Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

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Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

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Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) Movie Review


An especially grandiose production for its era, the first production of Mutiny on the Bounty sailed into history with Charles Laughton as the evil Captain Bligh and Clark Gable as Fletcher Christian, the officer who joined the crew against him. While Mutiny takes an unfortunate 90 minutes to get exciting, its gripping third act makes the movie totally worthwhile. And while Gable is memorable in his role, it's Laughton that owns the show as the despicable captain you can't help but hate.

The film follows the classic book's story faithfully, as Bligh and his men sail for Tahiti (around Africa) in search of breadfruit trees. Eventually they get there, mingle with natives, go primal, and load up the old HMS Bounty. But first officer Fletcher Christian doesn't stand idly by for Bligh's abuse and improprieties. On the way home, Christian rallies the troops against the old boss, plopping him and his loyals on a dinghy and setting them adrift. Torn between the two leaders is midshipman Byam (Franchot Tone), the remainder of the film concerns Bligh's noble fight to survive without rations and with the slightest level of hope, while Christian takes the boat back to Tahiti (where the island women are to die for) and eventually faces court martial back in England. It's an epic adventure that's still imitated today.

Mutiny on the Bounty remains, almost 70 years after it was made, as the only film in history to garner three Best Actor nominations for the same movie, and it deserves it. Bounty would earn eight toal nominations and win only one: Best Picture.

Prepare to fire.


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