In the Wake of the Bounty (1933)




Director:     Charles Chauvel. 

Starring:     Arthur Greenaway (Narrator), Mayne Lynton (Lieut. Bligh), Errol Flynn (Fletcher Christian), Victor Gouriet (Michael Byrne - The 'Bounty's' Blind Fiddler), John Warwick (Midshipman Young).

not only what happened on the Bounty, but what also happened afterwards


Spoiler Warning:  plot lines revealed. 

The first half-hour of this one-hour film/documentary is the retelling of the famous Mutiny on the Bounty story.  The picture quality is very poor as one might expect from a cheap 1933 film.  And the story is told is a rather straight-forward fashion which makes it pretty boring.  With less than a half-hour, they don't have the time for any fancy concepts like "character development". 

An old blind sailor in a waterfront drinking house in England in 1810 tells the curious the "real" story of the mutiny on the Bounty.  Captain Bligh is a no good bastard who is mean as hell.  He refers to his crew as a "bunch of thieving jelly-fish".  He virtually starves his crew and then get upset when they fight over the little food that is provided. 

They go around the Horn and arrive in Tahiti.  They stay there for 6 months gathering breadfruit plants. 

The crew receives a very warm welcome from the natives.  The men are especially pleased when the semi-nude women (their upper bodies only semi-hidden by flower necklaces.)  (But you don't really see much because of the poor picture quality.)  The men develop very strong bonds with many of the native women.  Because Captain Bligh is so mean and the native women so attractive, Fletcher Christian  leads a mutiny.  They put Captain Bligh with some of his faithful in a boat and set him loose on the open ocean to sail his way to safety or death. 

Fletcher Christian, eight of his mates, nine native men and ten native women sail aboard the ship eventually landing on a rugged little island that became known as Pitcairn Island (southeast of Tahiti).       

For the next half-hour the emphasis is on re-tracing what happened to Fletcher Christian and his mutineers.  A film crew takes pictures of the island and its inhabitants.  There are some 52 families on the island, most of whom are related to the nine mutineers who settled on Pitcairn Island.  We get to see the place where Fletcher Christian was killed and the grave of the last mutineer to die, John  Adams (who served as a minister to the settlers).  Then we get to see a number of the relatives of Fletcher Christian and some of the other mutineers.  The families speak a language of Tahiti and broken English.  This part was much more interesting than the story of the Bounty itself.  It was interesting seeing the Island and its residents. 


Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.




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