81 Days With Oscar And Me

Every Academy Award-Winning Movie, Back to Back, Starting With the First

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Mutiny On the Bounty

August 27th, 2009 · No Comments · 1935, Adaptation, Black and White, Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Composer: Herbert Stothart, Donald Crisp, Drama, Frank Lloyd, Herbert Mundin, M-G-M Studios, Mutiny On the Bounty

Mutiny On the Bounty Arrr, Matey!

Here I sit, tankard (well, glass…but it’s a big glass) of Newcastle Brown Ale in hand, biting off hunks of cheese, and imagining there’s a chatty parrot on my shoulder to which I offer crackers.

If only I had a CD from the folk-metal band Alestorm (“Scottish Pirate Metal”) playing in the background I’d be totally in the spirit of things.

But I don’t know how much more in the spirit I could be. Mutiny On the Bounty is the greatest sea movie ever made, Errol Flynn’s Sea Hawk notwithstanding.

My gosh, was there ever a more poisonous, despicable character than Captain Bligh? And wasn’t Charles Laughton’s portrayal of him perfect? So captivating is Laughton that when he and Clark Gable are on screen together, it’s hard to pick which one to watch.

Mutiny On the Bounty And that’s saying a lot since Gable was the “King of Hollywood” in the 1930s, starring in no less than three Academy Award-winning movies. Laughton (1899-1962) is stunning in this movie. And equally as captivating in another of my favorite films, Witness For the Prosecution, 1957.

Two other names making a return in this film are director Frank Lloyd (whose Cavalcade was thoroughly unremarkable) and character actor Herbert Mundin (1898-1939), the jowly-faced fellow who played Alfred Bridges in Calvalcade, and who plays Smith in Mutiny. He was also in another of my favorite movies, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). His character in Robin Hood was Much the Miller’s Son.

The movie is the true story of HMS Bounty, a British sailing ship, helmed by the cruel Captain Bligh (Laughton), bound for Tahiti. Mr. Christian (Gable) provides the moral center of the movie and the man who, after he can take no more of Bligh’s brutality toward the men on board, supplies the “mutiny” part of the film’s title.

Here are the particulars from the opening credits:

Metro-Goldwn-Mayer
presents
“Mutiny
On the Bounty”
Starring
Charles………………………Clark
LAUGHTON…………………GABLE
with
Franchot Tone
Herbert Mundin – Eddie Quillan
Dudley Digges – Donald Crisp
A Frank Lloyd Production
Associate Producer
Albert Lewin
Directed by
Frank Lloyd
Screen Play by
Talbot……………….Jules…………and………Carey
Jennings,…………..Furthman……………….Wilson
From the book by
Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
Foreword,
In December, 1787, H.M.S.
Bounty lay in Portsmouth
harbour on the eve of de-
parture for Tahiti in the uncharted waters of the
Great South Sea.
The Bounty’s mission
was to procure breadfruit
trees for transplanting to
the West Indies as cheap
food for slaves.
Neither ship nor bread-
fruit reached the West
Indies…

Mutiny On the Bounty is an epic, intense, sometimes violent movie that is, at times, hard to watch.

But what kind of pirate would I be if I couldn’t stomach an occasional keel-hauling or flogging?

No kind of pirate at all.

Arrr.

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