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?