In 1787, the HMS Bounty sets sail for Tahiti. The journey is long and dangerous, but thecommander, Captain Bligh (Charles Laughton) is an extremely skilled seaman. He is also abrutal, corrupt sadist. Resentment builds amongst the crew, until finally mutiny erupts, led byfirst officer Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable).
Never mind that most of the leads are Americans playing Brits. This is one of the great seaadventures. Its release on DVD is most welcome, what with th… revival of the form withMaster and Commander and Pirates of the Carribean. The drama and effects stillhold up extremely well. Gable is appropriately noble, but Laughton walks away with the film,incarnating one of the great screen villains.
The mono soundtrack is showing its age somewhat, but is also sounding pretty good for1935. Thus, the opening music does sound a bit thin, and there is some minor background hiss.Still and all, the quality isn’t bad for a track that’s almost 70 years old.
The picture too has aged. Much of the print looks spectacular, with no edge enhancement,great grey tones and a very sharp image. The good shots are very good, and have little to nograin. But where there is grain, there’s a lot (and this usually shows up in exterior long shots ofthe Bounty). There is some minor damage now and then as well (taking the form of flickeringand vertical lines).
Not a lot here: about ten minutes or so of viewing. There are the theatrical trailers for the1935 and 1962 versions of the story, the Hearst Movietone newsreel of the flick’s Best Picturewin (the reel has sound but no narration), and an odd little documentary from 1935: “PitcairnIsland Today.” This is a look at the inbred (literally) community made up of the descendants ofthe mutineers, still living on the tiny island they settled on. The menu’s main is scored.
A magnificent adventure, one of the greats. Decent, but not spectacular picture (restorationanyone?), but well worth watching all the same.
Special Features List
- “Pitcairn Island Today” Vintage Documentary
- Academy Award Newsreel
- Theatrical Trailers