Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) – Frank Lloyd

Charles Laughton, adrift in the Pacific, in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Charles Laughton, adrift in the Pacific, in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Although I’d seen this film several times before, I was looking for respite in some oceanic artistry, and so returned to watch Charles Laughton. Unfortunately, and despite Laughton’s fully convincing depiction of Bligh, upon which the film largely depends, the film fails narratively, as its screenplay turns solely on the act of mutiny. As historical fiction, description of the cause and effect of the mutiny worked well in Nordhoff and Hall’s trilogy, where the mutiny itself is the main turning point in the first novel, and where the second novel deals with Bligh’s extraordinary seamanship when set adrift, and the third with what occurs to the mutineers on Pitcairn Island. In the film, the Tahiti episode, however, is mostly foolish, and the escape to Pitcairn Island, which concludes the film, is more perfunctory than compelling. Worth watching, though, for Laughton alone.

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