12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Classic performances by Laughton & Gable,
This review is from: Mutiny On The Bounty [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This true story, with, admittedly, plenty of liberties taken with that truth, has gone down in popular consciousness as a true folk tale that everyone is familiar with. It has even been filmed three times. Captain Bligh has gone down in history as the epitome of tyranny and Fletcher Christian has become a symbol of man’s struggle against tyranny. Good against evil. Tyranny against freedom. A David verses Goliath story, if you will, or a George Washington verses George III. If you want to know why this myth has become so enduring – and it is a myth. The true story is no-where near as black and white, as the 1980s remake hints at - then watch this film.
Clark Gable is utterly convincing as the hero who can take no more of Captain Bligh’s tyrannical leadership and leads the men to mutiny against him. His performance knocks both Marlon Brando and Mel Gibson’s later feeble efforts into a three-cornered hat. Best of all is Charles Laughton’s portrayal of Captain Bligh. Bligh is tyranny personified. His very presence on screen oozes menace. His eyes glare malevolently at his crew. Every word that comes out of his mouth drips with contempt. Never has an actor portrayed evil so convincingly and so thoroughly. Most actors would overplay it. Laughton, the master that he is, gets it exactly right. Loathsome though Bligh is, he never becomes a caricature. He is a man as well as a monster. (Tim Roth and Alan Rickman should eat their hearts out.) It is one of the best performances in 20th Century cinema.
This film works at every level: the brisk pacing, the characterisation of the ships crew, the sets scenes on board ship and on the Island of Tahiti, and the cinematography. It is a wonderful film to watch and one that has ingrained itself into our collective memories thanks, mainly, to Charles Laughton.