Bounty Review Checks All 3 Classic Versions
I've been fortunate enough to have seen all three versions of Mutiny on the Bountyfilmed over the past 70+ years and I still believe the first was the best.
Mutiny On The Bounty The Original
The 1935 MGM movie version, being the first, revived the all but forgotten taleof the 1789 actual mutiny. The film starred Charles Laughton and Clark Gable based on the novel "Mutiny on the Bounty".
The movie chronicles the real-life mutiny aboard the HMAV Bounty (His Majesty's Armed Vessel) led by Fletcher Christian against the ship's captain, William Bligh. Like the novel, the film depicts Captain Bligh as the cruelest taskmaster on the Seven Seas. Bligh's villainy knows no bounds: he is even willing to flog a dead man if it will strengthen his hold over the crew.
Bligh and a handful of officers deemed to be loyal to him were set adrift in an open boat. Through sheer force of will, he guides the tiny vessel on a 49-day, 4000-mile journey to the Dutch East Indies without losing a man. Historians differ on whether Captain Bligh was truly such a monster or Christian such a paragon of virtue (some believe that the mutiny was largely inspired by Christian's lust for the Tahitian girls).
The movie struck gold at the box office, and, in addition to the Best Picture Oscar, Gable, Laughton, and Franchot Tone as one of the Bounty's crew were all nominated for Best Actor.
The film was one of the biggest hits of its time and remains a classic today.
Mutiny On The Bounty 1962 Version
Jumping ahead 27 years, I caught the second version of Mutiny On The Bountyjust after getting out of the Navy. Unfortunately, I hardly recognized it.
This version has the unfortunate distinction of being the least historically accurate of the films. This movie has Bligh and Fletcher meeting for the first time - in reality Bligh and Christian had sailed together before. Bligh was asleep during the initial stages of the uprising; this movie shows him as awake.
I still remember Brando pitching the plants overboard.
After the mutiny, Fletcher Christian suffers a guilt complex which severely affects his behavior. He dies at the end of the film after the ship lands at Pitcairn Island. He dies not from being murdered, but as a result of burns suffered while trying to save the Bounty after the other mutineers have set it on fire so that Christian will not take them back to stand trial, as he was planning. However, most historical evidence shows that Fletcher lived on the island for several years before being murdered, and some even believe that he eventually returned to England some years later.
At the 1963 Oscars the film picked up seven nominations.
Mutiny On The Bounty The Newest Version
Now advance another 20 years and change the name slighty to "The Bounty".
Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Day-Lewis, Laurence Olivier, Liam Neeson, Bernard Hill....and the list goes on as you can see. Where are these people now? All making big hit movies.
You can't help but love this movie. Every time I see it, I want to see it again. I know of no other movie that has had an impact like THAT on me before. Every actor in the movie was great. Also, notice that the mass of extras REALLY act like the real thing. That is rare, and hard to do. I was an extra in Sudden Death (Van Damme), and you can't help but look into the camera or do weird things. It's fun. Try an find some of the continuity errors in this movie. They're hard to find, VERY. I only found a few after seeing the movie 10-15 times. It's almost flawless. The scenery was breathtaking. I only regret not seeing the movie on the "big screen".
The Bounty", however is historically pretty good in many places, especially Bligh's court-martial and the actual mutiny sequence, which is almost word-for-word what Bligh recorded in his own writings on the matter. The ship itself is correctly represented, right down to the figurehead – a woman in a blue riding habit, which makes no sense until one realizes that HMAV Bounty was originally a merchant ship called the Bethia.