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Mutiny on the Bounty

title card
Directed by Frank Lloyd
Produced by Irving Thalberg
Written by Novel:
Charles Nordhoff
James Norman Hall
Screenplay:
Talbot Jennings
Jules Furthman
Carey Wilson
Starring Charles Laughton
Clark Gable
Franchot Tone
Movita
Mamo
Music by Score:
Herbert Stothart
Nat W. Finston (uncredited)
Song:
Walter Jurmann
Bronisław Kaper
(both uncredited)
Cinematography Arthur Edeson
Editing by Margaret Booth
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) November 8, 1935 (1935-11-08)[1]
Running time 132 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Mutiny on the Bounty is a 1935 film starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable, and directed by Frank Lloyd based on the Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall novel Mutiny on the Bounty.

The film was one of the biggest hits of its time and remains a classic today and, although its historical accuracy has been seriously questioned (inevitable as it is based in a novel about the facts, not the facts themselves) it is considered by film critics to be the best film inspired by the mutiny.

Contents

Plot

The movie chronicles the real-life mutiny aboard the Bounty led by Fletcher Christian against the ship's captain, William Bligh. Like the novel, it portrays Captain Bligh as an abusive villain whose cruelty towards the crew and most of the officers leads Christian to mutiny. It contains scenes of the trials of those who had been put off the ship on the launch. It also deals with the aftermath.

Historical inaccuracies

Charles Laughton as Captain Bligh set adrift by Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable)

The movie does contain a few historical inaccuracies. Captain Bligh was never on board HMS Pandora, nor was he present at the trial of the mutineers who stayed on Tahiti. At the time he was halfway around the world on a second voyage for breadfruit plants. Fletcher Christian's father had died many years before Christian's travels on board the Bounty—the movie shows the elder Christian at the trial. It should be noted though, that the movie was always presented as an adaptation of the Nordhoff and Hall trilogy, which already differed from the actual story of the mutiny.

Bligh is depicted as a brutal, sadistic disciplinarian. Particular episodes include a keelhauling and flogging a dead man. Neither of these happened. Keelhauling was used rarely, if at all, and had been abandoned long before Bligh's time. Indeed the meticulous record of the Bounty's log reveals that the flogging rate was lower than the average for that time. Prior to the Mutiny the Bounty had only two deaths—one seaman died of scurvy (not keelhauling) and the ship's surgeon died apparently of drink and indolence and not as a result of abuse by Bligh. Likewise the movie shows the mutineers taking over the ship only after killing several loyal crewmen when in fact none died—although one crewman came very close to shooting Bligh until stopped by Christian. Lastly Christian is shown being inspired to take over the ship after several crewmen have unjustly been put into irons by Bligh; this is fictional license.

However, some historically accurate aspects exist in the film. Clark Gable reluctantly had to shave off his famous moustache because the sailors in the Royal Navy in the eighteenth century had to be clean-shaven.

In the final scene of the film Gable gives a rousing speech to his fellow mutineers speaking of creating a perfect society of free men on Pitcairn away from Bligh and the Navy. The reality was very different. Free from the restraints of Naval discipline the mutineers proved incapable of self-government. Pitcairn degenerated into a true hell on earth of drunkenness, rape and ultimately murder. Apart from John Adams and Ned Young all the mutineers perished, most of them by violence. Whether the film intended the irony is not known.

Production

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Filming locations

Hollywood star James Cagney (then on a hiatus from Warner Bros. during a contract dispute) and future stars David Niven and Dick Haymes were uncredited extras in the movie.

Awards and honors

Academy Awards

This film is, as of 2008, the last Best Picture winner to win in no other category.

Award Nominee Won
Outstanding Production Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
(Irving Thalberg and Albert Lewin producers)
Won
Best Director Frank Lloyd John FordThe Informer
Best Actor Clark Gable Victor McLaglenThe Informer
Charles Laughton
Franchot Tone
Best Writing, Screenplay Jules Furthman, Talbot Jennings and Carey Wilson Dudley NicholsThe Informer
Best Music, Scoring Nat W. Finston and Herbert Stothart
("Love Song of Tahiti" written by Walter Jurmann, uncredited)
Max SteinerThe Informer
Best Film Editing Margaret Booth Ralph DawsonA Midsummer Night's Dream

Awards the film missed out on.

