MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY [LES RÉVOLTÉS DU BOUNTY]  [Blu-ray] [French Import] The Mightiest Sea-Spectacular That Ever Swept Across The Screen!
It is 1787and the HMS Bounty sets out on a journey through perilous seas to a tropical paradise... and into history as the one of the most ill-fated vessels in naval lore. Lewis Milestone (All Quiet on the Western Front) directs this colour-drenched spectacular nominated for seven Academy Awards® including Best Picture. Filmed before in 1935 and again in 1984's The Bounty, the gripping story centres on first officer Fletcher Christian [Marlon Brando], a dandy transformed into a man of action, and Capt. William Bligh [Trevor Howard], uncompromising in his command or his cruelty. "Fear is [my] best weapon," William Bligh proclaims. But it's also the most costly, driving men to desperation and mutiny. Richard Harris, Hugh Griffith and Richard Haydn also star in this epic adventure.
FILM FACT: The 1962 film did not win any OSCARS® but was nominated for seven and they are as follows: Academy Award® for Best Picture for Aaron Rosenberg. Academy Award® for Best Art Direction, Set Decoration and Colour for George W. Davis, Henry Grace, Hugh Hunt and J. McMillan Johnson. Best Cinematography and Colour for Robert Surtees. Best Effects and Special Effects for A. Arnold Gillespie (visual) and Milo B. Lory (audible). Best Film Editing for John McSweeney Jr. Best Music, Score [Substantially Original] for Bronislaw Kaper. Best Music and Song for Bronisław Kaper (music) and Paul Francis Webster (lyrics) for the song "Love Song from Mutiny on the Bounty (Follow Me)." ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ was filmed in the Ultra Panavision 70 widescreen process, the first motion picture so credited. It was partly shot on location in the South Pacific. Behind the scenes, Marlon Brando effectively took over directing duties himself and caused it to become far behind schedule and over budget, resulting in director Carol Reed pulling out of the project and being replaced by Lewis Milestone who is credited as director of the picture.
Cast: Marlon Brando, Trevor Howard, Richard Harris, Hugh Griffith, Richard Haydn, Tarita Teriipia , Percy Herbert, Duncan Lamont, Gordon Jackson, Chips Rafferty, Noel Purcell, Ashley Cowan, Eddie Byrne, Frank Silvera, Tim Seely, Keith McConnell, Antoinette Bower (uncredited), Henry Daniell (uncredited), Larry Duran (uncredited), Anna Lee (uncredited), Gilchrist Stuart (uncredited), Matahiarii Tama (uncredited), Torin Thatcher (uncredited), Roger Ward (uncredited), Ben Wright (uncredited) and Les Tremayne (Trailer Narrator (voice) uncredited)
Director: Lewis Milestone and Carol Reed (uncredited)
Producer: Aaron Rosenberg (uncredited)
Screenplay: Charles Lederer, Charles Nordhoff (novel) and James Norman Hall (novel)
Composer: Bronislau Kaper
Cinematography: Robert L. Surtees
Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]
Aspect Ratio: 2.75:1 [Ultra Panavision 70]
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French: 5.1 Dolby Digital and German: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German SDH, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish
Running Time: 185 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Warner Home Video
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's 1962 epic 'Mutiny on the Bounty,' is better known for Marlon Brando's excesses, than the merits of the film itself: the actor's then-unheard of salary of more than a million dollars, his relentless overeating as it wreaked havoc on his wardrobe, endless cost overruns, and an interminable shooting schedule. ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ also struggled with the spectre of the widely-loved adaptation that had starred Clark Gable just a few decades prior. Regardless of what may have happened behind the scenes when its unwieldy Ultra Panavision 70 cameras stopped rolling, ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ is a reasonably enjoyable film, one that would've been worth discovering on Blu-ray.
This incarnation of 'Mutiny on the Bounty' takes a fair number of liberties with the story, but the core of its premise remains intact. Set at the twilight of the 18th century, the HMS Bounty is dispatched to Tahiti in an attempt to cultivate the island's native breadfruit as a food source for Jamaican slaves. Smirking First Mate Fletcher Christian immediately grates on the nerves of William Bligh, a seasoned officer who wildly overcompensates as he takes command of a ship for the first time. William Bligh is so eager to impress his superiors that he obsesses over every inch of forward momentum, and when the ship fails to approach the sort of progress he anticipated, the Captain risks the lives of his crew by taking a legendarily treacherous detour. William Bligh's gambit proves to be a miserable failure, and as he reverts to his previous course, the time lost only adds to his cruelty. An accusation of theft by a crewman deserved or not, is answered with two dozen lashes. Punishments for more serious offenses, however ultimately inconsequential, cost his victims their lives.
