Mutiny on the Bounty [Blu-Ray] Lewis Milestone

Mutiny on the Bounty [Blu-Ray] Lewis Milestone
Clocking in at just over three hours (and that's at 1962 pacing), Mutiny on the Bounty is an investment to watch, so hopefully you own a comfortable couch or are willing to take an intermission. Still, it remains worthwhile viewing, delving into the complex psychologies of maintaining power through fear and punishment, and the breaking points inevitable in those endeavours. The film tells the true story of 18th century British colonial ship Bounty, whose Captain, William Bligh (a mean, thin-lipped Trevor Howard), rules the ship with such cruelty that his second officer, Lt. Fletcher Christian (Marlon Brando), orchestrates a mutiny, eventually taking his supporters away to luxurious Tahiti. The Tahitian natives are, of course, flat characters – the tribe's leader is a giggling fool, awed by the sparkle of British wonders like glass and mirrors, and the women on the island seem to derive no greater pleasures than belly-dancing for, tidying up after and giggling with their white visitors. The film is shot in Technicolor, as was all the rage at the time, and the almost excessive richness of the colours translates well to Blu-Ray, giving Lt. Christian's penchant for blood-red satin capes that extra flinch-inducing brightness. The Tahitian landscape is also sharply rendered (the film was shot on location), which effectively conveys the contrast between the drabness of the oppressive brown ship lost in hostile, grey storm waters and the unthinkable hedonism that awaits the tortured crew on that magic island. The film's budget and ambitions are all too obvious in the scale and particularly overwhelming musical score (the beginning is a single title card that announces the "Overture" for four-and-a-half minutes while a rising orchestral score attempts to set the scene for us). The four "vintage" featurettes included on the disc are all pretty much about the same thing: the construction, sailing, tourism and restoration surrounding the actual boat used for the film. Detailed facts and figures are provided: welding, carpentry, how much canvas was used for the sails, how many nails and bolts were needed, what kinds of wood were employed, etc. This could be interesting if you're a set design nerd or a naval history enthusiast of some kind. Speaking of, the ship was actually constructed in Nova Scotia and one of the featurettes was produced by the CBC. Still, the informational minutiae is a bit excessive and the typical viewpoints of the day are hilariously present (the "brown-skinned natives enthusiastically welcomed" the cast and crew). The Blu-Ray also includes a prologue and epilogue cut before the film's theatrical release, though the last thing we need is an explanatory narrative addition to a three-hour film. Still, the extra scenes are worth watching since the true story of the Bounty will always be surrounded by some degree of mystery. (Warner)