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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Literature > History > Naval > Mutiny On The Bounty (1935/Warner Blu-ray)

Mutiny On The Bounty (1935/Warner Blu-ray)


Picture: B†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: B-†††† Film: B



Some stories are so good that they have spawned several good films.In the case of Mutiny On The Bounty, there is the 1962 Marlon Brando film, 1984 Anthony Hopkins/Mel Gibson film and the fact that the story of Captain Bligh and Mr. Fletcher Christian battling on a big ship in the middle of nowhere remains intriguing and true is still known today.However, the genesis of this tale becoming a key piece of the culture, pop and otherwise, comes from the 1935 MGM film with Charles Laughton giving an immortal and much-imitated performance as Bligh and an on the rise Clark Gable as Christian a year after his breakthrough hit It Happened One Night the year before.


This film was bound to be a hit and it was, making Gable one of the biggest stars at the biggest studio in Hollywood, while the already respectable and extremely talented Laughton only cemented his reputation as one of the all around best in the business.An expensive film for its time, it would be the biggest hit for its director, Frank Lloyd, whose career included over 130 feature films!


On its 75th Anniversary, the film endures and holds up very well despite the underrated remakes and changes in filmmaking, it is a very tight, smart film with an efficient use of narrative economy (no moment in plotting is wasted) and it is a very rich, watchable 132 minutes throughout.Sure, you can see some of the sets and the acting style is of its time, but this was a great way to make films that moved and worked and it is very fair to say this has more energy than most productions I have seen of late.That is why it is a classic of its time and of all time, though it deserves a new, wider audience to discover it and hopefully this Blu-ray will help make that possible.


Besides Franchot Tone (a big star of MGM at the time who had a long, enduring acting career), there are a good share of actors of the time that have been forgotten in key roles including Donald Crisp, Eddie Quillan, Henry Stephenson, Spring Byington, David Torrence, DeWitt Jennings, Vernon Downing and Mamo Clark whose work helped make this a hit, but so many hits since, time and the fall of the old MGM has caused their work and their names to be lost in the shuffle.Seeing their work in High Definition shows particularly how strong their work was and I hope we see more early sound films make it to Blu-ray ASAP.


But then we have the two big stars against each other on the big screen.Laughtonís work in inarguable, but you have to give Gable credit.Here he is a young actor and some may have accused him of coasting on his looks and popularity, only getting respect towards the end of his career.He really holds his own against Laughton, who is not holding back anything in any way here and Gable was very young at 34.He really could act and proves it here.Mutiny On The Bounty is one of the most important films of the 1930s and seeing it again years later looking and sounding better than most could have ever imagined, you can see why.It is the kind of gem the classical Hollywood Studio System could produce all the time because the moguls running the studios cared and this epitomizes the results.


If you have never seen the film before, see it on Blu-ray and be impressed.



The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital black and white High Definition image is now one of the few films of the 1930s to make the Blu-ray format so far, but it looks really good for its age with good detail for its age and Warner has cleaned up the film without ruining it.Video Black and Video White work, while the grain is here in a limited amount without being overabundant.Arthur Edeson was the credited Director of Photography, but this was epic enough a production that Charles G. Clarke and Sidney Wagner also worked on the film.Along with Babes In Toyland (aka March Of The Wooden Soldiers with Laurel & Hardy, reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site), you can see MGM was determined to make the biggest and best productions of the time and when they decided to spend the money, it was all over the screen.The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 1.0 track is fine for an early sound film of its age, which was also a monophonic release, with Herbert Stothartís score sounding just fine.


Extras include a 1935 short Pitcairn Island Today, Academy Awards Newsreel, 32-page DigiBook with rare stills, promo materials and text information and trailers for this and the 1962 versions of the tale on film from MGM.I just wish Warner had included an HD version of the Looney Tunes spoof Mutiny On The Bunny, though an audio commentary would have been nice too.You can read more about the 1962 version at this link:





-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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