Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
Critic Consensus: The historical inaccuracies in this high-seas adventure are more then offset by its timeless themes, larger-than-life performances from Clark Gable and Charles Laughton, and Frank Lloyd's superb direction.
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as Sir Joseph Banks
as Capt. Nelson
as Mrs. Byam
as Lord Hood
as Mr. Purcell
as Cockney Moll
as Captain of Board
as Ellison's Mother
as Mary Ellison
as Lt. Edwards
as Richard Skinner
as Judge Advocate
as Capt. Colpoys
as Portsmouth Joe
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Critic Reviews for Mutiny on the Bounty
The case of the crew against the insane cruelty and avariciousness of Capt. Bligh is so powerfully presented that the injustice done to the men gets under one's skin to stir up a variety of emotion.
Despite the efforts of Producer Irving Thalberg, Director Frank Lloyd, three scenarists and $2,000,000 to give it balance, polish and direction, the picture lacks all three.
There's nothing to stand in the way of Mutiny qualifying for box office dynamite rating.
The story is spellbinding, the acting lusty and the spectacle everything you could expect from a Golden Age MGM production -- though sometimes it's a bit too much on the monumental side.
It's tainted by a fair amount of middlebrow stuffiness, but it's a fleet piece of storytelling and serves to enshrine one of the great ham performances of all time, Charles Laughton's Captain Bligh.
Audience Reviews for Mutiny on the Bounty
A first officer, popular with the sailors, challenges an imperious captain. If you were to choose an actor to play an imperious, severe, and often malicious character, you could find no one better than the legendary Charles Laughton. He steals every scene. His protruding lower lip, his hard eyes, and his posture, which makes him look like a spent slug, all convey an immobility and hard-heartedness that make this film a work of art. All this is from the man who could also convey the breadth of human misery in the face of Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The plot is rendered ably enough by director Frank Lloyd, and Clark Gable, while nowhere near Laughton's equal, delivers a strong performance, going toe to toe with Laughton and fairly holding his own. The film is remarkable for its special effects, its acting, and its story, which though rendered many time before, still feels fresh and interesting. Overall, Laughton makes this good film great.
"Mutiny on the Bounty," winner of 1935's Best Picture Oscar, is an adventurous delight. Charles Laughton owns the role of Captain Bligh, playing him with resolute, forceful evil. But Clark Gable and Franchot Tone really own the movie, playing close friends who go up against Bligh each in his own way. The at-sea photography is extraordinary, with expert direction from Frank Lloyd. Also beautiful is the photography on what was supposed to be Tahiti, but which was probably Hawaii. The pristine restored print that was pressed on DVD (and which is available from Netflix) gives you the chance to see this top-notch production in all its glory. It feels as if it could have been directed last year -- it isn't dated in the slightest. It's as crisp, taut and emotionally engaging as it was back in '35.
Old Hollywood sure knew how to do epics, and this film is no exception. Despite a number of inaccuracies and liberties with the story (mostly for the purpose of dramatic effect), this is a very well done take on the classic story with the central issue of fun/freedom versus hardwork and accomplishment (that comes at the cost of suffering tyranny). The performances from Laughton and Gable are awesome. Gable looks weird clean shaven, but that's actually something the film gets historically accurate. The rest of the cast isn't too shabby either, even though the time period kept more "authentic" people getting cast as islanders. This must have really been something of a spectacle when it came out. It's impact isn't quite as grand as it once was, but it still packs a punch, reminding modern viewers of how to make a compelling epic the old fashioned way. Give this one a shot. It isn't perfect, but it has a reputation for being one of the better film versions of the story, and I can see why.
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