And The Ship Sails On


2h 8m 1984
And The Ship Sails On

Brief Synopsis

Taking on a horde of refugees upsets a luxury liner's trip to bury a famous opera singer.

Film Details

Also Known As
E la nave Va, Et vogue le Navire
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Foreign
Historical
Music
Release Date
1984
Location
Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 8m

Synopsis

Set in 1914, a luxury liner, occupied by various statesmen, aristocrats and members of the opera world, is bound for a remote island where the ashes of the world's greatest soprano are to scattered.

Film Details

Also Known As
E la nave Va, Et vogue le Navire
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Foreign
Historical
Music
Release Date
1984
Location
Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 8m

Articles

And the Ship Sails On


Federico Fellini couldn't get a movie made in 1982. The internationally acclaimed director whose elaborate, grotesque and dreamlike epics inspired the adjective "Felliniesque" had four screenplays ready to become films. The sticking point was money. Cinecittà , the state run film facility (built by Mussolini in 1937) that had served as Fellini's creative stomping grounds for most of his career was beginning a decade-long slide into hard times.

In the absence of Italian interest, America came calling. Twentieth Century Fox tried, via the formidable head of production Sherry Lansing, to woo Fellini over to Tinseltown with a sweetheart deal - spend three months in America as our guest and search for a film idea that interests you. Dino De Laurentiis, the Italian-born producer whose resume mixed the highbrow (Bergman's The Serpent's Egg [1977]) with the lowbrow (the 1976 remake of King Kong), wanted Fellini, too. He made a similarly generous offer, with the added provision that the end result must be a picture in English, but Fellini wasn't convinced. He couldn't get used to the idea of living in America, with its "multi-layered social structure", and besides, his mother was very ill.

In the early '80s, big budget special effects spectacles like ET: The Extra Terrestrial (1982) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980) ruled Hollywood. Perhaps in protest, Fellini (who freely admitted "All my life I've had a natural resistance to whatever everyone likes, or wants, or is "supposed" to do,") returned from America determined to make the anti-special effects movie - a sailing fantasy where the cruise ship is a platform built on hydraulic jacks in a studio, the ocean is sheets of polyethylene, the sun is a painted backdrop and the battleships have what looks like grey cotton streaming out of their smokestacks.

Part of the fantasy was how the passengers on this World War I-era voyage - a quest to return the ashes of the deceased operatic diva Edmea Tetua (Janet Suzman) to her birthplace, the island of Erimo - would break into song. Fellini (who famously insisted he didn't like opera because, as an Italian, he felt too much pressure to love it) included arias from Aida, Rigoletto, and La Traviata as group sing-alongs in many scenes. Lastly, the upper class mourners (a duke, a blind princess, a comic, a journalist, and a composer, among others) would have to contend with lower class stowaways that would remind them that all was not well in Europe outside their luxury cruise. With this new, outre idea in place, RAI - the state owned Italian broadcast company -- joined other investors, and And the Ship Sails On (1983, Italian title: E La Nave Va) began shooting on Cinecittà's number 5 soundstage.

Fellini admired English actors because of their work ethic, and for this film he assembled a cast of many semi-known veterans of British theater, including Barbara Jefford and Freddie Jones (who had just completed a role in the De Laurentiis-produced The Elephant Man, 1980). Fellini was uncertain about casting Jones in the role of Orlando the journalist, but after meeting with the actor and returning to Rome, he saw a gigantic advertisement for "Orlando" brand ice cream on the side of a bus and took it as a good omen.

Fellini was a mercurial director, prone to micromanagement ("There is nothing too small for me to do on the set", he once declared) as well as outbursts at his crew and extras. But he was also capable of great tenderness and intuition. In every scene in the luxurious dining hall, he insisted the food be of gourmet quality, because he hoped the taste would "inspire" the actors. And actress Norma West recalled how Fellini requested she use her real, well-loved childhood teddy bear as a prop in an emotionally difficult scene, because its presence would calm her and center her performance.

And the Ship Sails On premiered out of competition at the Venice Film Festival in 1983, with parties held in Fellini's honor. It won four David De Donatello awards (the Italian equivalent of the Oscar®), including one for set designer Dante Ferretti. Critical response, however, was mixed -- Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times described it as "a treasure" suitable for fans of the artist Edward Gorey, while David Sterritt of the Christian Science Monitor dismissed it as "a cruise to nowhere - diverting, but a bit dull". The deliberate artifice of the sets, scenario and operatic interludes is a love-it-or-hate-it proposition for audiences, but the end result is consistent with Fellini's vision: "I make a film in the same manner in which I live a dream..."
Producer: Franco Cristaldi
Director: Federico Fellini
Screenplay: Federico Fellini, Tonino Guerra (writers)
Cinematography: Giuseppe Rotunno
Art Direction: Maria-Teresa Barbasso, Nazzareno Piana, Massimo Razzi
Music: Gianfranco Plenizio
Film Editing: Ruggero Mastroianni
Cast: Freddie Jones (Orlando), Barbara Jefford (Ildebranda Cuffari), Victor Poletti (Aureliano Fuciletto), Peter Cellier (Sir Reginald J. Dongby), Elisa Mainardi (Teresa Valegnani), Norma West (Lady Violet Dongby Albertini), Paolo Paoloni (Il Maestro Albertini), Sarah-Jane Varley (Dorotea), Fiorenzo Serra (Il Granduca), Pina Bausch (La Principessa Lherimia).
C-132m. Closed Captioning.

by Violet LeVoit

References:
Alpert, Hollis. Fellini
Bondanella, Peter E. The films of Frederico Fellini
Federico Fellini Foundation
http://www.federicofellini.it/node/537
History of Cinecittà
http://www.cineaste.com/articles/the-cinecitt-pentimento-effect-a-firsthand-account
Fellinis' memories of making And The Ship Sails On http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/58-and-the-ship-sails-on
And The Ship Sails On

And the Ship Sails On

Federico Fellini couldn't get a movie made in 1982. The internationally acclaimed director whose elaborate, grotesque and dreamlike epics inspired the adjective "Felliniesque" had four screenplays ready to become films. The sticking point was money. Cinecittà , the state run film facility (built by Mussolini in 1937) that had served as Fellini's creative stomping grounds for most of his career was beginning a decade-long slide into hard times. In the absence of Italian interest, America came calling. Twentieth Century Fox tried, via the formidable head of production Sherry Lansing, to woo Fellini over to Tinseltown with a sweetheart deal - spend three months in America as our guest and search for a film idea that interests you. Dino De Laurentiis, the Italian-born producer whose resume mixed the highbrow (Bergman's The Serpent's Egg [1977]) with the lowbrow (the 1976 remake of King Kong), wanted Fellini, too. He made a similarly generous offer, with the added provision that the end result must be a picture in English, but Fellini wasn't convinced. He couldn't get used to the idea of living in America, with its "multi-layered social structure", and besides, his mother was very ill. In the early '80s, big budget special effects spectacles like ET: The Extra Terrestrial (1982) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980) ruled Hollywood. Perhaps in protest, Fellini (who freely admitted "All my life I've had a natural resistance to whatever everyone likes, or wants, or is "supposed" to do,") returned from America determined to make the anti-special effects movie - a sailing fantasy where the cruise ship is a platform built on hydraulic jacks in a studio, the ocean is sheets of polyethylene, the sun is a painted backdrop and the battleships have what looks like grey cotton streaming out of their smokestacks. Part of the fantasy was how the passengers on this World War I-era voyage - a quest to return the ashes of the deceased operatic diva Edmea Tetua (Janet Suzman) to her birthplace, the island of Erimo - would break into song. Fellini (who famously insisted he didn't like opera because, as an Italian, he felt too much pressure to love it) included arias from Aida, Rigoletto, and La Traviata as group sing-alongs in many scenes. Lastly, the upper class mourners (a duke, a blind princess, a comic, a journalist, and a composer, among others) would have to contend with lower class stowaways that would remind them that all was not well in Europe outside their luxury cruise. With this new, outre idea in place, RAI - the state owned Italian broadcast company -- joined other investors, and And the Ship Sails On (1983, Italian title: E La Nave Va) began shooting on Cinecittà's number 5 soundstage. Fellini admired English actors because of their work ethic, and for this film he assembled a cast of many semi-known veterans of British theater, including Barbara Jefford and Freddie Jones (who had just completed a role in the De Laurentiis-produced The Elephant Man, 1980). Fellini was uncertain about casting Jones in the role of Orlando the journalist, but after meeting with the actor and returning to Rome, he saw a gigantic advertisement for "Orlando" brand ice cream on the side of a bus and took it as a good omen. Fellini was a mercurial director, prone to micromanagement ("There is nothing too small for me to do on the set", he once declared) as well as outbursts at his crew and extras. But he was also capable of great tenderness and intuition. In every scene in the luxurious dining hall, he insisted the food be of gourmet quality, because he hoped the taste would "inspire" the actors. And actress Norma West recalled how Fellini requested she use her real, well-loved childhood teddy bear as a prop in an emotionally difficult scene, because its presence would calm her and center her performance. And the Ship Sails On premiered out of competition at the Venice Film Festival in 1983, with parties held in Fellini's honor. It won four David De Donatello awards (the Italian equivalent of the Oscar®), including one for set designer Dante Ferretti. Critical response, however, was mixed -- Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times described it as "a treasure" suitable for fans of the artist Edward Gorey, while David Sterritt of the Christian Science Monitor dismissed it as "a cruise to nowhere - diverting, but a bit dull". The deliberate artifice of the sets, scenario and operatic interludes is a love-it-or-hate-it proposition for audiences, but the end result is consistent with Fellini's vision: "I make a film in the same manner in which I live a dream..." Producer: Franco Cristaldi Director: Federico Fellini Screenplay: Federico Fellini, Tonino Guerra (writers) Cinematography: Giuseppe Rotunno Art Direction: Maria-Teresa Barbasso, Nazzareno Piana, Massimo Razzi Music: Gianfranco Plenizio Film Editing: Ruggero Mastroianni Cast: Freddie Jones (Orlando), Barbara Jefford (Ildebranda Cuffari), Victor Poletti (Aureliano Fuciletto), Peter Cellier (Sir Reginald J. Dongby), Elisa Mainardi (Teresa Valegnani), Norma West (Lady Violet Dongby Albertini), Paolo Paoloni (Il Maestro Albertini), Sarah-Jane Varley (Dorotea), Fiorenzo Serra (Il Granduca), Pina Bausch (La Principessa Lherimia). C-132m. Closed Captioning. by Violet LeVoit References: Alpert, Hollis. Fellini Bondanella, Peter E. The films of Frederico Fellini Federico Fellini Foundation http://www.federicofellini.it/node/537 History of Cinecittà http://www.cineaste.com/articles/the-cinecitt-pentimento-effect-a-firsthand-account Fellinis' memories of making And The Ship Sails On http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/58-and-the-ship-sails-on

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States September 1983

Released in United States Winter February 1984

Shown at Venice Film Festival September 1983.

Released in United States Winter February 1984

Released in United States September 1983 (Shown at Venice Film Festival September 1983.)