Movie Reviews - Featured Films » Epic Films - Adventure

Mutiny on the Bounty Movie Review

charles awards captain laughton

1935 – Frank Lloyd –

Some older black and white movies, with their static camera and stylized acting, may be difficult to watch. Others, like Mutiny on the Bounty, are true classics. The viewer may have to adjust to this movie since the sound effects and special effects are not what we are accustomed to today. On the other hand, in 1935, a movie had to actually tell a story to hold the viewer's attention, something Mutiny on the Bounty does admirably.

Based upon an actual incident in the late eighteenth century, the movie is a study in contrasts. Captain Bligh, vividly portrayed by the distinguished Charles Laughton, is the sadistic, obsessive commander of His Majesty's Ship, Bounty. His brutal brand of discipline seems to have no end. He orders flogging for almost any infraction, no matter how minor, even ordering a dead man flogged. A totally despicable character, Bligh is contrasted by Lieutenant Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable), the second in command of the Bounty. His disposition is much more compassionate than the heavy-handed Captain. And the men, all of them either pressed into the service or prisoners freed to serve on the ship, appreciate Mr. Christian's humanity in dealing with them. This tolerance, of course, creates discord between Christian and Bligh, whose confrontations give the film much of its drama and energy.

The movie's timelessness is also based on history. First, these events changed the way the British Navy operated concerning conduct of officers and seamen toward one another. Second, the simple, easy-to-follow story is a masterful portrayal of antagonist against protagonist. And that simplicity may be one of the biggest drawbacks to today's sophisticated viewer who might demand a little more glitz and razzle dazzle.

Mutiny is based on the first two parts of Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall's trilogy, Mutiny on the Bounty and Men Against the Sea. The Brando remake also included material from the third book, Pitcairn's Island.

Cast: Clark Gable (Fletcher Christian), Charles Laughton (Captain Bligh), Franchot Tone (Roger Byam), Herbert Mundin (Smith), Eddie Quillan (Ellison), Dudley Digges (Baccuus), Donald Crisp (Burkitt), Henry Stephenson (Sir Joseph Banks), Francis Lister (Captain Nelson), Spring Byington (Mrs. Byam), Motiva (Tehanni), Mamo (Maimiti), Byron Russell (Quintal), Percy Warren (Coleman), David Torrence (Lord Hood) Screenwriter: Talbot Jennings, Jules Furthman, Carey Wilson Cinematographer: Arthur Edeson Composer: Herbert Stothart Producer: Irving Thalberg for MGM Running Time: 132 minutes Format: VHS, LV Awards: Academy Awards, 1935: Picture; Nominations: Actor (Clark Gable, Franchot Tone, Charles Laughton), Director (Frank Lloyd), Editing, Screenplay, Score; National Board of Review Awards, 1935: 10 Best Films of the Year; New York Film Critics Awards, 1935: Actor (Charles Laughton) Budget: $2M.

Raiders of the Lost Ark Movie Review [next] [back] Moby Dick Movie Review

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or