Revolutions on campus, rebellion in schools and the ‘establishment’ trying to subvert the subversion by playing a line and then pulling it. As political turmoil explodes on campus, a group of radical activists occupy an administration building in the university. They want change and have a list of 12 demands. The Board of Trustees reviews the list and finds it hard to negotiate. The only point they like is the one that says Professor F.W.J. “Paco” Perez, should be university chancellor. Despite his radical beliefs, he might be able to get through to the students. Perez reads their demands, which include good ideas like inner-city scholarships and college reinvestment program but also has three very difficult points that even Perez disagrees with. These are the students’ right to hire and fire the faculty, so what can he do to resolve this?
Of course I could speak about the films director, Stanley Kramer. Ship of Fools (currently available on Powerhouse) is one of many great works. Take The Defiant Ones, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner or Inherit the Wind. Mention any of these three films and you have political works, that challenge and are subversive. He was a film maker that started on the ground and worked his way up. Taking shape at a time when youth rebellion was resetting the world. I could mention screenwriter Erich Segal. Writer of films, professor and part time screenplay writer. He had a few hits. Most notably the one Love Story (which he also translated into a novel, which sold millions). However what is more important about the film is that it is so right. Timely is a concept used a lot in finance. This film is so timely and pertinent because it gets that two extreme sides are often filled with people trying to achieve the irrational. These people fail because those in the middle, have to pick up the pieces and settle the structure. So in the end rebellion is a good thing but it will always fail because it is guided by irrational forces that have to be made rational (in the films case by a radical, former radical, radical). Its brilliance is in it getting the commitments made and needed for this.
The HD remaster is not great. I am sorry for this but some scenes have wear that makes the image hard to see, others have lines and some others are out of focus. Its enough to jar the seasoned viewer.
Not much on the disc but the commentary by Paul Talbot is a thing of beauty. He details the Kramer production, Script writing, Performances, gives tid bits on the films creation and reception. Then the notes on how it was screened post cinemas is all detailed with care and clarity.
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES:
- High Definition remaster
- Original mono audio
- Audio commentary with film historian Paul Talbot
- wo Sides of the Coin (2019, 14 mins): interview with composer Barry De Vorzon on the songs and music of R.P.M.
- Isolated music & effects track
- TV spot
- Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
- New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- Limited edition exclusive 32-page booklet with a new essay by Jeff Billington, Stanley Kramer on R.P.M., original soundtrack album liner notes, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
- World premiere on Blu-ray
- Limited Edition of 3,000 copies