a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Less Desirables Movie of the Week, Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), starring Clark Gable, Franchot Tone and Charles Laughton.
Per IMDb: “Fletcher Christian successfully leads a revolt against the ruthless Lieutenant Bligh on His Majesty’s Armed Vessel ‘Bounty.’ However, Bligh returns one year later, hell bent on avenging his captors.”
Roger Byam (Tone), a midshipman aboard the HMS Bounty is basically disgusted with the way that the maniacal and tyrannical Captain William Bligh (Laughton) rules over his ship with an iron fist minus compassion. The ship’s lieutenant, Fletcher Christian (Gable), is a, imposing yet warmhearted man who disapproves of Bligh’s treatment of the crew and officers.
Bligh’s treatment of everyone is beyond cruel; working the crew to over exhaustion, ordering lashes to an already dead man, reducing water rations to the crew in order to have water for breadfruit plants, blaming the crew for theft of cheese when he had them delivered to his own home, etc. Christian starts to push back against Bligh and his tyranny. This leads to Bligh confining Christian to the ship when it reaches Tahiti.
The island’s chief talks Bligh into allowing Christian to come ashore. Bligh then rescinds out of spite. Christian basically flips him the bird and stays ashore in defiance and he grows quite close to the chief’s granddaughter. They get busy and he promises her he’ll be back and then he swims out and gets back aboard The Bounty where it’s moored; Bligh is nonplussed. Byam also grows close to one of the island girls, however, he states that he will not be back.
Bligh’s antics continue and lead to the death of the ship’s doctor. That seems to be the last straw. Christian leads a revolt against Bligh and his officers. he sets them to the sea on a small boat. This pits Christian against his friend Byam. What happens next, you’ll have to watch to see.
Charles Laughton, with his jowls and a-holic demeanor makes a wonderful Captain Bligh. He’s rotten and ruthless and plays the part perfectly. Clark Gable’s charmingly good looks and stature does him well in this film. It’s remarkably well-acted considering its time. Though this is based on historical events, there’s questions about its accuracy. But, it’s a film, so who cares, right? We’re not watching a biopic, we’re watching historical fiction from a classic novel. It was one of the “400 Nominees” for the AFI Top 100 Movies list.
Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 94% Fresh with an Audience Score of 83%. The description from the critics call out the historical inaccuracies but states that it is rich in all other aspects. IMDb rates it at 7.8 stars out of 10. I thought the story was plausible and the production, acting and cinematography were all fantastic. This was a monster of a film, directed by Frank Lloyd. I actually had to rent it from Amazon Prime since it wasn’t available on Netflix. I rate it 4.25 stars out of 5.
Have you seen the film? What did you think? What would you like to see/hear me review? Let me know.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Bligh, you’ve given your last command on this ship! We’ll be men again if we hang for it!” – Fletcher Christian