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: The Bounty (1984)  ( 5933 )
Bounty Killer
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Remember, I always see the job through !

« #15 : June 03, 2009, 08:04:21 PM »

I've seen all these films, and like the 1935 version best.  I've also read the Nordhoff and Hall trilogy, quite good.  After the mutiny Bligh and the sailors did an unbelievable job of staying alive, and reaching civilization.  The ship that picked up the ones who remained on Tahiti to take back to England also had a shipwreck. And the story is true, Bounty descendants still live on Pitcairn.

dave jenkins
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"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."

« #16 : June 03, 2009, 11:32:59 PM »

Bligh had an interesting career. He later became governor of New South Wales and when he tried cracking down on some of the illegal activities of the wealthy landowners, his subjects mutinied. It seems that wealthy landowners don't like to be whipped. Bligh was forced to leave the colony, but was later exonerated at another trial. He went on to become a Rear Admiral, though without command.

Captain Bligh House is now a popular London B&B.

That's what you get, Drink, for not appreciating the genius of When You Read This Letter.
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This post gets Agnew's stamp of approval!

« #17 : April 01, 2012, 07:39:15 AM »

Rewatching this I might claim it as my favorite Bounty film:

Roger Donaldson's The Bounty (1984) might be the best account of HMAV Bounty's infamous mutiny. Originally conceived as a two-part David Lean super-epic, it was ultimately pared down to this comparatively modest film. Nonetheless, Robert Bolt's complex characters and an excellent cast make it a compelling interpretation of a maritime legend.

Lieutenant William Bligh (Anthony Hopkins) asks Fletcher Christian (Mel Gibson) to serve with him on HMAV Bounty on a breadfruit mission to Tahiti. The voyage to the islands goes well-enough, aside from an ill-fated attempt to round Cape Horn. Bligh is forced to prolong his stay on Tahiti for the plants to mature, allowing the crew to become hopelessly ensconced in the tropical paradise. Christian falls for Mautua (Tevaite Vernette), daughter of King Tynah (Wi Kuki Kaa), much to Bligh's consternation. Attempting to regain control of the crew, Bligh institutes harsh discipline, pushing them to mutiny. A framing device has Bligh accounting for his actions before a court martial led by Admiral Hood (Laurence Olivier).

David Lean initiated The Bounty in 1977, planning two long films covering the Bounty's full story, including the HMS Pandora's pursuit of Christian and Bligh's post-mutiny career. Lean approached several producers (Dino De Laurentis, Joseph Levine, even his old sparring mate Sam Spiegel), none keen on financing such a huge undertaking. Millions of dollars were spent constructing a replica Bounty, scouting locations and casting before shooting a foot of film. Robert Bolt's stroke and Lean's bickering with De Laurentis caused Lean to abandon the project, leaving Roger Donaldson to helm a much smaller film. (See Kevin Brownlow's David Lean: A Biography for a detailed account.)

For all that, The Bounty is extremely successful. Working on Richard Hough's Captain Bligh and Mr. Christian, Donaldson and Bolt chart a different course than previous versions. Instead of a good-and-evil parable, The Bounty presents a tale of cultural clash and a failure in leadership.

Captain Bligh remains an archetypical villain, a sadistic martinet driving his crew to righteous rebellion. Recent biographers and historians suggest this depiction is unfair. Bligh may have been harsh but probably no more than his contemporaries. Certainly Bligh had a distinguished (if checkered) career, including his extraordinary post-mutiny voyage to Timor, heroic service in the Napoleonic Wars and an ill-fated attempt to stamp out corruption in New South Wales. Nonetheless, given past portrayals, elevating Bligh to protagonist status is a bold move.

Bolt gives Bligh a complex characterization. This is the only Bounty film to note that he and Fletcher were old friends, which here explains Bligh's later abuse. We even meet Bligh's family early on. Bligh's an able, heroic seaman who's not unduly harsh: three deserters are flogged instead of hanged. From the start however, he blames others for his mistakes and deeply resents criticism. The first crack in Bligh's facade comes when Master Fryer (Daniel Day-Lewis) defies an order during a storm. His failure, Bolt suggests, is allowing his crew to run riot on Tahiti and then overcompensating on discipline for the return voyage.

By contrast, Christian is less favorably portrayed. He's initially an upright man but allows himself to "go native" on Tahiti and can't return to shipboard life. His dilemma is very personal, with Mautua's pregnancy steeling his resolve. Christian impulsively supports the mutiny and almost immediately regrets it: he's no more able to handle the rowdy crew than Bligh. The haunting final shot has Christian stranded on Pitcairn, watching the Bounty in flames, his future uncertain.

Roger Donaldson's subsequent career has been mixed (Thirteen Days his best post-Bounty work) but he's excellent here. Beautiful Polynesian and New Zealand locations provide the perfect atmosphere of sexual paradise and personal freedom. Vangelis's dreamlike score sells the mood even further. But there's also a feeling of langor and decadence which matches the story perfectly. Smaller-scaled than previous Bounty flicks, it's no less effective.

Anthony Hopkins gives one of his best performances, making Bligh sympathetic while bringing out his darker side when necessary. Mel Gibson is surprisingly effective as a foppish officer seduced by tropical splendor. Daniel Day-Lewis and Liam Neeson have choice supporting roles and Bernard Hill (Valkyrie), John Sessions and Philip Martin Brown (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) play crewmembers. Wry Laurence Olivier and pettish Edward Fox make the trial structure effective. Tevaite Vernette and Wi Kuki Kaa play credible Tahitians.

The Bounty isn't the epic masterpiece it could have been but it still compares favorably to its predecessors. Bringing a fresh take on a classic story, it's highly recommended. 8/10

« : April 01, 2012, 09:40:15 AM Groggy »

Saturday nights with Groggy
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