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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Mutiny On The Bounty (1935)

In 1787, the HMS Bounty sets sail for Tahiti under the leadership of Captain William Bligh (Charles Laughton). Their mission is to obtain breadfruit but the voyage is a nightmare as the men are driven to the brink by the sadistic and heartless Captain. The ship's Lieutenant (Clark Gable) tries to reason with the Captain but it soon becomes apparent that if anything is to change, the men must take matters into their own hands. Based on the novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall and directed by Frank Lloyd. The film takes an incredible amount of artistic license regarding the actual facts of the Bounty mutiny and the people involved. If one doesn't take the film as an authentic portrayal one can enjoy it immensely in spite of its many flaws. Clark Gable is very good as Fletcher Christian although he's never believable as an English sailor. He's Clark Gable and that's what audiences wanted to see, he doesn't even attempt an English accent. Franchot Tone, the film's third lead, also doesn't attempt an English accent but his screen presence isn't as potent as Gable's and his "golly gee" performance is hard to take at times. But the film belongs to Laughton whose masterly performance holds the film together. As cinema, I much prefer the 1962 MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY or the 1984 THE BOUNTY which at least attempt to be faithful in spirit to the actual mutiny. With Henry Stephenson, Donald Crisp, Spring Byington, Herbert Mundin, Eddie Quillan, Ian Wolfe and Movita Castaneda.

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