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Ship of Fools Reviews

GRAND HOTEL at sea. It's the early 1930s, and an oceanliner peopled with a cross-section of society is leaving Vera Cruz for Bremerhaven. In the high class section are several well-to-do people, while steerage holds sugar workers returning to Spain after a season of work in Cuba. There are several wealthy Germans on the ship, and all are asked to sit at the captain's table save two--Heinz Ruhmann, a Jew, and Dunn, a dwarf. Werner, the ship's doctor and a man with a bad heart, makes time with Signoret, a Spaniard being deported for her political activities. Drunken satyr Marvin is a failed baseball player whose career went awry because he couldn't hit the outside curve ball. Also on the ship are unmarried lovers Segal and Ashley, flirtatious divorcee Leigh (in her last screen role), evangelist Wengraf, and dancer Greco. All of the above stories are interwoven, soap opera style, so we never follow any single story for any lengthy period of time. It's an adult picture with graphic language and important themes, the main one being Nazism. Superb acting in an Abby Mann script that seldom descends into bathos.