The Bounty eventually does arrive in Tahiti, though their late arrival comes at a poor time for the breadfruit, and they're forced to stay on the island until the plants are once again able to make the journey to Jamaica. During those idyllic months, Fletcher Christian falls for a Polynesian princess and the rest of the crew, save the morally indignant William Bligh, eagerly indulge in the natives' passion for free love. Bligh seems to be the only man among them eager to leave. In an attempt to make up for those many months of delays, Bligh has twice the necessary number of breadfruit specimen loaded on-board, and even on a ship as sprawling as the Bounty, too much of one thing means a lack of another. These thousand plants demand more water than the ship has to offer, and deciding that the needs of the breadfruit outweigh those of his men; Bligh institutes an absurdly cruel method of rationing fresh water to the crew. Take a second glance at the film's title if you can't guess the turn the plot takes from there.
Much of the success of 'Mutiny on the Bounty' can be attributed, naturally, to Marlon Brando, his Fletcher Christian isn't exactly the dashing officer Clark Gable portrayed; as William Bligh snidely describes him, Fletcher Christian is a bit of a fop. Marlon Brando's portrayal of a preening aristocrat runs deeper than his manner may suggest on the surface. There's a persistent sense that Fletcher Christian's behaviour is merely an affectation; that he dons silk nightcaps and slyly provokes William Bligh simply because he knows he can get away with it. Fletcher Christian grudgingly supports William Bligh for much of the film, making his discontent known but ultimately obeys orders as an officer in His Majesty's Navy should, and the First Mate snaps at the crew whenever they dare speak ill of the Captain. It's a rank that demands respect, and a ship without order cannot hope to function. William Bligh's cruelty takes a toll on Christian, but the pensive First Mate internalizes much of his frustration. The inevitable mutiny isn't portrayed as an act of heroism, and Fletcher Christian seizes command as a man defeated, in stark contrast to the crew's elation at William Bligh's ousting. William Bligh is undoubtedly the villain of the piece, but 'Mutiny on the Bounty' takes care to ensure that the Bounty isn't manned by a crew of haloed martyrs. The most compelling villains are typically those with the moral certainty that their deplorable actions are wholly justified, and cruel though William Bligh's decisions so often are, he's never portrayed as anything less than human. I was still able to understand why he reacted as he did, and I'm left with the sense that Marlon Brando's Fletcher Christian felt much the same way.
The film's dialogue is consistently sharp throughout. It deftly blends in just the right amount of humour, such as Fletcher Christian's feigned ignorance as the stodgy captain implores him to sleep with the Tahitian king's daughter. Most memorable are the incisive exchanges between William Bligh and the mutinous Fletcher Christian. One standout moment comes during the Captain's final moments on the ship as Fletcher Christian returns to him his preferred means of exacting punishment, a whip. "Take your flag with you." "I don't need a flag, Mr. Fletcher Christian," William Bligh replies. "Unlike you, I still have a country." ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ benefits as much from its epic scope as it does from Charles Lederer's screenplay. The Bounty isn't merely ornate set dressing but a character in her own right, and the hand-crafted, elaborate full-scale replica was built so fully seaworthy that it made the long voyage to the South Pacific for filming on her own power. That sense of authenticity carries over to the sequences in Tahiti, boasting an exotic beauty that a more convenient stand-in couldn't hope to replicate. For a three hour film, the pacing is surprisingly nimble, and there wasn't a moment throughout where I felt the least bit bored. Though this adaptation of ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ doesn't possess nearly the same power and resonance of the 1935 film, I greatly enjoyed the film when I first encountered it, and that high opinion hasn't dimmed ever since.
The onslaught of bad press did nothing to help the success of ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ once it finally opened in the fall of 1962 to mostly negative reviews. Marlon Brando's career took a blow as his reputation as a troublemaker was sealed, even if many still considered him the world's greatest living actor. Brando's personal life also changed because of Mutiny on the Bounty. He fell in love with the beauty of Tahiti and subsequently purchased a series of islands where he made his home for many years. He also fell in love with his stunning co-star Tarita who plays his island girlfriend Maimiti. The two embarked on a long-term relationship that produced two children, son Tehotu and daughter Cheyenne. Interestingly, the Bounty ship replica used in the film was purchased in 1986 by Ted Turner when he acquired the M-G-M film library. He later donated it to the Fall River Chamber Foundation, which established the Tall Ship Bounty Foundation. In February of 2001 it was acquired by the Tall Ship Bounty Organization LLC in New England, which continues to use the Bounty to teach and preserve the maritime skills once used on the great ships of its day.
