×

Mutiny on the Bounty

With:
Bligh - Charles Laughton Christian - Clark Gable Byam - Franchot Tone Smith - Herbert Mundin Ellison - Eddie Quillan Bacchus - Dudley Diffes Burkitt - Donald Crisp Sir Joseph Banks - Henry Stephenson Capt. Nelson - Francis Lister Mrs. Byam - Spring Byington Movita - Aria Maimiti - Mamo Maggs - Iam Wolfe Morgan - Ivan Simpson Fryer - DeWitt Jennings Muspratt - Stanley Fields Morrison - Wallace Clark Hayward - Vernon Downing Tinkler - Dick Winslow

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056264/?ref_=nv_sr_2

Technically, and going by precedents, this is no women’s picture; but Clarke Gable and Franchot Tone are in the cast and the likelihood is that they’ll atone for any weakness in that part of the business end. And with that one possible vulnerable point covered up, there’s nothing to stand in the way of ‘Mutiny’ qualifying for box office dynamite rating.

At the Capitol on Broadway, and with no cutting since the Coast previews, ‘Mutiny’ is running 131 minutes. If that’s a fault, it can be considered one only from the theater operation point of view. Audiences generally are not apt to resent it. For theatres wanting it shorter and sweeter, clipping will not be difficult for there’s plenty in the present footage that can stand it. At two hours and 11 minutes ‘Mutiny’ runs about equal to the average double bill.

The superfluous footage appears to be in the part, or parts, of the picture that give it most of its power. These are the flogging scenes, the torture stuff and the relentless exhibition of sadistic and terrible cruelty practiced on his men by Admiral Bligh (Charles Laughton). These moments are all brutally interesting, but they are at times repetitious, and that means much of it can go out without ill effects on the general merit of the story. Yet, even though repetitious, none seems out of place or extraneous in the 131-minute print. ‘Mutiny’ takes its time, and plenty of it, without being guilty of a single dull moment.

As a production of the type that used to be known as a ‘spectacle,’ as an example of superb screen authorship and as an exhibition of compelling histrionics, this one is Hollywood at its very best. The story certainly could not be presented as powerfully through any other medium.

Popular on Variety

For plot the scenarists have used, with some variations, the first two books of the Nordhoff-Norman trilogy on the mutiny of Fletcher Christian. Beginnings of the first book and the picture are pretty much the same, as are the details up to the arrival of the hunted mutineers on Pitcairn’s Island. Picture ends there, omitting the third book almost entirely. Further credence to the facts on which the novel was based is lent by the picture, which credits, on the title sheet, the case as causing a new and more humane system of discipline in the British navy.

First hour or so of the film leads up, step by step, to the mutiny, with a flexible ‘story’ backgrounding some thrilling views of seamanship on a British man-o’-war in the early 18th century, and the cruel Capt. Bligh’s inhuman treatment of his sailors.

It was a rule in the navy of those days, it appears, that any sailor who struck a superior officer was subject to 20 lashes on every ship in the fleet. At the commencement of the picture. Bligh demands he be given his privilege of lashing the offender, despite that the man already is dead. A pretty hard-boiled start for a picture, and not a pleasant appetizer for the weaker stomachs, but it serves to set the character of Capt. Bligh right off the bat and with no stalling.

From then on Bligh, through the cruelties he performs and due to the faithful portrait drawn by Laughton, is as despicable a character as has ever heavied across a screen. Hateful from scratch, Bligh gets worse as he goes along, and when the mutiny arrives, the audience most everywhere will applaud, as did the more or less sophisticated clientele at the Capitol.

Delicate romancing amidst picturesque scenes in Tahiti by the English sailors is handled with finesse by the script, and the boys must have worn out plenty of kid gloves in slipping this part of the story in with diplomacy. Polynesians are considered members of the white race by many experts, but whether they are so held by the majority of layman is questionable. And Gable and Tone’s girl friends are very much Poly in appearance. But it’s all done so neatly that kicks won’t be numerous.

Laughton, Gable and Tone are all that Producer Al Lewin and Director Frank Lloyd could have wished for in the three key roles, Laughton is magnificent. Gable, as brave. Fletcher Christian, fills the doc’s prescription to the letter. Tone, likable throughout, gets his big moment with a morality speech at the finish, and makes the most of it.

