MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY

"Frankly, Captain, I wanted to wear the Napolean hat today!" (1935)
With Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone, Donald Crisp, Dudley Diggs, Movita
Directed by Frank Lloyd
Black and White
Reviewed by JL

     The first, and still the best, screen adaptation of the historic standoff between the intolerably cruel Captain William Bligh (Charles Laughton) and the mutinous crew of the H.M.S. Bounty, led by first mate Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable).  A grand epic with as much polish and class as MGM and producer Irving Thalberg could pour into it, MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY is not as one-sided with its sentiments as memory might have it.  Yes, Bligh is brutal and Christian is principled, but we are allowed some glimpses of Bligh's strength as a commander and the crew's indulgent tendencies.  Laughton could be either unbearably hammy or, as in this film, brilliantly so, with his portrayal of Bligh one of the most imitated characterizations in screen history.  Gable lets Laughton chew away at the scenery as he stands tenaciously by, pulling nearly as much focus in doing so. 4½ - JL

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