109 of 119 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2001
When the news broke that MGM had the audacity to remake the hallowed 1935 classic "Mutiny on the Bounty" starring Clark Gable and Charles Laughton, the critics were aghast. As the news leaked out about trouble in production, they whipped themselves into a self-righteous frenzy. Brando was a lightening rod for criticism because he was renowned as arrogant hothead. Compared with Gable, who was universally loved and adored, Brando was a boor. It was almost sacrilegious to put Brando in any part Gable had played. When the film opened, it never had a chance. It was ripped to shreds. Brando was ridiculed as a lower class character actor who couldn't step up to the part, and derided for his dreadful attempt at an English accent. The film was a box office loser and critics smugly declared they told us so.
The film was beset by problems throughout production. The full-scale replica of the Bounty arrived on location two months after the film was scheduled to begin shooting. There were three deaths among the film's personnel and the film ran well over budget. The biggest problems were the result of Brando's constant temper tantrums as he tried to rewrite the entire film from the set. At least six writers came and went. After countless confrontations, director Carol Reed gave up and quit to be replaced by Lewis Milestone ("All Quiet on the Western Front'). Milestone was an utterly intractable director that Brando couldn't bully. The result was a battle between the immovable object and the irresistible force, with daily emotional pyrotechnics that further delayed the film. Although Milestone usually prevailed in the fracases, this film turned out to be his last in a 37-year career.
Over the years, the critics have continued to pillory the film, but the public generally receives it more favorably as time passes. Though I often disagree with the masses, in this case I concur. Having seen both the 1935 and 1962 versions, I prefer the latter. Gable is clearly more charming and dashing in the role, but Brando gives the more complete performance. Gable's Christian seems far less ruffled by the events that transpire on the Bounty, whereas Brando accomplishes a believable transition from the cavalier rogue to an honorable hero who endures self-torment over the treasonous act. Though Brando's English accent is oft ridiculed, I have heard far worse. Part of the problem probably stemmed from the fact that the accent he attempted to imitate was very upper crust and he delivered it with a certain sneering tone that made it seem like he was mocking the English. Just hearing that accent from the same lips that gave us, "I coulda been a contenda" was a kind of ironic comedy unto itself.
Between the Bligh portrayed by Charles Laughton and that depicted by Trevor Howard in the remake, Howard wins hands down for pure detestability. Most of the production values, such as music, set design and costumes were superior in the remake. Moreover, the remake was more historically accurate than the original.
The film features a youthful Richard Harris in the role of Mills, who gives an excellent performance of the petulant sailor. Also noteworthy is the lovely Tarita, a native Tahitian who plays Christian's love interest Maimiti, and does a scorching belly dance. This was Tarita's only film, but to anyone who has seen the film, she will not be soon forgotten.
This is an excellent film. It was nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture, but it was shut out, trampled by "Lawrence of Arabia". It is highly entertaining with wonderful costumes, props and sets, fabulous locations and photography, and some terrific performances. Though many will disagree, I rated it a 10/10. If one can step back from the controversy that swirled around this film when it debuted, it is an easy film to enjoy.
39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2000
Perhaps that review title's too harsh. I loved the '62 version primarily because of how the extremes of production expense shoved it forward as an all-time great. To understand its power one has to see its standing in relation to the two other versions. The 1935 film has a pre-Errol Flynn swashbuckler ambience that tries to coexist with an overall moodier feel brought on by dour, flat direction. The 1984 movie tries too hard to establish historical correctness while superimposing Mel Gibson's prettiness over the sour conditions underlying the vessel and the voyage. At any rate, these elements take out much of the fun of these versions and, in the latter case, it's even arguable that its weighty atmosphere defuses the thrill of the mutiny altogether. Nothing spectacular in these.
Lewis Milestone directed an infinitely more entertaining affair on the 1962 version. Marlon Brando's attempt at Englishness is thoroughly derisable but we forgive him for it because there's much comic relief to be had in that as well as in the way he spars with Trevor Howard. The crew are alotted more respect by the camera in this film and that freedom yields more entertaining results than the sordid festering they endure to be found in the most recent version.
