User Reviews (3)

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  • Warning: Spoilers
    He's had his money stolen, he's been deported, he's been more or less shanghaied. He's been depraved to a degree that he considers the successful theft of a couple of tins of plum butter from the ship's cargo a revelation and even redemption. Unfortunately the plum butter tastes of the ammunition it is to conceal. Things could not become better after that, no, they are to get even worse. I saw the movie in late 1969, when I was twelve and the movie was ten years old, and I remember it to have been terribly haunting. Actually, it's the only movie I can remember so far where you can see a man shoved overboard and left drowning, desperately paddling and screaming for help as he is disappearing in the distant keel water of the Yorikke. Altogether the movie is fine. There is no attempt at adding any artificial depth and insight into Traven's original novel, and his direct, uncompromising and unsentimental style is congenially caught in the movie.There are no moralizing traits, and no lengthy dialogues. The shots are clear and unpretentious, the details are correct. The scenery is not exaggeratedly squalid or repulsive, in short: it's at no time a film set you see, but real sea-life. It is as if the camera just had followed a tramp at the bottom of his luck and filmed what was to be seen in any European port and on any ragged cargo ship in those days. In fact, traveling the Baltic, the North Sea and the Mediterranean in regular intervals in the sixties, you might have met some of the Yorikke crew... Buchholz, Adorf and Sommer are at the beginnings of their international careers. They're young, fresh, and without mannerism, so Adorf's animalistic furor and Buchholz' moodiness are left to vividly and uninhibitedly express the disillusionment and despair of those on a voyage with no return.
  • Based on a book by B. Traven, author of "The Treasure of Sierra Madre."

    The film is well acted, vividly photographed and distinctly better than we have any right to expect.

    It depicts a fugitive sailor's time on a tramp steamer, with lots of tough guys, much grubby detail, a catastrophe and an amazing final image that will stay with you long after you've forgotten the rest of the film. Very worthwhile.

    When will German DVD makers get smart and put English and French subtitles on their discs? A little extra expense would give them a worldwide clientele instead of just selling to two countries.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Das Totenschiff" or "Ship of the Dead" or "The Naked and the Brave" is a co-production between West Germany and Mexico from the late 1950s, so this one already has its 60th anniversary two years from now. It was directed by Georg Tressler, one of the more (but not most) known German-language filmmakers from his time and a really prolific man, who worked in the industry for half a century overall. The script is by a trio of writers and this time it is not a case of too many cooks spoiling the brother as I believe this black-and-white film is a success for the most part of its roughly 1.5 hours. A lot of that is thanks to the cast as Horst Buchholz was definitely on the rise as the German equivalent to Marlon Brando, not just in terms of his looks, but also in terms of his very physical acting style. I think this is among the better Buchholz films I have seen so far. And he worked with Tressler on other occasions too by the way. Now about the movie itself: it is about a sailor who steps from one misfortune into the next really and it starts right at the beginning with the very first scene that plays a major role in terms of all the bad things happening to him afterward. The cast includes more gifted actors like the young Mario Adorf, still under the age of 30 here and he turns 87 soon. I always liked him as I believe he has great screen presence overall. He may have been a bit underused apart from the very ending, but it's still nice to see him in here. In terms of the other supporting characters, I think it is a bit tough to keep in mind who is who really, but that is mostly due to the actors being very much forgotten today. And none of the performances really stand out either. Still nobody is bad by any means in here either and this refers to the people in front of as well as behind the camera. I believe the 50s probably weren't the greatest decade from the 20th century when it comes to German films, but here we have one example that is actually fairly decent to watch overall with weaknesses and lengths that aren't too crucial. That's why I give it a thumbs-up and recommend seeing it, especially if you love black-and-white films about life at the sea or seafaring ion general. I also found it nice for a change to have a German film for once from that time that had entirely different focus than they usually did back then and had nothing to do with coming to terms with what happened in the 1930s and 1940s in Germany. Maybe that's also why Buchholz was on board, even if the way they tried to establish him as an international star, this time by making his character American, was a bit on the cringeworthy side. But like I said, the positive is still more frequent than the negative and you can check this one out. The ending was really good too.