Troy Patterson
December 12, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Ship of Fools

Current Status
In Season
Lee Marvin, Vivien Leigh
Stanley Kramer

We gave it a C

Perhaps best known for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner — a movie of high social conscience and low artistic worth — director Stanley Kramer apparently, in 1966, guilted the Academy into eight Oscar nominations with this cluttered adaptation of a Katherine Anne Porter novel. In a film that comes on like a very special episode of The Love Boat, the passengers on a luxury liner cruising from Mexico to Germany in 1933 broadly represent humanity in microcosm — Leigh’s weary divorcee, Jose Ferrer’s cartoonish anti-Semite, George Segal’s leftist painter, the peasant woodcarver in steerage who dies to save the life of a lapdog, the hooker with a heart of cliche. Tete-a-tetes, drunken confessions, and heated confrontations are interrupted only by pious sermonizing and the pithy wisdom of a dwarf.

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