Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:02 pm

domino harvey wrote:I'm 100% okay with people here associating me with hating Stanley Kramer and Ship of Fools in particular. Very proud, actually
I've seen all sorts of condemnations of films for whatever reason but most come out as ramblings. Your issues with Ship of Fools was concise enough to make ever want to watch it. That's a rare case of me being persuaded not to hate watch. And I love hate watching.

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domino harvey
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Re: Indicator

#9 Post by domino harvey » Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:08 pm

Allow me to quote myself then so that even lurkers who don't want to log in to read my original write up in the Alt Oscars thread can avoid this one, or at least go in with the proper warnings (after all, many of you still bought that Mailer Eclipse set, so there's no talking to some of you!)
domino harvey wrote:Ship of Fools Exactly as subtle as you'd expect a Stanley Kramer film about… wait, what is this mess supposed to be about? Set aboard a German ocean liner circa 1933, the picture opens promisingly with a fun title sequence, so I briefly held out hope that this might not be as self-important as Kramer's other films. Then the film proper begins as Michael Dunn's dwarf rests his arms on the ship's railing and informs the audience that he's aboard a literal ship of fools and we should look for ourself amongst the travelers shown. Well, I tried, but I don't think I really fit any of these:

+ The aging American woman, disgracefully portrayed by Vivien Leigh, who is so despondent at the passage of time on her once youthful looks that she explodes with fury only when Lee Marvin's drunk lech stops raping her. This character has earlier been introduced as a victim of spousal abuse and spent the moments immediately preceding the rape dolling herself up in the mirror in deliberate clown pantomime. No, that's not me. Or anyone. Who would knowingly concoct a character arc like that on purpose?

+ The oafish Nazi sympathizer, played by the usually reliable Jose Ferrer, who hates Jews on principle and proposes killing everyone over the age of sixty while at the exclusive Captain's Table surrounded by mostly old women, because, like, the Nazis were just so clueless as to how ridiculous they sounded!!! If you are worried that as a member of the audience for a Stanley Kramer film you might be too dumb to know which are the good guys and which the bad, Kramer even makes it easy for you to visually decode the suuuuuuper complex subtext:

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+ The bickering young lovers who can't make it work because dammit, he's a socially conscious bohemian who wants his wife to devote herself selflessly to his endeavors. Wait, what? That doesn't make sense. Maybe this is me. Am I lazy fucking filmmaking?

+ How about the blindly optimistic Jewish man who's segregated from others on board but is still cheerful, since he's a proud German. This leads to the single worst shot-reverse shot in film history, a moment so cheap and nonsensical in any context other than its function in feeding a condescending superiority on the part of the viewer that it is beyond contempt. I have captured the exchange below because otherwise I think no one would believe it really happened. It did:

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+ There's also the pimp, the prostitute, the man with the Jewish wife who gets kicked out of the inner circle and pitches a tanty, the aryan sexpot, the thieving virgin who threatens his wheelchair-bound father for money to pay the whore, the perfectly attractive "ugly duckling" young girl, the revolutionary socialite, the good doctor, the woman who values her dog more than the life of an anonymous day laborer, &c &c &c. Wait, I've figured it out. I know which one's me: I'm the guy who jumped overboard rather than be stuck with all these morose caricatures!

This is a film that wallows in the overly simplified miseries of the figures it depicts and feeds into the darkest, most regrettable aspects of liberalness. It may or may not be the worst Stanley Kramer film of all time, but it's most definitely the worst to be nominated for Best Picture. The best thing about finishing this whole viewing exercise is the sweet knowledge that I will never ever have to intentionally watch a Stanley Kramer film ever again. Now there's the happiest of endings a film lover could hope for!
...and of course, after writing the above, I did end up watching a few more Kramer films, because I don't listen to me either

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peerpee
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Re: Indicator

#10 Post by peerpee » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:12 pm

If I were producing this disc, domino, I'd ask you to do a commentary.

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MichaelB
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Re: Indicator

#11 Post by MichaelB » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:25 pm

It’s not too late...

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domino harvey
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Re: Indicator

#12 Post by domino harvey » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:25 pm

If y'all want a special feature critical of Kramer, you know how to get in touch with me!

Apperson
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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#13 Post by Apperson » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:42 pm

This discussion has made me realize that the idea behind the film, that idea being the attitudes that brought the world to war are are still recognizable in society 30 years after the fact, is a really great one and could have a lot of resonance in this day and age.

Then I remember Stanley Kramer and realize it's probably more like someone making a film about the attitudes of the Trump era... in 2049.

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#14 Post by dda1996a » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:41 pm

Domino do you also hate Inherit the Wind and Mad World?

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swo17
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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#15 Post by swo17 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:52 pm

In these cases the search engine can be your friend. He actually likes Inherit the Wind. I'll leave you to discover his thoughts on IAMMMMW.

