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Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

A tyrannical ship captain decides to exact revenge on his abused crew after they form a mutiny against him, but the sailor he targets had no hand in it.

Director:

Frank Lloyd

Writers:

Talbot Jennings (screenplay), Jules Furthman (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Laughton ... Bligh
Clark Gable ... Christian
Franchot Tone ... Byam
Herbert Mundin ... Smith
Eddie Quillan ... Ellison
Dudley Digges ... Bacchus
Donald Crisp ... Burkitt
Henry Stephenson ... Sir Joseph Banks
Francis Lister ... Captain Nelson
Spring Byington ... Mrs. Byam
Movita ... Tehani
Mamo Clark ... Maimiti (as Mamo)
Byron Russell Byron Russell ... Quintal
Percy Waram ... Coleman
David Torrence ... Lord Hood
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Storyline

Midshipman Roger Byam joins Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian aboard HMS Bounty for a voyage to Tahiti. Bligh proves to be a brutal tyrant and, after six pleasant months on Tahiti, Christian leads the crew to mutiny on the homeward voyage. Even though Byam takes no part in the mutiny, he must defend himself against charges that he supported Christian. Written by Eric Sorensen <Eric_Sorensen@fc.mcps.k12.md.us>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

afi | revenge | tahiti | bounty | mutiny | See All (59) »

Taglines:

Clark Gable as the daring mutineer in the screen's most exciting adventure story! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Polynesian

Release Date:

1936 (Turkey) See more »

Also Known As:

Motín a bordo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,950,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$5,474,471, 31 December 1935

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,351,454, 31 December 1935
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cary Grant eagerly sought the role of Midshipman Roger Byam, but the part went to Franchot Tone instead. See more »

Goofs

Captain Bligh is shown keel hauling a sailor for a minor offense. The British Navy discontinued the practice around 1720, decades before the Bounty sailed. The French and Dutch navies discontinued keel hauling in 1750, 37 years before the Bounty's voyage. See more »

Quotes

Captain William Bligh: 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.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Fowl Play (1937) See more »

Soundtracks

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by carolers in England and mutineers in Tahiti
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"Music at sea"
26 June 2011 | by Steffi_PSee all my reviews

By 1935 the worst years of the depression were over, the pitfalls of the early talkies had been overcome, and Hollywood was starting to regain its confidence. For the first time in several years pictures were being made as big and bold as they had been in the late silent era. And like the flagship of this new era comes this highly fictionalised account of the Bounty mutineers.

Although this is very much a Hollywood production, it may seem a little strange to see that all-American lead idol Clark Gable playing an Englishman. This being the days before such things really mattered, and Gable not really being one to shift his persona too much, he makes no attempt whatsoever at an English accent. And yet he fits in very well. Gable always carried with him a touch of the theatre where he cut his teeth, and proves himself a powerful counterpoint to the blustering Charles Laughton. With his barrel chest, wavy hair and easygoing swagger he does have the makings of a swashbuckling hero, and this is the role Fletcher Christian takes in this adventuresome adaptation. Gable is, in a way, Hollywood's ambassador in the story – just about convincing as an 18th century naval officer, but familiar enough to give US audiences a lead into the movie.

Opposite Gable is a mix of American faces and the British actors who had started to migrate stateside. Charles Laughton's performance as Captain Bligh is integral to the movie. You realise here that Laughton was rather a short man, and he plays on this, making Bligh a jumped-up, Napoleon-complexed bully; all sharp, jabbing motions, an arrogant stance and a face like a dead fish. Alongside Gable and Laughton, the third Best Actor nominee was Franchot Tone, although he is not really exceptional, merely worthy. There is a typically strong turn from Donald Crisp, and Eddie Quillan is surprisingly decent if a little overwrought. The only wrong note is perhaps Herbert Mundin, or at least his character. The bumbling little comedy performer was always good to see in Errol Flynn adventures and the like but he is wrong for this more serious affair. Note how he seems to disappear from the story when the mutiny takes place, which is fair enough – one couldn't really imagine that sweet little chap joining the mutineers or cast adrift and dying by inches.

The director is one of the masters of old Hollywood, multiple Oscar-winner Frank Lloyd. Lloyd's smooth, confident set-ups bring a tense, fractious feel to life on board ship, while never using too much obvious technique as to make it seem artificial. A lot of shots, such as the early one of Gable leading the press gang, show men facing each other in profile, aggressive, combative. In almost every shot we are made to feel the motion of the ship, and even below decks we have the swinging of hammocks. By contrast the scenes on dry land are palpably solid, emphasising the change to a more peaceful life on Tahiti. Lloyd is also one for composing tableaux that are memorable and iconic. There's an odd-looking but very effective shot shortly before the flogging scene, with punishment-doler Morrison staring coldly ahead on the left-hand edge of the frame, that has seared itself into my memory.

And ultimately it is just such a grand, iconic feel that characterises Mutiny on the Bounty. The Herbert Stothart score is a bombastic medley of nautical themes and emotional underscoring. The forceful, rhythmic editing of Margaret Booth provides us with some striking montages. And of course there is the fact that nothing is faked. Full-size replica ships were built and location filming was carried out in Polynesia, with none of the ugly back projection shooting that mars many pictures before and after. Such a mighty production demonstrates why you need such larger-than-life stars as Gable and Laughton. Here is a movie that does everything it can to announce that big Hollywood is back in all its glory.


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