Retelling the saga of The Bounty (1984) + Take Me to Pitcairn (2013)

July 9, 2015 | By



Twilight Time’s Blu-ray release of Roger Donaldson’s filming of The Bounty (1984) is the third of several film versions (which I’m slowing crossing a master list), and probably the most satisfying, since Anthony Hopkins’ William Bligh is less pouty and shrill, and Mel Gibson’s Fletcher Christian is more of a youth overcome by extraordinary events and circumstances.

Preferring the 1984 version to the 1962 Brando or 1935 Clark Gable films doesn’t take anything away from those efforts because they’re also indicative of their times, just as a new retelling had to offer something fresh – more truth, more facts, less melodrama, and more period accuracy.

I love all three for various reasons: Gable and Laughton are a great match in MGM’s big broad production with dynamic visuals, score, and editing, whereas the Brando and Trevor Howard version is massive in visual scope, but there’s something refreshing in seeing less clichés and starchy archetypes, stunning location cinematography, and a Vangelis score that still suits the film, giving it a brooding quality during the darkest and subtlest moments of conflict.

Bounty1984_BRThere’s also more conflicts at play in the 1984 film – Daniel Day-Lewis is really the de facto villain, being smarmy, power-tripping, and a weasel as Bligh’s former first mate – but there’s no denying the power of the 1962 film with its extraordinary budget, explosive colour, and rhapsodic score by Bronislau Kaper (especially his highly dramatic Main Title music).

The beauty of having key three films made almost 30 years apart of each successor is there’s a version for personal preference: thirties romanticism, sixties classicism and Ultra Panavision big screen big sound, and modern revisionism where no one’s perfect, but bad shit just happens.

TakeMeToPitcairn_poster_sI’ve paired The Bounty with a gem of a short by Julian McDonnell, which seemed to have finished the festival circuit and is available on Vimeo and YouTube.

Take Me to Pitcairn (2013) has the director journeying to the remote isle where Christian and his fellow mutineers escaped, settled, and died. It’s one of the most isolated rocks in the world, and there’s only one way to access it: by boat, and bloody carefully.

Coming next: a set of soundtrack reviews, and a few documentaries, including one on a nutty device called a Dreamachine, and two docs by Alex Winter.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Comments are closed.