No. This is a three hour adventure that is fun for all the family. At times funny (echoes of Gilbert and Sullivan drift into my head every once in a while when I watch Brando strutting about on the poop deck), at times poignant, this is maybe the biggest of the giants Metro Goldwyn Mayer committed to celluloid. It's important to keep in mind that studios were still having their honeymoon with Eastman colour 40 years ago and it isn't surprising at all that the tale of the Bounty was selected for a reworking on this grandiose scale. Full of images and sounds that do nothing but please the soul, 'Mutiny on the Bounty' is a masterpiece with no bad actors aboard (Richard Harris is at his best here as the chief fomentor of rebellion 'downstairs'). When viewed from any angle, it's still a dazzling chandelier of a movie. They don't make them like this anymore not because they won't - it's simply because the style involved here is out of the reach of any filmmaker or producer alive today. Probably a year or more in the making, the Sixties Bounty film is irrefutably the definitive one and the effects of watching it once are guarranteed to incite many subsequent viewings, not merely to drink up the haunting beauty of the location camera work. This is an essential component of any family's movie collection that must be bought as soon as possible.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2009
I just can't speak highly enough about this wonderful version of Mutiny On The Bounty. Critics be scorned. What's amazing is the crud leveled at this film and how it's endured all these years diminishing any credit due it. Brando ruined it, was troublesome, difficult to work with, cost MGM lots of $$$; Bunk! I saw this movie for the first time when it came out in '62 and it knocked me off my feet; I was ten yrs old. I appreciate it so much more today as an adult. It's a darn fine movie, take my word for it. The photography is STUNNING, period costumes great, the pagentry and colors of Tahiti take your breath away. They built a replica of the Bounty from the keel up, a feat truly remarkable. The music by Bronislau Kaper is superb and can measure up to that of Lawrence of Arabia, El Cid, King of Kings and Doctor Zhivago any day. The Love Theme is both haunting & Beautiful. The pace of the film flows very well and never once does it drag. Brando & Howard play well off each other. Richard Harris as Mills gives a fine performance along with the other character actors playing the crew. The interplay between Bligh & Christian builds just the right amount of tension. You can feel Fletcher Christian's contempt for Bligh growing more with every scene. The foppish, self centered intellectual suddenly thinking of things greater than himself, being drawn in to see the injustice & cruelty leveled at the crew. Maybe for the first time in his life Christian now knows the difference between right & wrong. He's forced to see that rule books & regulations do not make a captain. Especially one who seems to have nothing but disdain for his crew, beating them like dogs, starving them, stripping away their dignity. Bligh is a man without honor wanting desperately & only to further his own career in the British Navy, no matter who he has to crush or kill to get there. To sail around the Horn in the middle of Winter just to shave a couple of months off the voyage, risking both ship & crew. Depriving men of water in order to water plants. We the viewer are pushed to the edge along with Christian. Brando allows us to witness the smoldering powder keg within him. Then the film grants us relief as we sail & land into Paradise. Humor is put in at just the right places. When Bligh tells Christian to make love to the kings daughter in order not to offend him & Christian makes him squirm doing so, it's hysterical. I'm not sure there was a need for any great acting between Brando & Tarita, who plays the kings daughter, the sparks fly well enough on their own. The Island, the beaches, the sunsets over the ocean are truly magnificent. The native women are sensual innocence & breathtaking. You can plainly see why the crew would never want to leave this Island Paradise. The mutiny is very powerful. Christian is driven to commit this act by continued actions against the crew from Bligh & goaded by Mills; the powder keg explodes. The final scenes with Brando are beautifally acted and I have to say that I am so pleased that the original prologue & epilogue are included here because they are the perfect bookends to the movie. They set and end it wonderfully. Why they were ever taken out to begin with is beyond me. I can only say in closing that this two disc collection is great. The special features include some history, the construction of the Bounty and it's restoration over 30 years later. I would've liked some behind the scenes interviews with cast & crew but that's only a minor swipe. The original overture, intermission & entr' acte are here to make this feel like an old fashioned movie going experience that we don't see anymore. If you have a large flat screen tv & a home entertainment system, be prepared to get knocked off YOUR feet. Amazon is offering you one heck of a package here & at a great price. Don't pass it up!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2012
Even if this is a very good movie, even if Marlon Brando's Fletcher Christian and Trevor Howard's William Bligh are convincing and very well played, sadly, this movie has almost nothing in commun with the true story.
First thing, Bligh didn't decide to try the Cape Horn route midway thrue the Atlantic crossing, it was planned from the start.
Secondly, Bligh knew Fletcher Christian before the Bounty voyage, in fact, he had sailed with him before and even wished him on board. William Bligh treated his men as well as any Captain in the 1790's maybe even better, having learned from the Great James Cook himself.
