First officer Clark Gable and tyrannical captain Charles Laughton powerfully clash in this vigorous retelling of a true historic incident about a British ship commandeered from its brutal master. Franchot Tone also stars ... more »in 1935's Best Picture Academy Award(R) Choice.« less
"Charles Laughton gives the standout performance in this classic retelling of the Bounty mutiny. Gable appears properly confounded and gives a believable and sympathetic rendering of Fletcher Christian. The movie holds up remarkably well despite some awkward editing and gaps in the story line. Still, at 133 minutes it is a relatively long film but it never drags. In spite of allegations made in other reviews there are no "white girls in blackface" or "boats in a bathtub" scenes. True, navels are concealed but the two female leads are obviously and revealingly topless in several scenes. As for "toy boats in a bathtub" there is only one sequence that obviously utilizes a model and it isn't all that obvious. Laughton is the luminary here and his Bligh stays with you. In fact it has stayed with the culture for sixty-five years. His performance is without fault and repeated watchings bear this out. A couple of sequences bear a closer look: The mutiny montage is startlingly effective and intense. It is a realistic portrayal of sudden violence; short, confusing, and graphic. The Sunday morning prayers on deck sequence is poetic and approaches the sublime. The ship's sails gleam translucent in the sun, the Union Jack floats majestically in the breeze, sunlight reflects brightly on faces as the Captain invokes God's blessings on the voyage. The extreme contrast of light and dark in the black and white print and the metaphorical contrast of good against Bligh, the epitome of evil, is subtle yet effective. It is a beautiful few moments. In every way but gloss this film is superior to the 1962 version. The 1984 "Bounty" with Mel Gibson is a fine film but it fades in the memory. This version lingers in the subconsious."
Entertaining, but not historically accurate
Daniel Waitkoss | St. Charles, Missouri USA | 03/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK, while miles ahead of the 1960s remake, ruined by an over-the-top performance by a very miscast Marlon Brando, this version still does not tell the true story of the HMS Bounty and its ill-fated voyage. (See James A. Michener's "Rascals in Paradise" for a historically accurate, but brief, picture of Bligh and the mutiny.) The movie stays close to the novel by Hall & Nordhoff and uses a fictious midshipman, Roger Byam, as the main character and we see both Christian and Bligh mostly through his eyes.The acting by Gable and Laughton are, of course, excellent and the film shows the money spent by M-G-M wasn't wasted. The Bounty, itself, was a beautiful replica and the filming at sea--especially during storms--is hair-raising. In short, if you are after historically accurate drama--then this isn't your film, but if you want an entertaining, thrilling sea adventure from Hollywood's golden age--then by all means take a chance with this great picture."
What's the fuss about?
lab tech | 02/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film doesn't seem to meet the criteria of what we call a great movie: it won't lift your spirit and soul, it doesn't really give us any lasting food for thought, it probably won't make you laugh hysterically( although I thought the swinging lantern bit was pretty funny), it probably won't really make you weep. So why is this such a respected movie?It is a rolicking adventure of the sea. Everyone knows there were enough of those made in the old days. So why does this one stand out?It's the acting. The rich man's son is extremely well portrayed and his speech at the end is well rendered. The entire cast is outstanding, making even the nobodys of the ship endearing and enduring. Clark Gable(no mustache?!! Horrors!) gives a deep introspective portrait of Fletcher Christian as a man that has been pushed and pushed and pushed again. Laughton gives a Bligh that is truly one of the best villians ever to grace the screen. Gable and Laughton play off each other marvelously. As Gable reacts to Laughton's brutality, making the audience wonder what exactly will push him over the edge.In short, what made this adventure movie so lasting? What made it a classic? I'll tell you. It's the deep introspective character development seen here. Highly recommended."
Legendary, Memorable--and Somewhat Problematic
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 02/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the then-popular novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, the 1935 MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY is among a series of legendary films of the 1930s that have been repeatedly celebrated for cinematic achievement. And small wonder: the film has a host of powerful assets.
The single most obvious among these is the star power involved: led by two Oscar-winning stars, the critically formidable Charles Laughton and the incredibly popular Clark Gable, the cast reads like a Who's Who of mid-1930s male actors ranging from leading man Franchot Tone to the memorable character actor Donald Crisp. In a visual sense, the film is also a knockout: filmed on location in a full-size replica of the Bounty, it set a new standard for capturing the sea on film. And the story itself is powerful, the tale of the battle between the cruel and autocratic Bligh and the humane and populist Fletcher Christian. Taken together, it makes for a powerful ride.
Still, some viewers may not find MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY all it is cracked to be. Then as now, Hollywood was less interested in getting the facts right than in telling a good story--and from a factual point of view the film is perhaps twenty percent accurate and eighty percent nothing more nor less than historical tarradiddle. That is no real hinderance per se; after all, we're not watching a documentary. But seen from a modern standpoint the cast now feels somewhat problematic.
Charles Laughton was so critically well regarded that he received star billing over Clark Gable for the film, and seen today his performance is easily the single most powerful in the entire film. Autocratic, brilliant, and immediately and increasingly unlikable, he drives the film from start to finish--and it is here, really, in which most of the film's historical accuracy resides. The rest of the cast, however, is extremely Hollywood. Clark Gable, Franchot Tone and all the rest give an excellent show, full of power and drive--but you never for a moment forget that they are indeed Hollywood stars and not members of the British Navy.
This is very much a "big" film in the MGM tradition, often brilliant, often memorable, and often setting new standards for the motion picture industry. And when regarded from that point of view it is extremely, extremely entertaining. But it may also be a film whose power has slightly faded with the passing of time.
The DVD package is slight and less informative than simply entertaining, including trailers, a scrap of newsreel footage, and (most interesting) a short documentary on Pitcairn Island as it existed about the time MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY was made. Although the picture and sound have not been restored per se, both are best-possible-quality short of digital restoration. Recommended to fans of classic 1930s Hollywood.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer"
THRILLING SEA EPIC IN VERY NICE LOOKING TRANSFER
Nix Pix | Windsor, Ontario, Canada | 02/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Mutiny On The Bounty" is a classic sea epic about the crew of a British tall ship who revolt after their captain (Charles Laughton) becomes tyrannical on the high seas. Clark Gable cuts a handsome swashbuckling figure as Fletcher Christian - king of the mutineers. His ability to insight revolt leads to a disastrous outcome for all concerned. Franchot Tone give a poignant performance as one of the wronged sea men, put on trial but eventually exonerated from the charge of mutiny. For adventure on the high seas there's none to touch this harrowing classic!Warner Brothers? transfer is a mixed blessing. Though much of the footage shot on indoor stages seems to have held up well over time the exterior and location photography is riddled with age related artifacts, slightly out of focus image quality and glaring film grain, dirt and grit. The gray scale sometimes has a well balanced look to it. At other times it appears to be suffering from low contrast levels. Blacks are never solid or deep. There are no digital anomalies. Fine details are never realized. The audio is mono but very nicely cleaned up. Extras include a couple of featurettes and a trailer. Ho-hum...the pirates life for me!"