Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Favorite Movie Kisses I, Ship of Fools: Simone Signoret & Oskar Werner

I saw somewhere online a list of someone's favorite movie kisses and I wanted to make one too.
There must be hundreds I've enjoyed watching; however, only one immediately springs to mind:
Oskar Werner and Simone Signoret kissing in Ship of Fools (1965, USA, dir. Stanley Kramer).

I couldn't find a still of them together, besides this Japanese movie poster, but I screencapped their first kiss (above) off youTube.

My favorite kiss, though, is too dark to catch--I screencapped them looking at each other, right before.

The whole scene is below, at 1:20-2:10.

If you want to watch all the interactions between these two, they're here: Simone Signoret & Oskar Werner, part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Their characters are only two among a large cast onboard a German ship sailing from South America to Europe on the eve of World War II.
Oskar Werner plays Dr. Wilhelm Schumann, a proper, middle-aged ship doctor, who suffers heart sickness. He's almost boringly good yet inexplicably charming.

Simone Signoret is La Contessa, an overblown rose who at midlife looks like she lives on spoonfuls of whipped cream and injections of morphine (definitely my sign, Pisces).
She is being sent into exile for aiding Latin American rebels because she's seen how rotten it is that, as she says, everything she owned came out of their lives.

Quite a lot of their conversation happens when one or the other of them is about to go to sleep.

Despite the doctor's initial disapproval, he gives her an injection to help her sleep--but only after she tells him,
"My house has been burned ... they've taken everything I had ... now I'm being taken to prison on an island I know nothing about and you're giving me a Sunday School sermon ... "

Later she returns the favor by putting him in his pajamas and reading him to sleep in bed.

These two weary people are like beat-up old suitcases, their longings--his for meaning, hers for innocence--left almost forgotten in a side pocket. They come together in desperation and hunger and, even, gently, love. Their story still feels true in a movie full of stories that otherwise haven't aged very well.

The kiss I remember is from their last night together, before she must disembark for imprisonment on Teneriffe.
At the end of this clip, you see them saying good-bye the next morning. She puts out her cigarette like a dock worker and he weeps, and then she walks away from the ship, escorted by guards.
Drop-dead noble in her high heels and little fur-trimmed jacket, she doesn't look back once.

In the end, these two can't actually rescue themselves or each other from their doom. But that's not what saving a life means, is it?


Darwi said...

I see you're quite happy for deciding to drop 365 project. You went straight to kissing :D

fresca said...

You're right! I hadn't thought of that!
I tried to make the photo project fun, but it just felt more like work. Writing is more like kissing. : )

momo said...

one favorite movie kiss: Daniel Day-Lewis in My beautiful laundrette (with champagne).

fresca said...

Oooh, yes, that IS a good one, which I'd totally forgotten!

Anonymous said...

hmmm...I've never been into kissing...more of a cuddling and touching and looking and smelling and mutual vocalizations and particular sweet nothings kinda gal. (I think it's because, in the early daze of boy/man-kissing, there were smokers or heavily bearded, coarse bristled fellas, and then, as you may recall, Frescadita, in the early 1980s there was the very otherwise sexy Greek anarchist who hadn't brushed his teeth for probably most of his teen years. BLeccchh! Kissing women is much more delightful! So, I guess, i'm not as cued in to the act of kissing itself in movies--(i. e. during hetero love-making scenes)-- but gravitate more to the dynamics between the partners, stares and glances, touching, imagined smells and flavors, sounds of pleasure and lust and affection. One of the most erotic movie scenes I recall is the seduction scene in "Greystoke"--(which I've only seen twice)--between Jane (Andy McDowell before she got famous) and Tarzan (a Swiss-born? actor with the first name of Kristian?). There is exactly the right amount of color/noncolor, shadow and light, suspense and primal urges juxtaposed with "civilized" behavior to have just sent me into that almost panting, heart-racing state while watching. Just a tech of Spring Fever goin' on!

So glad to read a long and juicy post again. But don't give up completely on the photo thing. As you know, some of those have been such excellent giftsto us all out here!

Love and Life!


fresca said...

Well, Stef, you've brought up something I was thinking too--that the most romantic or sexy moments in film, not to mention life, are not necessarily the moments of contact...as it were.
I'll include "the look" or "the snuffle" (snork) in my future filmic compilations...

"Greystoke"-another film I've forgotten-- very steamy--but did Tarzan ever brush his teeth??? : )

Darwi said...

Do not worry Fresca, according to the time-frame of the original story, Jane did not brush hers either. So they were both fine.
I think that the opinion about the kissing is something purely individual. I find the kissing romantic; I like to kiss the bloke. I even like to feel those stubs of the beard when we kiss. For me that's sexy.
I must add that I was kissing blokes who were taking care of themselves. No negative experiences there. And to be honest, I know females who smoke and do not brush teeth, so it's just depends what kind of the person one will go for. I even now few of females who have a facial hair "problem" too. :D
Anyway, to conclude, it's matter of the personal taste who like what kind of kissing, and whom to kiss...

fresca said...

LOL, Darwi! I'm so relieved to know Jane and Tarzan's bad oral hygiene cancelled each other out! : ) That was the 19th century, right? They must have been very ripe, like those wonderfully smelly cheeses.

I agree--kissing and everything else romantic or sexy is a matter of individual taste. It's been a few years, but I have some very fond memories of kissing...

Manfred Allseasons said...

An excellent post....

fresca said...

Thanks, Manfred--Quite possibly it applies to musicians too.