MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The true story of how Fletcher Christian led a ship of overworked and abused sailors in mutiny against Captain Bligh while on a mission for the British Navy gets its first big screen treatment. Clark Gable plays the heroic Christian who tries to keep the men’s spirits up under Bligh’s oppressive leadership. The film won seven Academy Awards in 1935, including Best Picture.
WHAT I LIKED
If ever there was a classic “based on a true story” story, this is it. Such a fantastic tale that includes adventure and peril on the high seas. And it also includes beautiful women in a tropical paradise. More than a Hollywood history lesson, “Mutiny on the Bounty” is a timeless tale that has you rooting for the underdog, who happens to appear on both sides of the fight.
Considering how old this film is, one might expect it to be lost at sea while viewing it in the modern age. But like many other classics, it lives beyond its 65 years to be a film that is watchable and exciting today. A lot of this is due to the fact that this film was made on a massive budget for its time, allowing it to tell its story aboard a real ship (at times at least) and with impressive production value.
There are some fantastic performances in this film, mostly led by Charles Laughton as Captain Bligh. Clark Gable does a fine job in his role too, but it’s Laughton who manages to make you hate him but also have sympathy for him when he and his loyalists are put to sea.
In addition to the film itself, “Mutiny on the Bounty” has been given the Blu-ray book treatment by Warner Bros., which presents the film in a Blu-ray box-sized book that includes 32 pages of pictures and information. These are great releases for any fan of the films.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The only problem I have with this presentation is not fixable really. The fact is that “Mutiny on the Bounty” was shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio, which was typical for the time. This aspect ratio is preserved on the Blu-ray, which vertically letterboxes the picture on a 16×9 television. I just hope that anyone buying this Blu-ray understands what the hell an aspect ratio is and doesn’t stretch the picture just to have it fill the screen.
Like I said, this is nothing against the film or presentation itself, but more against aspect ratio idiocy that runs rampant in this country.
Along with the slick aforementioned Blu-ray book presentation, “Mutiny on the Bounty” includes theatrical trailers of the 1935 and 1962 versions of the film. There’s also the 1935 short film “Pitcairn Island Today,” which examines the final destination of Fletcher Christian and his crew. Finally, there’s an oddly amateurish newsreel splice in which the producer accepts his Academy Award in 1935.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Old movie fans who know how to set the proper aspect ratio on their HDTVs.