Support players are mostly characters, depending chiefly on appearances and makeup, but the caster picked wisely and there’s ability behind everything, from bits to major assignments. Dudley Digges is splendid as the alcoholic ship’s doctor, and Eddie Quillan often takes the play away from the lead trio with his interpretation of the shanghaied kid, Ellison. Herbert Mundin, as a nervous mess ‘boy,’ has everything to himself in the comedy department. Pair of girls called Maria and Mamo, opposite Gable and Tone in the Tahiti romancing, are dark-eyed beauts who look good at all times, and especially in profile when emerging from a swim, but the girls talk mostly Polynesian and there’s no indication of acting ability either way.

Musical score by Herbert Stothart and camera work of Arthur Edeson, are commensurate with all other phases of ‘Mutiny’ and that means aces.

1935: Outstanding Production (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

Nominations: Actor (Clark Gable), Actor (Charles Laughton), Actor (Franchot Tone), Directing (Frank Lloyd), Film Editing (Margaret Booth), Music (Scoring)

Mutiny on the Bounty

Production: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production of Albert Lewin production. Director Frank Lloyd. From novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Hall Norman; adaptation Talbot Jennings, Jules Furthman, Carol Wilson.

Crew: Musical score, Herbert Stothart; film editor, Margaret Booth; camera, Arthur Edeson. At Capitol, N.Y., commencing Nov. 8, '35. Complete original review text from 1935. Running time, 131 mins.

With: Bligh - Charles Laughton Christian - Clark Gable Byam - Franchot Tone Smith - Herbert Mundin Ellison - Eddie Quillan Bacchus - Dudley Diffes Burkitt - Donald Crisp Sir Joseph Banks - Henry Stephenson Capt. Nelson - Francis Lister Mrs. Byam - Spring Byington Movita - Aria Maimiti - Mamo Maggs - Iam Wolfe Morgan - Ivan Simpson Fryer - DeWitt Jennings Muspratt - Stanley Fields Morrison - Wallace Clark Hayward - Vernon Downing Tinkler - Dick Winslow

More Film

  • Honest Candidate

    Korea Box Office: ‘Honest Candidate’ Wins Weekend as ‘Parasite’ Returns to Chart

    Opening on Wednesday (Feb. 12), comedy “Honest Candidate” topped the South Korean box office, ahead of “Little Women” and Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” which returned to the charts eight months after its original release. “Candidate” earned $6.52 million from 909,000 admissions over five days. Directed by Chang You-jeong (“Finding Mr. Destiny”), “Candidate” is the story of [...]

  • Sophia Loren

    Netflix Takes Global Rights to Sophia Loren's First Feature Film in a Decade

    Netflix has acquired global rights to drama “The Life Ahead,” which marks Sophia Loren’s return in front of the camera for a feature film after a decade. Directed by her son Edoardo Ponti, “Life Ahead” sees the iconic Italian Oscar winner playing Madame Rosa, a Holocaust survivor who forges a bond with a 12-year-old Senegalese [...]

  • The Book of Sun

    Oliver Stone to Head Saudi Arabia's Red Sea Festival Jury, Lineup Announced

    Oliver Stone will preside over the main jury of Saudi Arabia’s nascent Red Sea International Film Festival, which has unveiled its inaugural lineup. The fest will feature the Middle East premiere of Harvey Weinstein-inspired workplace abuse drama “The Assistant” amid a fresh mix of feature films and docs from Europe, the U.S., Asia and Africa [...]

  • Aerial View of Jiangxia temporary hospital

    Virus Kills Chinese Film Director and Family in Wuhan

    A Chinese film director and his entire family have died from the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Chang Kai, a film director and an external communications officer at a Hubei Film Studio subsidiary, died in hospital on Feb. 14 from the virus now called COVID-19, according to a statement from the [...]

  • Remi Bonhomme

    Marrakech Film Festival Taps Cannes Exec Remi Bonhomme as Artistic Director

    Remi Bonhomme, a leading force behind Cannes’ Critics Week, has been appointed artistic director of the Marrakech Film Festival and its industry conference, the Atlas Workshops. In recent years, Bonhomme successfully headed the Atlas Workshops, a platform dedicated to supporting the cinema of the African continent and the Arab world, where he was also part [...]

  • A Stasi Comedy

    Picture Tree Intl. Picks Up Leander Haussmann's 'A Stasi Comedy' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Berlin-based Picture Tree International (PTI) has acquired global sales rights to Leander Haussmann’s highly anticipated East German laffer “A Stasi Comedy.” Set in the early 1980s, the film centers on East Germany’s infamous state security service, the Staatssicherheitsdienst or Stasi, and young agent Ludger, played by David Kross (“Balloon,” “The Reader”), who is sent to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content