Blu-ray Video Quality – This presentation of ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ is sourced from a 35mm reduction rather than the original 65mm elements. That alone would be a crushing disappointment, but even by those lowered standards, 'Mutiny on the Bounty' falls short. Warner Bros. has ravaged everything the least bit filmic that may have otherwise been visible on this Blu-ray disc, and the result is so heavily filtered and processed that Mutiny on the Bounty looks as if it could've been shot on video. Every trace of film grain has been smeared away, and most of the fine detail has been wiped away along with it. Despite the staggering resolution that the original 65mm elements have to offer, ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ pales in comparison to most of the classic films that have been issued on Blu-ray. Honestly, this excessively soft and heavily filtered presentation can't even hold a candle to the black and white adaptation of ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ from 1935. The ‘Mutiny on the Bounty' has colours that are generally robust, particularly the blues of the sky and sea as well as the lush, tropical hues as the Bounty drops anchor at Tahiti. There are a fair number of moments when I felt as if its palette should be more vibrant still, again not quite managing to impress as other large format releases have on Blu-ray, but I can't say I was disappointed. This re-master of ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ is also entirely free of any wear or damage whatsoever, and the compression doesn't buckle under the weight of the film's three hour-plus runtime.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – This release of 'Mutiny on the Bounty' boasts a six-channel, 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. By and large, it sounds terrific. Bronislau Kaper's OSCAR® nominated score roars from every speaker, sounding impressively rich and full-bodied. I'm sure it goes without saying that the lower frequencies aren't as tight and focused as a more recent production would likely be, but the subwoofer certainly makes its presence known. The surround channels are also filled with the sounds of crashing waves, creaking planks of wood, and chanting islanders. Admittedly, the film's dialogue shows some strain, and a mild hiss rears its head at times, but such concerns are easily dismissed. ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ can boast a terrific soundtrack on this Blu-ray. Also included are German and Spanish dubs, both presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The impressively thorough selection of subtitles features streams in English SDH, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: After the Cameras Stopped Rolling: The Journey of the Bounty [480i] [24:00] This documentary opens with an explanation of why the ship was so meticulously built by hand to be fully sea-worthy and how it served as a floating film studio during production. The Bounty's current owner and crew go on to explain the once-dismal state of the ship, which was initially slated to be torched until Marlon Brando intervened. The documentary also explores the costly restoration process and the ship's stint at the 1964 World's Fair in New York.
Special Feature: The Story of HMS Bounty [480i] [29:00] The first of the disc's four vintage documentary is “The Story of HMS Bounty,” and much of this footage will look familiar to anyone who's already given "After the Cameras Stopped Rolling" a look. Its focus is primarily on the craftsmanship of the Bounty, although it also devotes a good bit of time to the voyage to Tahiti and the nature of the shoot. The Bounty was originally known as collier Bethia, built in 1784 at the Blaydes shipyard in Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, England. The vessel was purchased by the Royal Navy for £1,950 on 23 May 1787, refit, and renamed the Bounty. The ship was relatively small at 215 tons, but had three masts and was full-rigged. After conversion for the breadfruit expedition, she was equipped with four 4-pounder (1.8 kg) cannons and ten swivel guns.
Special Feature: The Bounty's Voyage to St. Petersburg [480i] [25:00] The title tells you most everything you'd likely want to know, as this vintage documentary documents the Bounty's journey as she makes her way down the Eastern seaboard to Florida. The Bounty was commissioned by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio for the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty. She was the first large vessel built from scratch for a film using historical sources. Previous film vessels were fanciful conversions of existing vessels. The Bounty was built to the original ship's drawings from files in the British Admiralty archives, and in the traditional manner by more than 200 workers over an 8-month period at the Smith and Rhuland shipyard in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. To assist film-making and carry production staff, her waterline length was increased from the original 86 to 120 feet (26.2 to 36.6 m) and the beam was also increased. The rigging was scaled up to match. While built for film use, she was fully equipped for sailing because of the requirement to move the ship a great distance to the filming location.
Special Feature: The Bounty: Star Attraction at the New York World's Fair [480i] [7:00] This promotional film takes a look at the Bounty's appearance at the 1964 World's Fair in New York. Was it at the DuPont Pavilion? Why was the bench still warm? Who had been there? Will we get the full explanation?
Special Feature: HMS Bounty Sails Again! Millions Cheer Famous Ship on Exciting Voyage [480i] [8:00] The last of these vintage documentaries documents shows the theatrical release of the ship's promotional tour for ‘Mutiny on the Bounty.’
Special Feature: Prologue and Epilogue [480i] [6:00] A bookending framing story with botanist William Brown was excised from the film before its theatrical release, and although it was reinstated for a single airing on ABC Television in America, this footage had for the better part of four decades gone unseen. This Blu-ray disc includes this prologue and epilogue at an aspect ratio of 2.00:1 or so, and the footage runs around six minutes in total, it's not offered in high definition.
Theatrical Trailer  [480i] [4:00] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for ‘Mutiny on the Bounty,’ but sadly only shown in a standard definition image.
Finally, Warner Home Video delivers a respectable presentation for 'The Mutiny on the Bounty' and a dramatization that takes some liberties with history but that proves to be a solid piece of entertainment. The special features package is mildly disappointing for its over-emphasis on the Bounty prop replica; details about the actual production would have made for a more interesting set of extras, and a stronger overall release. For those who own the 2006 inferior NTSC DVD, the Blu-ray should prove to be a totally compelling upgrade, given the right price point. That is why I am so proud to add this to my Blu-ray Collection, as it is an awesome epic film and will give you endless hours of viewing pleasure. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom