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Morituri [VHS] (1965)

Marlon Brando , Yul Brynner , Bernhard Wicki  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Marlon Brando, Yul Brynner, Janet Margolin, Trevor Howard, Martin Benrath
  • Directors: Bernhard Wicki
  • Writers: Daniel Taradash, Werner Jörg Lüddecke
  • Producers: Aaron Rosenberg, Barney Rosenzweig
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English, German
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • VHS Release Date: January 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6301798589
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,647 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

A German living in India during World War II is blackmailed by the English to impersonate an SS officer on board a cargo ship leaving Japan for Germany carrying a large supply of rubber for tyres. His mission is to disable the scuttling charges so the captain cannot sink the ship if they are stopped by English warships.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The quest to steal Hitler's rubber... October 9, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It's thought by many that Marlon Brando was probably one of the greatest actors to grace the silver screen, if not one of the weirdest (at least later in his life). Based on that alone (his acting, not his weirdness), I purchased Morituri (1965), having heard little to nothing about the film. The fact it also stars Yul Brynner didn't hurt either. Regardless, I am glad I picked this one up, as it's really quite good.

The title, as far as I can tell, is Latin meaning `for those about to die', which seems apt after watching the film. Directed by Bernhard Wicki, someone I've never heard of, probably because he was an Austrian who mainly directed German films, the film stars Marlon Brando and Yul Brynner. Also appearing are Janet Margolin (Nevada Smith), Trevor Howard (The Third Man), and a German actor I've never heard of named Martin Benrath who I thought was quite good.

The film, set during WWII, begins with German Captain Rolf Mueller being given charge of a cargo ship, leaving Japan and destined for occupied France, one that contains critical raw materials, mainly rubber, important for Germany's war effort. He's none too happy with his assignment, as some of the crew is made up of undesirables and political prisoners destined to be tried upon arrival (I would guess they wouldn't be to eager to reach their destination). The Allied forces, on learning of the contents of the ship, approach Robert Crain, a German demolitions expert and ex-patriot hiding in English ruled India, for the purpose of getting him on the ship, not to blow up the ship, but to disarm the scuttle charges (apparently German ships contained explosives so that if they were to get captured, the captain was to detonate the explosives and `scuttle', or sink, the vessel to keep it out of enemy hands).
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Neglected masterpiece May 8, 2005
Format:DVD
This movie came out amid a spate of World War II remembrance movies in the early 60s, I think, and by then people were getting tired of the genre. That's a pity, because this is a really remarkable piece of work. There are parts of it that seem almost directed by Orson Welles, particularly the extraordinary camerawork below decks as Brando tries to defuse the bombs that would sink the ship. The script is one of the most searchingly intelligent you'll ever come across, and the whole thing explores the theme of loyalty and lying and expediency with a brilliance you just don't see in movies anymore. It's like Kafka at sea. There are splendid scenes where Brando, using an exaggerated German accent, makes himself into an SS agent, then has to backtrack to present himself in another role to Yul Brynner (who is also excellent in this film) like an instant chameleon. Then he has to act another way for the crew. Then he has to act another way for the woman. Then he has to act another way for the German officers. I've never seen Brando do better. There is a sort of hall-of-mirrors strangeness and refined characterization in this film that makes it quite unique. The DVD presentation is crystalline and the play of shadows and light over the decks and underdecks is quite astonishing. Jerry Goldsmith, who must have been very, very young when he did this, did the score. It reminds me strongly of "The Third Man," with virtual zither-like effects. I don't want to make this sound too academic and hypercritical, but this odd little movie is one of the smartest, most intelligent, artistic things I have seen in a long while. It makes all the John Wayne movies about Marines taking beaches and saving China from the Chinese, look very, very stupid. Exquisitely written, exquisitely acted, exquisitely filmed. This is the best movie you never saw.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic wwII sea adventure October 10, 2005
By K. Rai
Format:DVD
This is one of the best WWII films i Have seen. It really boggles my mind that this film flopped at the box office and with the critics.

Brando and Brynner are amazing to look at and the screen crackells with their chemistry.

The film has serious drama, dialogue and the plight of the concentration camp vicitms is poignantly handled.

Brando is amazing to look at and his command of the accents is great to watch. He is just brilliant and Brynner stands up to him very well..

The direction is tight and the cinematography is one of the best i have ever seen.

The movie should be reevaluted and get its rightful and much deserved appreciation.

a 21 gun salute to the movie. Another slap on the critics who ssaid that Brando did nothing great in the 60s.

The only hitch that i can see is that there should have been extra features besides the trailors in the dvd.

all in all, great fun.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Those Who Are About To Die September 9, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Bernhard Wicki's film of high seas suspense in a world of espionage during WWII. A very tight script and good direction compensated by the amazing talents of Brynner and Brando.

The film focuses on the character of Marlon Brando who plays a wealthy German who had escaped from Germany to settle in India. Brando is the epidemy of self interest and doesn't care who wins the war. British intelligence approaches him and orders him to board a German merchant vessel leaving Tokyo Harbor for Strasbourg France with a cargo of rubber for the war effort. The Allies are also short on rubber and so coerce Brando to seize the ship under the threat of deporting him back to Germany where he would probably be shot as a traitor. Under such duress, Brando accepts the assignment and begins to demolish the explosives that are intended to scuttle the ship should it be captured or impaired. Brynner is the ship's commander and is an apolitical character. Although old fashioned in terms of patriotism, Brynner's character has no love for Hitler or the party unlike his 1st mate. Brando uses his cover as an SS officer to manipulate the first mate. At the same time, Brando uses his real identity to persuade the prisoner crew to mutiny and come with him to meet the Allied ships waiting for them. Things go terribly wrong however as the ship deviates from its expected course and Brando's cover is blown. What follows is a high suspense story of courage and determination.

This is a great film with lots of character development and suspense. The performances of Brando and Brynner are simply outstanding. This is a great film to own.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting World War II Movie
This is an interesting and a very well done world war II movie and is often over looked. Marlon Brandos Character was a German solider in World War II who didn't believe in war and... Read more
Published 12 days ago by ClassicRocker
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, great cast
I just love these movies, there is nothing like them today. Brando and Yul, what more can one ask for...?
A good plot with a surprise ending.
Published 2 months ago by Erick Griffin
3.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood is to history what oil is to water
Simply stated, Hollywood should NEVER make historical movies. Stick to comedies and dramas unhinged in time and place. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Stephen Stults
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
This film arrived timely and arrived perfectly packaged. I purchased this mainly because it starred Brando/Brenner not knowing really what to expect The film was great and the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rob
2.0 out of 5 stars A blockade runner, boldly going... absolutely nowhere!
I count this seemingly very promising 1965 war film as one of my most disappointing viewings EVER. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

1. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Maciej
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie
Awesome, no problems here everything was fine. The movie itself is definitely a classic Brando was great in this role.
Published 10 months ago by David H McLaughlin
4.0 out of 5 stars Brando and Brynner
Story line is ok, but acting up there again - Something about those actors that still mesmerize - more so than the Pitts or Clooneys of today
Published 13 months ago by JF Awenenti
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the Usual WWII Yarn
This film was made less than twenty years later WWII and Hollywood was still painting the Nazis as soulless lock-step automatons bent on conquering the world. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Eric Sanberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Where are the good guys?
It's easy to see why this wasn't an initial box office success. If you understand the title, you know you aren't in for an amusing couple of hours. Read more
Published 14 months ago by G. J. McPherson
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but I can't call it great
Just a couple of minor points:
1. The movie needed a little more contrast. I could decrease the muddiness with my player's contrast controls, though.
2. Read more
Published on August 28, 2011 by Dave
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