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Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, and starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable, 1935’s MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY ($35) is one of the most enduring classics of the cinema. Based on the novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY tells the 18th century story of tyranny and rebellion on the high seas. MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY recounts an ill-fated voyage of British seamen on course to Tahiti to secure a cargo of Breadfruit trees for the West Indies. Captain William Bligh (Charles Laughton) is the abusive and cruel commanding officer of the HMS Bounty, whose ill treatment of the crew, as well as many of the officers, ultimately leads to his undoing. Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable) is Bligh’s first officer, a man of integrity and fairness, who initially defends Bligh, but is ultimately driven to his tipping point by the captain’s constant abuse of the men under his command.

With assistance from the men who have suffered under abuse under Bligh’s tyrannical command, Christian seizes the Bounty, while setting the captain and his supporters adrift in a small boat thousands of miles from the nearest port. Despite his lack of humanity, Bligh proves himself a brilliant seaman and is able navigate his small launch back to the safety of dry land. Meanwhile, Christian and the men of the Bounty settle back on Tahiti for a number of years… that is until a British ship comes in search of the mutineers. Both Charles Laughton and Clark Gable were nominated for Best Actor for their performances in MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (as was Franchot Tone who portrayed Midshipman Roger Byam), and it is upon the strength Laughton and Gable’s performances that MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY continues to be as riveting now as it was in 1935. Also, MGM’s superb production values continue to enhance the spectacle. The cast of MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY also features Herbert Mundin, Eddie Quillan, Dudley Digges, Donald Crisp, Henry Stephenson, Francis Lister, Spring Byington, Movita, Mamo Clark, Byron Russell, Percy Waram, David Torrence, John Harrington, Douglas Walton and Ian Wolfe.

Warner Home Video has made MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.37:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p black and white presentation is utterly superb and wonderfully film like. MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY maintains a noticeable grain structure throughout the course of its presentation, which appears rich and superbly textured. Arthur Edeson’s wonderful cinematography truly benefits from high definition re-mastering. Boasting a decidedly crisp and beautifully defined image, this is the absolute best that MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY has ever appeared in the home venue. Blacks are inky, while the whites appear pure. Contrast and grayscale are excellent, with plenty of nuance being readily apparent in the image. The elements from which MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY has been transferred appear very clean, with only modest blemishes and a few scratches being the only signs of age.

MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Considering that MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY is seventy-five years old, the sound quality is commendable. Certainly, there are decided limitations to the fidelity, especially at the top and bottom ends of the frequency range, but the track genuinely holds its own. As a result of the lossless encode, Herbert Stothart’s music never comes across as overly thin or brittle. Most instances of background hiss and surface noise have been cleaned up, thereby leaving the track with a fairly smooth sonic quality. Dialogue is crisply rendered and generally easy to understand. French and Spanish language tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as, the extras. A nine-minute Featurette, Pitcairn Island Today is included, as is Newsreel Footage of MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY winning the Best Picture Academy Award. Theatrical Trailers for the 1935 & 1962 version of MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY, close the standard extras. MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY features book styled packaging that contains thirty-six pages of photos and production notes.

As thoroughly entertaining as it was in 1935, MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY is a genuine cinema classic that has been beautifully rendered in high definition. Very highly recommended.


Mutiny On The Bounty [Blu-ray Book] (1935)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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