The actual mutiny sequence has nothing, but absolutly nothing remotely to do with how it happened. Fletcher Christian, along with 3 other sailors, stormed Bligh sleeping quaters early in the morning and tied his hands behind his back. It was NEVER in reaction to Bligh refusing to give water to a dying sailor. The worst part in my opinion is last 15 minutes of the movie. Completely delirious stuff.
So, if you want to see a good movie, great, you can watch "Mutiny on the Bounty", but be aware that it has nothing to do with the true story. For that, may I recommend Caroline Alexander book "The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty".
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 1999
The 1962 remake of the classic 'Mutiny On The Bounty' story has been savaged by the critics thoughout the years. Criticisms has included over-length, poor acting (not forgetting Brando's accent) and an over-dramaticised death scene finale.
After the release of the original 1935 version, many critics were quick to applaud this Frank Lloyd classic as the epitome of modern film-making. However, it can now be regarded as a slackly told adventure, although still very entertaining.
During the making of this version, leaks to the media of the problems which beset the production has not been helpful to its cause. Problems alerted included directorial conflicts (the resignation of Carol Reed for Lewis Milestone), delayed and rewritten screenplays, Marlon Brando becoming difficult onset etc.. It became quite clear that the knives of the critics were beginning to sharpen at the prospect of this remake of a universally acknowledged classic. It would also have been professional suicide for any of these original critics to think that this movie was to be anything other than a "turkey".
The main point of scathing by the critics was Brando's accent. I am Irish and I have had to endure dreadful "oirish" accents in movies throughout the years. So, when a main Hollywood star tries to make an eccentric interpretation of a real life English hero with an English accent, suddenly everybody gets particular to what part of England it is from. What Marlon Brando did was make a spirited if unsuccessful attempt at creating a different and more realistic Fletcher Christian.
The production was fine. The other performances are excellent, especially Trevor Howard's Captain Bligh (much more realistic than Laughton's interpretation) and most importantly, this version entertains. I accept that it could have been better but I do enjoy watching this version than the other two versions. It is not perfect and I appreciate that it is overlong - but even if you hate this remake you must admit that there is no way it deserves the scathing reviews it has received throughout the years.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2007
I am pleased to see this movie complete on a DVD since I saw it on the big screen in Sydney in 1963. I have it as a wide screen 2-video set (NTSC format) which is not available in PAL, and have enjoyed it every time I sat and spent the nearly 3 hours watching it. There are a number of sequences on the islands which were obviously deleted for the video because they tended to repeat themselves, for example, there are more dancing and fishing scenes. I couldn't seen any extra bits dealing with the action on the "Bounty".
The deleted prologue and epilogue included as extras along with the documentaries of the version of the Bounty" built for the movie are very interesting, even if some of the documentaries repeat themselves in places.
I enjoyed finally seeing Marlin Brando's "Mutiny on the Bounty" finally in all its glory.
21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2000
If you want more than a fair share of quick quips, terrific supporting acting, good character development, and Marlon Brando at his best, then catch this one right now. Pay special attention to how the conflict between the Capt. and Mr. Christian develops from the very first scene. I have watched this film over and over again, finding more and more interweaving of underlying themes everytime I see it. Having spent several years in the military I can fully relate with the difficulty of having a commanding officer who is thinking more of his own career than the well-being of his men. I particularly enjoy the way Mr. Christian evolves from a snobbish officer who takes everything as a joke to a primal man who must sacrifice everything he holds dear in order to do what he "believes" is right. Don't take my word for it, go rent this one and enjoy an evening.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2007
Although there were two early Australian films addressing the mutiny on the Bounty story (one with Errol Flynn), the three available to the public and best known are 1.) The 1935 Oscar-winning black & white version with Clark Gable as Fletcher Christian; 2.) The 1962 Marlon Brando version; and 3.) The 1984 version with Mel Gibson simply titled "The Bounty."
THE STORY: The famous mutiny story is so fascinating because it's TRUE. William Bligh, as acting Captain, was sent on a mission in December 1787 to pick up breadfruit plants from Tahiti and bring them back to England. Bligh intended on circumnavigating the globe to fulfill the mission. Unfortunately he and his crew failed to make it around Cape Horn, South America, and had to take the long way around Africa. It thus took them 10 months to reach Tahiti, wherein they were forced to stay another five months due to the breadfruit's "dormant" period. The natives were friendly and the women ultra-beautiful; the Bounty crew naturally fell under the spell of the Polynesian paradise, with the exception of Bligh, that is. Christian even married the king's daughter, Maimiti. But after five months they had to get on with their mission and return to Naval discipline and England. Three and a half weeks later on April 28, 1789, Fletcher took over the ship with 18 other muntineers. 22 remained loyal to Bligh and 2 others were neutral. Christian set Bligh and 18 loyalists adrift in the ship's launch boat. He then returned to Tahiti where he dropped off 16 men, but picked up 6 Tahitian men and 11 women. Christian then set forth with 8 other mutineers and the Tahitians to elude the Royal Navy, ultimately settling on Pitcairn Island, which was well off the beaten path and misplaced on Royal charts, seemingly a perfect hiding place to live out the rest of their days.
Mel Gibson's version is certainly the most historically accurate and I definitely recommend seeing it, but Brando's version is the most epic in scope, as well as the most captivating and compelling despite its 3-hour length. As for the 1935 black & white version, I was extrememly disappointed with it. It's a fine film for its day, but it'll likely come across dated and fabricated to most modern viewers. Anyone who argues that it's the best version is tainted by nostalgia pure and simple. I'm unbiased on the issue and can assure you that both the 1962 and 1984 versions blow it out of the water in practically every area.
How accurate is the 1962 version? Nitpickers like to grumble about historical inaccuracies, but the fact is that the entire gist of the story is accurate: Fletcher was born to an aristocratic family who were losing their wealth due to the widowed mother's irresponsible spending (why do you think he took the mission?); two cheeses did come up missing and Bligh was the real cuprit who unjustly blamed others; they did fail to sail around Cape Horn after only going 85 miles in a month (!); they did spend five months on Tahiti and Fletcher did romantically fall for Maimiti; after the mutiny Fletcher and his crew did ultimately end up stranded on Pitcairn Island where they set The Bounty ablaze; and Christian did ultimately die on Pitcairn, although in real life he lived for another three and a half years before being killed by one of the Tahitian men in a conlict that broke out between them and the British.
There are a number of fabricated elements, however: Christian was only 23 years old when the mission started, whereas Brando is about 37 in the film; Bligh knew Fletcher and actually sailed with him twice before, whereas the film shows Bligh meeting Christian for the first time; the mutiny itself took place at night wherein Bligh was awakened by the mutineers not in the daytime over a ladle of water as shown in the film; and, lastly, Fletcher didn't die due to wounds received while attempting to retrieve items from his burning ship.
Still, as stated above, the gist of the story is completely accurate.
WHAT WORKS: Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian is infinitely captivating, as well as Trevor Howard as Bligh. The viewer observes their relationship get steadily worse over the course of the story culminating in the mutiny. Although Bligh is depicted as an ultra-authoritarian, contemptible of his men and reveling in punishment, one gets the overall picture that he did what he did mostly because he was so hell bent on accomplishing his mission. After the mutiny fletcher points out that the Admiralty would likely consider Bligh's actions justifiable.
I'm not defending Bligh, he obviously had some serious character flaws and became known in the fleet as "that Bounty bast@#d." In fact, later in his career he suffered ANOTHER mutiny in New South Wales, Australia! Although brilliant as a seaman, he was by all accounts an unlikable bastage to those around him. His arrogant, abusive nature obviously destroyed loyalty and drove people from him. Still, I respect the fact that the film doesn't depict him as a villain dripping with evil as does the 1935 version.
There's a potent scene not long after the mutiny wherein Bligh and his 18 loyalists sit in the launch boat trying to figure out what to do. Bligh ultimately decides to sail to Timor, which was 3600 miles away, rather than strand themselves on some uncivilized island. What obviously drives Bligh's mad decision is his utter hatred of Christian and his desire for revenge. When some of the loyalists understandably object to the idea Bligh picks up a small sword without hesitation and matter of factly states, "It would be a mistake to assume that I am no longer in command here."
The fascinating thing is that Bligh succeeded in taking the launch to Timor -- an amazing feat of seamanship and navigation, especially in light of the fact that all he had was a sextant and pocket watch; he had no charts or compass! It took them 47 days to sail 3618 miles with very few provisions on an incredibly overcrowded small craft. Although all of them survived the trip, five died in the ensuing days and months due to ailments sustained during the voyage. Unfortunately the film does not depict this incredible journey. Gibson's version does, however.
This 1962 version also powerfully depicts Christian's depression after the mutiny. He locks himself up in his cabin while the rest of the crew parties it up on the mainland in Tahiti. He knows he can never go home again. This is a great, realisitic scene. Maimiti ultimately visits Fletcher in his cabin but can't shake him out of his depression; she angrily quotes a Tahitian proverb: "You either eat life or life eats you!"
Another positive aspect is that the picture at least reveals a little bit of what life promised the mutineers on Pitcairn; neither the '35 or '84 versions do this.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Aside from the historical inaccuracies noted above, I see only two problems: Parts of the initial 10-minute dock sequence are stagey and dated, e.g. one man speaks, then another, etc. It comes off unreal and tempts the viewer to tune out before the story even gets started. The good thing is that it doesn't last long and once the voyage is underway the film utterly captivates.
The other problem, as already noted, is that Bligh's brilliant trip to Timor in the launch is not depicted. I would have preferred to see at least a few scenes devoted to this incredible voyage.
FINAL ANALYSIS: Despite the few historical inaccuracies, Brando's 1962 version is the most engaging version of the famous mutiny. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite films! I see it about once every two years and it never fails to capture my full attention. This is a sign of a really great film (yes, despite the fact that it inexplicably bombed when it was first released). Gibson's 1984 "The Bounty" is a worthy rendition as well; it's historically accurate but not as compelling. I recommend watching both films back to back, which is what I usually do.
THE FATE OF THE MUTINEERS: There was ample land, water and food for the 9 mutineers, 6 Tahitian men and 11 women on Pitcairn. Christian naturally became the established leader of the colony and many children were born. Although Fletcher treated the Polynesian men fairly, other mutineers treated them like servants and relations deteriorated. When John Williams' wife died he took one of the Polynesian men's women as a "replacement" which naturally caused the natives to revolt. In the ensuing conflict five of the mutineers died, including Christian, and all 6 of the Tahitian men. Of the four remaining mutineers, one died in a drunken fall and Quintal was killed by the remaining two after a violent drunken fit of rage. Ned Young died of asthma in 1800, leaving John Adams, 9 women and 23 children to be discovered by an American vessel in 1808. Interestingly, John Adams (aka Alex Smith) had a bible from the ship and had became a devout Christian, along with Ned Young, during his years on the island, converting the native women and children and holding regular church services. Adams was ultimately granted amnesty by the British government for his part in the mutiny. Today the island is home to about 50 people from 9 families, most descendants of the mutineers, including Fletcher Christian; many adherents of Seventh-Day Adventism due to a successful Adventist mission in the 1890s.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2012
Despite a few vague positive reviews here for the blu-ray transfer, this is a real disappointment. If you have seen the blu-rays of ZULU, BEN HUR or CLEOPATRA, you will know what can be done with the widescreen epics of the late 50s and 60s. This BD is more comparable to the very poor transfer of SPARTACUS. Apparently this release is simply a 1080p version of the 2006 issue. The main problem is lack of image clarity. And the cause would seem to be, once again, excessive use of DNR (Digital Noise Reduction). This blu-ray doesn't show the slightest bit of film grain. Since grain is inherent to the film medium, removing it results in loss of image sharpness. There also seems to be some dispute about whether the transfer was made from the original 65mm negative or a later 35mm reduction.
The sound of this BD, however, is newly transferred and is quite remarkable. Kaper's score and the ocean sounds are magnificently rendered.
Since Warner is not likely to immediately redo their transfer, this disc is still worth watching. It is certainly the best available version for home viewing. But it's a real shame that Warner didn't think such an important Hollywood production was worth a little extra effort and expense.
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
The vast majority of Amazon reviewers speak highly of this film and I am no different. The older version with Gable and Laughton, as well as the later one with Gibson and Hopkins is nowhere near as exciting and entertaining as the Brando/Howard version. Brando, like Nicholson, is one of those actors who basically is playing himself playing someone else. So what if the accent was wrong, he still managed to captivate every scene he which he is featured.
Another strong point is the magnificent score by Bronislau Kaper. The opening and end themes are both majestic and tragic, respectively.
Trevor Howard's Bligh is deserving of mutiny. His determination to bring breadfruit to the English isles overshadows everything else making him a tyrant who forces his crew to take extreme measures.
Black character actor Frank Silvera does a great job as Minarri, translator and interpreter for the Tahitian king. Richard Harris and future Oscar winner Hugh Griffith are also quite good in their roles as crewmen whose torture at the hands of Bligh lead Brando's Christian to mutiny.
The breathtaking Pacific locations and the beautiful Polynesian people are additional pluses for this epic.