Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) Director: Frank Lloyd
“A Thousand Hours of Hell For One Moment of Love!”
Mutiny on the Bounty is a classic film of heroism and betrayal. In the movie both the villain and the hero are complex and multi-dimensional characters; they are both sympathetic and skeptical. It is a great film, deserving of its Best Picture win in 1936.
Mutiny on the Bounty tells the swashbuckling tale of the British royal navy during the late 18th century. It is a retelling of true events. Captain Bligh (Charles Laughton) is the tyrannical leader of the H.M.S. Bounty who brutally punishes his shipman in order to maintain strict order. Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable) as the lieutenant stands up to Bligh and the crew plots a mutiny to overthrow Captain Bligh. They cast Bligh and his loyalists adrift in a skiff, but the boat later finds ground thanks to Bligh’s expert navigation. Meanwhile the remaining Bounty crew make landfall and settles in Tahiti. The film ends with Bligh unable to exact revenge on the mutineers as Christian lands on Pitcairn island after marrying a Tahitian woman, far away from the scope of the royal navy.
Amusingly, James Cagney was an extra in the film as he ran into Lloyd while sailing his boat. He appears briefly at the outset of the film. It was shot on location in Tahiti, in Catalina Island, Santa Barbara, and other West Coast locations. It was the highest grossing film of 1935, and was nominated for 8 Academy Awards, winning Best Picture at the 1936 Academy Awards ceremony.