Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Often described as "Ship of Fools with a conscience," Voyage of the Damned is based on a true story. In 1939, the Nazis ostentatiously loaded a luxury liner with hundred of Jewish refugees from all walks of life. The ship then tried to drop anchor in Havana, Cuba-only to have its passengers refused entry by the Cuban government, in keeping with its super-stringent immigration policies. This was exactly what the Nazis expected to happen, and indeed wanted to happen. By having the refugees turned away from Havana, the German government could "prove" that the Jews were indeed the most unwanted race on earth, thereby justifying Hitler's extermination policy. The crosssection of humanity on board the ship includes the requisite big-time stars: Faye Dunaway as a monocle-sporting countess and Oscar Werner as Dunaway's society-doctor husband; professor Luther Adler and his wife Wendy Hiller; poverty-stricken Nehemiah Persoff and Maria Schell, who hope to be reunited with their "fallen" daughter Katherine Ross; disbarred attorney Sam Wanamaker and his family (wife Lee Grant, daughter Lynne Frederick); anti-Nazi captain Max Von Sydow; and so on. Representing the Cuban government are president Fernando Rey and bureaucrat Jose Ferrer; other Havana denizens include businessman Orson Welles and minister James Mason. Despite its morbid overtones, Voyage of the Damned ends on a faintly positive note.
Jewish, refugee, luxury-liner, Nazism, oppression, Cuba