Jonathan S
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Re: Indicator

#16 Post by Jonathan S » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:55 am

peerpee wrote:If I were producing this disc, domino, I'd ask you to do a commentary.
Are there any commercially published disc commentaries for "serious" or "arty" films (by any director) which are more than mildly critical of the film? I don't necessarily mean MST3K levels of derision but something with strong and detailed dissent. I rarely listen to commentaries but such an approach would be refreshing and quite a selling point for me, especially for works I'm ambivalent about. I'm more likely to take seriously positive claims for a film if its failings are also admitted.

When I started collecting DVDs, I remember being impressed that Universal allowed some quite negative comments in the Bouzereau documentaries that accompanied their own Hitchcock series. Since then, I can only recall Tony Rayns' criticisms in his on-camera pieces for some of MoC's Mizoguchi releases. Nothing turns me off a film more than unadulterated praise but that's what I usually find in newly commissioned special features.

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GaryC
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Re: Indicator

#17 Post by GaryC » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:53 am

Jonathan S wrote:
peerpee wrote:If I were producing this disc, domino, I'd ask you to do a commentary.
Are there any commercially published disc commentaries for "serious" or "arty" films (by any director) which are more than mildly critical of the film? I don't necessarily mean MST3K levels of derision but something with strong and detailed dissent. I rarely listen to commentaries but such an approach would be refreshing and quite a selling point for me, especially for works I'm ambivalent about. I'm more likely to take seriously positive claims for a film if its failings are also admitted.

When I started collecting DVDs, I remember being impressed that Universal allowed some quite negative comments in the Bouzereau documentaries that accompanied their own Hitchcock series. Since then, I can only recall Tony Rayns' criticisms in his on-camera pieces for some of MoC's Mizoguchi releases. Nothing turns me off a film more than unadulterated praise but that's what I usually find in newly commissioned special features.
I seem to remember Julien Temple being more than a little critical of Sid and Nancy in the commentary for Criterion's original DVD. I don't have the disc any more, so can't confirm how critical he was.

In the featurette on Umbrella's DVD release of Turkey Shoot, fifteen years ago, one of the cast, Lynda Stoner, describes the film as "a putrid, puerile piece of crap".

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Mungo
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Re: Indicator

#18 Post by Mungo » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:41 am

Jonathan S wrote:
peerpee wrote:If I were producing this disc, domino, I'd ask you to do a commentary.
Are there any commercially published disc commentaries for "serious" or "arty" films (by any director) which are more than mildly critical of the film? I don't necessarily mean MST3K levels of derision but something with strong and detailed dissent. I rarely listen to commentaries but such an approach would be refreshing and quite a selling point for me, especially for works I'm ambivalent about. I'm more likely to take seriously positive claims for a film if its failings are also admitted.

When I started collecting DVDs, I remember being impressed that Universal allowed some quite negative comments in the Bouzereau documentaries that accompanied their own Hitchcock series. Since then, I can only recall Tony Rayns' criticisms in his on-camera pieces for some of MoC's Mizoguchi releases. Nothing turns me off a film more than unadulterated praise but that's what I usually find in newly commissioned special features.
Steven Soderbergh's interviews on Criterion's release of King Of The Hill certainly come to mind - Soderbergh talks about his mixed feelings for King Of The Hill and his hatred of his following film, The Underneath, (which is in the same release as a special feature) extremely honestly.

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domino harvey
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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#19 Post by domino harvey » Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:42 am

Audrey Totter mentions on one of the Warner Noir releases that none of the actors thought much of the "crime melodramas" they were asked to appear in at the time and seemed amused that anyone found them worthwhile now

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#20 Post by What A Disgrace » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:26 am

The Twilight Time crew's commentary for Khartoum received some complaints from admirers of the film due to them being quite rough with the movie.

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knives
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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#21 Post by knives » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:47 am

The commentary on Lang's Manhunt is mostly talk about how Lang should have known better except when his cultural ignorance could excuse some of the bad things.

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domino harvey
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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#22 Post by domino harvey » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:49 am

Oh God, that reminds me, what's the Drew Casper commentary where he keeps going, "Good move, Preminger. Oh, tsk, bad move, Preminger"?

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knives
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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#23 Post by knives » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:54 am

I want to say Whirlpool which is dumb enough to be true.

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domino harvey
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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#24 Post by domino harvey » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:58 am

That was Schickel, who also didn't like Preminger. Quick search tells me I'm thinking of the Advise and Consent track

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Re: Indicator: Ship of Fools

#25 Post by cdnchris » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:34 pm

I recall John Lee Anderson's commentary for Soderbergh's Che being critical and it seemed obvious he didn't care for the film much. I'm pretty sure he was only there to offer historical context and fill in the gaps the film skipped over, and it was good for that reason. He expressed annoyance at what Soderbergh didn't get into.

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