In 1787, British ship Bounty leaves Portsmouth to bring a cargo of bread-fruit from Tahiti but the savage on-board conditions imposed by Captain Bligh trigger a mutiny led by officer Fletcher Christian.
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The professional mercenary Sir William Walker instigates a slave revolt on the Caribbean island of Queimada in order to help improve the British sugar trade. Years later he is sent again to... See full summary »
The Bounty leaves Portsmouth in 1787. Its destination: to sail to Tahiti and load bread-fruit. Captain Bligh will do anything to get there as fast as possible, using any means to keep up a strict discipline. When they arrive at Tahiti, it is like a paradise for the crew, something completely different than the living hell aboard the ship. On the way back to England, officer Fletcher Christian becomes the leader of a mutiny.Written by
In the scene of William Bligh's court-martial, the judge reprimands Bligh for his "excess of zeal" in administering discipline and comments contemptuously on his family background: "the Admiralty has always sought to appoint its officers from the ranks of gentlemen". This is unhistorical. In reality, the court not only exonerated Bligh, but praised him for his bravery and exemplary seamanship in his command of the open vessel that Bligh and the loyalists managed to reach Timor in. (This film passes rapidly over this voyage, in stark contrast to The Bounty (1984), which is markedly more sympathetic to Bligh.) In his book "The Hollywood History of the World" (1988), screenwriter and historical novelist George MacDonald Fraser calls this scene "an offensive fiction" and says that despite the film's insistence on the difference between Bligh and Christian's social backgrounds, "both men were from good, but not upper-class families." See more »
When Bligh first comes aboard the Bounty, Horticulturalist William Brown is seen in the background removing his hat, next cut in close up, he has his hat back on again. See more »
The original 1962 print had a different opening scene, in which a ship's crew lands on Pitcairn and discovers an artifact belonging to the H.M.S. Bounty. They can barely read the name until William Brown (Richard Haydn), now aged, appears on the beach and says "Bounty". He then proceeds to tell the story of the famous mutiny, of which he is apparently the last surviving member. That is why we hear his voice narrating the story. In all current prints, including the one shown on Turner Classic Movies ca. 2005, this opening scene is omitted, so we do not know why Brown is telling the story in voiceover. However, the scene has been restored on the 2006 DVD release. See more »
A film filled to the brim with colour and spectacle
As far as I can recall, 1962's Mutiny on the Bounty was one of the many matinee-films shown for many years during Christmas that I used to watch lazily as a kid while doing other things at the same time. I do not think I ever watched the whole thing from beginning to end. Consequently, I never found it too fascinating.
When I many years later decided to buy it on VHS and watch it concentratedly, I fell in love with it immediately. I have always been a fan of large-scale films like Ben Hur, Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia and Mutiny is definitely a "large-scale" film. Not only boasting a wide variety of colourful locations, from breathtaking, sun-drenched sea vistas to exotic beachscapes on Tahiti, it also includes some great actors, such as Marlon Brando, Richard Harris and Trevor Howard as the despicable captain Bligh. Contributing to the "large-scale" feel is Bronislau Kaper's lush and magic music score, featuring haunting chorus statements of the main theme, interestingly entitled "Follow me". The music was so lovely that I had to try out the theme on the piano once I finished watching the film.
I suppose most readers of this post are already familiar with the basic plotline, so I will not have to go through that.
I find that the film contains quite a lot of nice dialogue that sticks in your memory. But it is above all the growing conflict aboard the ship that is the major interesting theme of the film. Just to see how the conflict between Bligh and Christian builds step by step, from more or less nothing to mutiny. Even though it is unpleasant, it is a delight to follow. In any case, it had me glued to the screen.
I cannot say whether the events are portrayed authentically as they happened historically or not, but to me that is of minor interest. The film comes out magnificent all the same and appear to me to be quite realistic.
Another thing about the film that appealed to me is that it is so beautiful. Not only are the locations beautiful, but a lot of the actors, their contemporary clothing, not to mention the Tahitian beauties, are simply eye-catching. The Bounty, the ship itself, is also quite something else. A lot of the film's beauty, I believe, also has to do with good photography thoughout. The film lends itself incredibly well to widescreen-viewing.
I would heartily recommend this film to any fan of cinema. It is a film filled to the brim with colour and spectacle with marvelous actors and a catching and disturbing story of power abuse and the British Empire in its heyday. The only disturbing thing at the moment of writing, is that it still has not been released on DVD. But when it is, I sincerely hope it comes in a deservedly magnificent picture- and sound-transfer including a mountain of extras. I simply cannot wait.
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