Mutiny On The Bounty

  • 1962
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Adventure

The old Hollywood credo of "if a film's a hit once it'll be a hit again" does not work here (and rarely does, but try to tell that to most road-rutted producers). Though the production values are excellent, the story, the acting, and the editing of this colossal and expensive remake all fall miserably short of Frank Lloyd's 1935 film classic. Again viewers...read more

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The old Hollywood credo of "if a film's a hit once it'll be a hit again" does not work here (and rarely does, but try to tell that to most road-rutted producers). Though the production values are excellent, the story, the acting, and the editing of this colossal and expensive remake all

fall miserably short of Frank Lloyd's 1935 film classic. Again viewers can sail with the Bounty to Tahiti and watch Howard as Bligh beat and mistreat his crew members for 14,000 miles, while Brando hides out in his cabin trying on new uniforms replete with frills, lace, and immaculate knee-high

stockings. The ship docks at the island paradise, and crew members gather breadfruit and sexually promiscuous native girls. Then it's back to civilization and more torture at the hands of Howard, with a mutiny thrown in to break up the tedium. Howard is set adrift, and Brando takes the stolen ship

to Pitcairn Island where mutineer Harris burns it, against Brando's wishes, so that none of the crew can ever return to England again. Brando, in a clumsy attempt to put out the fire on the sinking ship, is fatally charred and dies with the flaming masts of the famous ship burning behind the final

credits.

Brando is simply awful as Fletcher Christian, playing this real-life knuckle-breaker as a light-footed fop with no more concern for crew members than he would have for a breadfruit-bearing Tahitian native. He lisps ludicrously, sways obscenely, and postures like a female ingenue at a garden

party--he's dreadful, even repugnant, and wholly out of character. It's obvious that director Milestone could not control Brando for a moment and that the famous, sometimes brilliant actor directed himself. His is one of the most impossible performances in screen history, infecting Harris, who

plays a sort of seagoing Iago and is equally hammy and unbelievable. Howard tries to bring some sanity and reason to the part of Bligh and makes a mistake in doing so; the real Bligh, as Charles Laughton so aptly played him in 1935, was a psychopathic beast with no humanity whatsoever. This film

version goes historically beyond the Lloyd version, ending at Pitcairn Island but wrongly showing the death of Christian, who lived for some time after the mutineers settled on the island. The second film did not portray Midshipman Roger Byam (enacted by Franchot Tone in 1935) and took many more

liberties, mostly nonsensical. Howard, for instance, does not confine Brando to the ship after reaching Tahiti but actually orders him to go ashore and copiously copulate with the chief's daughter to establish good relationships with the natives. The mutiny in the 1962 version is almost a whim of

Brando. Howard kicks a water ladle out of his first mate's hand when Brando is about to give a sick crew member a drink. This so incenses Brando that he instantly mutinies with others. Though this version got seven Oscar nominations, it rightly received none. They were for Best Picture (lost to

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Song, Best Music Score, Best Film Editing and Best Special Effects. Movita Castenada, who had played Tone's native lover in the 1935 version, married Brando while he was doing the 1962 remake, but they were later divorced. Brando,

who cost an estimated $6 million, later complained that "it was the worst experience of my acting career." (He reportedly stuffed himself and put on 40 pounds in the course of shooting.) Director Milestone said, "This picture should have been called `The Mutiny of Marlon Brando,"' and Harris

chimed in, "The whole picture was just a large, dreadful nightmare to me." None of these gentlemen, however, had the good grace to quit the production and save MGM from near ruin, which almost came about when the studio only recouped $9,800,000 in its initial release.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The old Hollywood credo of "if a film's a hit once it'll be a hit again" does not work here (and rarely does, but try to tell that to most road-rutted producers). Though the production values are excellent, the story, the acting, and the editing of this co… (more)

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