Other honors

American Film Institute recognition

Gallery

Remakes

Mutiny bounty 3.jpg

A 1962 three-hours-plus widescreen Technicolor remake, starring Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian and Trevor Howard as Captain Bligh, was a disaster both critically and financially at the time, but has come to be reevaluated by critics. In 1984, Mel Gibson played Christian opposite Anthony Hopkins as Bligh in a lavish remake called The Bounty. This final version, which gives a far more sympathetic view of Bligh, is considered to be the closest to historical events.

The 1935 version was itself not the first film account of the mutiny. In 1933, an Australian film entitled In the Wake of the Bounty, with the then-unknown Errol Flynn as Fletcher Christian, was released, but was not successful and received few bookings outside of Australia.

Parodies

References

  1. ^ Brown, Gene (1995). Movie Time: A Chronology of Hollywood and the Movie Industry from its Beginnings to the Present. New York: MacMillan. p. 125. ISBN 0-02-86042906.   In New York, the film opened at the Capitol Theatre, the site of many prestigious MGM film premieres.

External links

Awards
Preceded by
It Happened One Night
Academy Award for Best Picture
1935
Succeeded by
The Great Ziegfeld

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Mutiny on the Bounty is a 1935 film about the real-life mutiny aboard the HMAV Bounty lead by Fletcher Christian against the ship's captain, William Bligh. It won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1935.

Directed by Frank Lloyd. Written by Talbot Jennings, Jules Furthman, and Carey Wilson, based on the novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall.
A Thousand Hours of Hell For One Moment of Love! taglines

Contents

Capt. William Bligh

  • [to Christian] They respect but one law - the law of fear...I expect you to carry out whatever orders I give, whenever I give them.
  • The ship's company will remember that I am your captain, your judge, and your jury. You do your duty and we may get along. Whatever happens, you'll do your duty.
  • During the recent heavy weather, I've had the opportunity to watch all of you at work on deck and aloft. You don't know wood from canvas! And it seems you don't want to learn! Well, I'll have to give you a lesson.
  • [to a crewman who begs for water] I'll give you water. Mr. Morrison. Keel haul this man.
  • Can you understand this, Mr. Byam? Discipline is the thing. A seaman's a seaman. A captain's a captain. And a midshipman, Sir Joseph or no Sir Joseph, is the lowest form of animal life in the British Navy.

Lt. Fletcher Christian

  • [about Bligh] I've never known a better seaman, but as a man, he's a snake. He doesn't punish for discipline. He likes to see men crawl. Sometimes, I'd like to push his poison down his own throat.
  • [to Bligh] Now you've given your last command on this ship. We'll be men again if we hang for it.
  • [to Bligh] I'll take my chance against the law. You'll take yours against the sea.
  • [to Byam] When you're back in England with the fleet again, you'll hear the hue and cry against me. From now on, they'll spell mutiny with my name. I regret that.

Midshipman Roger Byam

  • To the voyage of the Bounty. Still waters of the great golden sea. Flying fish like streaks of silver, and mermaids that sing in the night. The Southern Cross and all the stars on the other side of the world.
  • These men don't ask for comfort. They don't ask for safety...They ask only the freedom that England expects for every man. If one man among you believed that - one man! - he could command the fleets of England. He could sweep the seas for England if he called his men to their duty, not by flaying their backs but by lifting their hearts - their..., that's all.

Dialogue

Bligh: What's your name?
Seaman Ellison: Thomas Ellison, sir. Pressed into service. I've got a wife, a baby!
Bligh: I asked your name, not the history of your misfortunes.

Bligh: But you're taking my ship. My ship.
Christian: Your ship? The King's ship, you mean. And you're not fit to command it. Into the boat!
Bligh: Casting me adrift thirty five hundred miles from a port of call. You're sending me to my doom, eh? Well, you're wrong, Christian! I'll take this boat, as she floats, to England if I must. I'll live to see you - all of ya - hanging from the highest yard arm in the British fleet!

Taglines

  • A Thousand Hours of Hell For One Moment of Love!
  • Clark Gable as the daring mutineer in the screen's most exciting adventure story!

Cast

External links


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