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Trivia / Morituri

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  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, $6,290,000. Box office, $3,000,000. It is believed that the film's title was not understood by the public. As such, when re-released, the film was re-named Saboteur: Code Name Morituri.
  • Contractual Obligation Project: Marlon Brando made this film as part of a ten-year old debt to 20th Century Fox that required him to start shooting in April 1964.
  • Fake Nationality: Marlon Brando and Yul Brynner as Germans.
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  • Production Posse: Marlon Brando had previously worked with producer Aaron Rosenberg and actors Trevor Howard, Gil Stuart and Keith McConnell on Mutiny on the Bounty. At the time, Brando was preparing a case against The Saturday Evening Post for saying that no British actor would work with him after the debacle of that production. Howard discovered the ploy only after he was already committed to the film and was not happy about it but Brando succeeded in winning his case.
  • The Alleged Ship: The ship used for filming, MV Blue Dolphin, was 20 years old and in poor condition when it was rented. The ship's boilers broke down four times during production, which prevented it from steering (steam was used to power the steering engine and cranes) and caused repeated delays in production.
  • Wag the Director: According to screenwriter Daniel Taradash, Creator/Marlon Brando would often rewrite, discard or add new dialogue or scenes to the script. Often he would show up late for these conferences and "announce that he had been drinking all night and had a hangover," according to Taradash (who knew the actor was not a drinker and was merely using it as an excuse). Then, "Marlon would curl up in a large chair and we would at last start to go over the script, and either he wasn't paying attention at all, or if he did so he would suddenly say, 'I think my character would do so and so and so and so.' His idea of rewriting was how would Marlon Brando act in the situation." The actor would also reblock scenes or perform some action not previously discussed before the cameras began rolling. One such example was an important conversation between Brando and Janet Margolin, when the actor abruptly crossed the cabin for no reason to look out a porthole and then returned to his mark. It was "because his goddamned lines were on the idiot board outside the porthole!" Taradash later revealed.
    • Brando was equally hard on Wicki whom he considered impersonal and mechanical due to his meticulous attention to technical details. His slow production methods so frustrated the actor at one point that Brando ordered the director off the set.
  • What Could Have Been:
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    • Charlton Heston was originally offered the role of Robert Craig.
    • Marlon Brando offered directing duties to Stanley Kubrick who was working on "more interesting ideas (of his own)," according Kubrick's letter collection.

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