Mutiny on the Bounty
I haven't moved forward with this project because this particular movie sat on my dresser for a good month before I got around to watching it. I'm not entirely sure where the reluctance came from. So I finally made myself sit down to watch it and I have to admit that I found it kind of boring. I read a book through most of the movie, only half paying attention to what was on the screen.
This movie is purportedly the true tale of the Fletcher Christian-lead mutiny against Captain Bligh on the HMS Bounty. The Bounty had been commissioned in 1787 to sail to Tahiti to pick up breadfruit plants. They were to bring the plants back to the West Indies, where it was hoped that breadfruit would be a cheap way to feed the slaves.
I think the thing that turns me off most to this movie is that it's supposed to be true but it is, in fact, highly fictionalized. Bligh is painted as an evil tyrant who deserved to be overthrown; Christian is painted as a virtuous hero. In reality, there is very little evidence that Bligh was a harsh captain. In fact, his actions were considered merciful for the times. For example, when 3 men deserted and were captured, he had them flogged, rather than hanged (the standard punishment of the time). He and Christian had sailed together previously. Christian even got his position as master's mate on the Bounty at Bligh's recommendation.
The reality is that it's very unlikely that Christian lead the mutiny because of Bligh's alleged despotism. The Bounty had spent 5 months in Tahiti, during which time Christian had married a local woman and several other men had formed "attachments." The men probably just didn't want to leave their newfound paradise behind.
The mutineers forced Bligh and 18 of his loyalists onto a 23-foot open launch and set them adrift. They somehow managed to reach the Dutch East Indies after 47 days. I think this a far more interesting story. I'd like to see a movie about that.
At any rate, if you want to go with the "Bligh as tyrant" version of the story, I do have to say that Charles Laughton plays him excellently.
Stars: Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone