Welcome to William Schoell's GREAT OLD MOVIES blog. Feel free to leave a comment regardless of the date the review was posted -- I read 'em all. Or if you prefer -- and especially if you have any questions directly for me -- email me at tawses67424@mypacks.net and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Click on a label link (labels can be found at the bottom of each post) to find other movies from that year, the star, that director or genre and so on. Or enter a title, director, genre, star or supporting player in the small Blogger "search blog" box at the far left up above and click search blog. [NOTE: While this blog mostly reviews films -- and TV shows -- that are at least twenty-five years old, we do cover films up until the present day.] HAVE FUN AND THANKS FOR DROPPING BY. William.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Clark Gable and Charles Laughton
MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1935). Director: Frank Lloyd.

"Mr. Christian, clear the decks of the rabble."

In 1787 press gangs led by Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable) pull men out of taverns and conscript them into the Queen's Navy whether they want to go or not, but Christian proves benign compared to the hideous (in every sense of the word) Captain Bligh (Charles Laughton) of the ship Bounty. While sailing to Tahiti to get a cargo of breadfruit, Bligh displays such cruelty to his men -- he orders a corpse flogged and keelhauls a man who only wanted water for his bloody knees -- that Christian speaks up, earning him the captain's eternal enmity. On the voyage back, Christian can stand it no longer and commands a [somewhat self-serving] mutiny, casting Bligh and those loyal to him out in a lifeboat. This famous true story is compelling, and the film boasts some fine acting, especially from the hateful, outstanding Laughton as Bligh. Donald Crisp also makes his mark as Burkitt, an ex-con turned sailor, and Eddie Quillan and Franchot Tone are also notable. The problem with the film is the matter-of-fact direction, which has no dramatic flair, and one senses things have also been a bit white-washed and sanitized. Still, this holds the attention and has its rousing moments. Gable gives a solid star performance.

Verdict: Story and acting make this worthwhile. ***.


Red_Cardinal said...

"This famous true story is compelling."

I agree it's an enjoyable film but I think I should point out that the film doesn't bear much (if any) relation to the actual story of the mutiny. In paricular, the character of the real Bligh was nothing like he's portrayed in the film. :)

William said...

Yes, each version of the story is different, both the films, the novels, and the factual accounts from different points of view. I meant that the characters, however portrayed, actually existed and some of the basic facts -- if only the mutiny itself -- were presented.

Thanks for your comments!