Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)

Mutiny on the Bounty
Directed by Lewis Milestone
Written by Charles Lederer from the novel by Charles Norhoff and James Norman Hall
1962/USA
Arcola Pictures
First viewing/Netflix rental

Fletcher Christian: [to Captain Bligh] You remarkable pig. You can thank whatever pig god you pray to that you haven’t turned me into a murderer.

Give me the Clark Gable-Charles Laughton version any day.

The story should be familiar to most of my readers.  The HMS Bounty sets sail for Tahiti to collect breadfruit plants for cultivation as a food staple in the Caribbean colonies under the sadistic Captain Bligh (Trevor Howard).  His second in command is the (in this version) effete Mr. Fletcher Christian (Marlon Brando).  At first, Christian turns a blind eye to the Bligh’s cruel treatment and brutal punishment of the crew.

After a horrible voyage, including near sinking when Bligh tries to round Cape Horn, officers and crew spend an idyllic couple of months in Tahiti while collecting breadfruit plants.  Christian has a love affair with the daughter of the chief.

On the return voyage, Bligh decides to ration water to the breadfruit rather than the men and the crew is moved to mutiny.  Christian finally is spurred to action.  He spares Bligh, who vows vengeance as he departs with some loyal crew on a long boat.  The rest of the film covers the mutineers’ careers as international fugitives from justice.  With Richard Harris as the most vocal of the mutineers.

This movie is over three hours long and I watched it in two parts over consecutive days.  It dragged badly for me.  I though it could have been improved by losing over half an hour of its running time.  The second problem for me was Marlon Brando’s performance. Christian is supposed to be the hero and Brando’s prissy take on his character made him quite unappealing.  Give me back my Clark Gable!  Trevor Howard is very good and even less likeable than Charles Laughton in the same role.

Mutiny on the Bounty was nominated for Academy Awards in the categories of Best Picture; Best Cinematography, Color; Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color; Best Film Editing; Best Effects, Special Effects; Best Music, Original Song (“Love Song from Mutiny on the Bounty” (Follow Me)); and Best Music, Score – Substantially Original.

 

Pressure Point (1962)

Pressure Point
Directed by Hubert Cornfield
Written by Hubert Cornfield and S. Lee Pogostin from a short story by Robert M. Lindner
1962/USA
Stanley Kramer Productions
First viewing/Amazon Prime

Doctor: For although psychopaths are a small minority, it seems significant that whenever organized and militant hate exist a psychopath is the leader, and if, for instance, one hundred disgruntled and frustrated individuals fall in line behind one psychopath then, in essence, we are concerned with the actions of one hundred and one psychopaths.

I don’t know what is more heavy-handed in this movie, the race relations part or the Freudian psychology part.

The story is framed by a conversation between a grey-haired prison head of psychiatry, known only in the movie as “Doctor” (Sidney Portier) and a young psychiatrist played by Peter Falk.  The young psychiatrist wants to quit treating a severely racist black inmate. The Doctor talks him out of this by relating the story of his treatment of a severely racist white inmate, known in the movie only as “Patient” (Bobby Darin), twenty years before.

The rest of the story explores the relationship between the Doctor and Patient, with copious flashbacks via hypnosis sequences and otherwise of the Patient’s sad childhood and psychopathic youth and adulthood.  These include the Patient’s ardent support of the German-American Bund, a pre-war White Supremacist organization.  There are plenty of racist tirades as well.

Stanley Kramer was a vocal supporter of many liberal causes, all of which I endorse. However, I have found that he usually drives his points home with the subtlety of a jackhammer.  This movie was no exception.  In fact, it was the most irritating of those I have seen to date.  I seem to disagree with the raters on IMDb on this so your mileage may vary.

Trailer