Thursday, August 19, 2010

1935: Mutiny on the Bounty

This is one of the best films about moral dilemmas that I've ever seen.  Generally, there are good guys and bad guys, and the good guys defeat the bad guys and everything's happy.  End of story.  Not in this film.

Captain Bligh is definitely an evil man, taking delight in torturing and practically starving his crew.  I was expecting Fletcher Christian and the other men to overthrow him, sail the ship home, and live happily ever after.  But it's not that simple.  The mutiny doesn't come at the end of the film; it comes in the middle.  Bligh survives and returns, determined to find the mutineers and bring them to justice.  The men may be heroic because they overthrew a tyrant, but they committed a crime, and they must either die or spend the rest of their lives in hiding to pay for it.

This film was very disturbing, but I liked it.  Apart from the scene in Tahiti, which was necessary to a certain extent but went on way too long, the pacing was good, and the story was engaging.  The performances were all magnificent and thoroughly convincing.  Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, and Franchot Tone were all nominated for best actor, and it's disappointing that none of them won because they were superb.  But Clark Gable just looks wrong without a mustache.

Coming up next: The Great Ziegfeld

No comments:

Post a Comment