Mutiny on the Bounty
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Based on a true story: The Bounty, a British sailing ship commanded by Captain Bligh sails for Tahiti to pick up breadfruit plants and take them to Jamaica where they are to be planted and help supply the British with a compact, easy to grow, nutritious plant. Lt. Christian is the executive officer - that is, second in command of the vessel. The ship proceeds south with the intention of rounding Cape of Good Hope, Africa and proceed via the Indian and Pacific Ocean to the Tahitian islands. Captain Bligh is pressed for time since he must get to Tahiti while the plants are transportable. He decides to cut 5 months off the journey by going around Cape Horn (South America) instead. However, he encounters typical horrible weather and is unable to make the transit. He then reverses course (to the east) and goes to Tahiti via the originally intended route. This diversion costs more time and pretty much guarantees he will be late in arriving in Tahiti which will require staying there until the plants are transportable (perhaps 6 months).

During all this time, Bligh is abusing his men and officers in various ignoble and demeaning ways. He explains his foul behavior to his exec (Mr. Christian) that fear is the only thing seamen understand and this justifies general cruelty and abuse. The sadistic details are numerous and do not advance the plot except to set the stage for the eventual mutiny. After an idyllic stay in Tahiti (the exec, Mr. Christian, is ordered by Bligh to 'sleep with' the Tahitian chief's daughter to avoid insulting the chief) the ship laden with a thousand plants sets sail for Jamaica. More abuse and cruelty ensues on this leg of the trip - mostly as a result of Bligh restricting water to the crew in order to feed the plants (many would otherwise die, says the onboard gardner).

Finally Mr. Christian snaps and takes command of the ship and sets Bligh and a few seamen adrift midocean in a boat with enough provisions to last a while (they do make it back to England where Bligh is acquitted of wrongdoing in a naval trial but is scolded). Christian, now in command of returns to Tahiti, picks up a few of the native guys and gals and wanders the ocean looking for a good hiding place and discovers Pitcairn Island which is uninhabited and in the middle of nowhere and mislocated on the naval charts (Google it).

The ship is intentionally destroyed by fire at Pitcairn by three of the crew to prevent Christian from making good on an expressed idea to return to England and vindicate the mutiny. Christian is severely burned in the fire when he rushes on board the ship to try to put the fire out. He dies of his burns while saying goodbye to everyone in his death scene.
Page last updated by critic-2, 4 years ago
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