Mutiny On The Bounty (1935)


Not to be confused with 'Revolt In Me Booty'
Not to be confused with 'Revolt In Me Booty'

Genre: Period Adventure Drama

Starring: Clark Gable (It Happened One Night  • Gone with the Wind), Charles Laughton (The Paradine Case  • Jamaica Inn)

Directed By: Frank Lloyd (Blood on the SunCavalcade)

Overview: Based on the true story of Christian Fletcher's mutiny against Captain Bligh on the HMS Bounty in 1789, we follow the ill-fated tale of an English ship bound for Tahiti to bring breadfruit to the West Indies and learn why the ship never brought its cargo home.

Settling in to my Captain's chair, ready to watch this naval adventure unfold, I expected Mutiny on The Bounty to be a tale rich in action! Adventure! ROMANCE! But before the opening credits even started, a sobering reminder that this was the story of real events that took place on the high seas in 1789 made this film just a little more intriguing.

Expecting Clark Gable to be the next swashbuckling, knife-in-the-mouth, sail-carving Douglas Fairbanks-grade stunty frontman for this film, it quickly became apparent that Mutiny on The Bounty, though filled with a fair bit of comedic levity, would honour the true tale of a crew who'd suffered enough at the hands of the now-infamous Captain Bligh to do a deed so heinous as to risk death for a chance at freedom from oppression.

We're immediately thrust into the noble/serf oppression theme of the film with the opening scene. The British Navy forcibly enlists unwilling crewmen for a two-year trip to Tahiti. And, rather than drumming up the sentiment of a noble adventure on the high seas, those opening credits are quite honest in the purpose of the trip - to gather breadfruit plants and transport them to the West Indies with the purpose of finding a cheaper way of feeding slaves. Ah what a different world we lived in. From this point on, we see ever more tyrannical examples of Bligh's command and the aftermath of the events of a ships' mutiny, certainly an exciting and entertaining story.

Laughton plays a perfect angry little man, and though it would have been nice to see more of his character's 'exceptional seafaring skills' on the Bounty to flesh Bligh out a little more, his supporting role to Gable's Fletcher Christian is fiercely well played. Gable is as classic as you'd expect, and the supporting cast is perfectly directed.

Add a massive budget and beautiful locations and we have in Mutiny On The Bounty a film very deserving of placement on the 1001 list.

I've only seen Laughton in the role of worms... so he makes a good worm, turns out.
I've only seen Laughton in the role of worms... so he makes a good worm, turns out.

Performance: 9 Cinematography: 8 Script: 8 Plot: 8 Mood: 8

Overall Rating: 82% (Plenty Full Of Fun)

Now, of course the film's telling is more romanticized than the true events. Captain Bligh may have actually been a more lenient captain than most in his station at the time, and Fletcher Christian may have been more of a kidnapper than a saviour, but it's refreshing to see a tale that stuck so close to the the original events.

One more fact before I sign off. Eventually the British did get their cargo of breadfruit to the West Indies, but the slaves wouldn't eat it, meaning that the only valuable cargo from that entire ordeal may very well have been its historical relevance to modernizing naval law.

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I loved the extra information about the true story behind this picture that you provide. I would love to look into the original story. Adaptation of true events, what they choose to show and what they choose to skip over, is so fascinating to me. Like The Blind Side. Did you know that dude was actually good at football when he went to live with the white folks? He didn't need sassy Sandra Bullock to teach him that.

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