Art Vs Commerce: Beginnings (20s/30s)


Back half of the 30s, everyone! We can do this! Especially since audiences and Oscar voters got a lot more simpatico for a while, starting with…

The Joint Champion

When we talk about Hollywood being addicted to remakes, we need to understand that this problem goes back further than you think. Wizard of Oz was a remake. Brewster’s Millions was a remake. And there have been Mutiny on the Bounty movies with both Marlon Brando and Mel Gibson, but neither of them won Oscars or ruled the box office so we’re talking about this one.

Clark Gable is Fletcher Christian, the first mate who starts the mutiny against the cruel Captain Bligh (Charles Laughton), and damn he has charm. I know I’m a human lifetime late to this party but Clark Gable was a hell of an actor, in a 30s way. Like, his style would probably seem incredibly fake opposite Dustin Hoffman, but Dustin Hoffman wasn’t doing movies in the 30s, so Gable’s pretty great here. Anyway, Laughton’s Bligh is so over-the-top cruel to his crew that even career King’s Navy man Fletcher Christian turns on him and runs off to live in Tahiti, and also the admiralty in England decide “Yeah, Bligh screwed that up, we gotta make some rule changes here.” It works, it’s a solid movie, shame that the opening text crawl gave the whole plot away.

Charles Laughton would go on to play Captain Kidd in a movie of the same name, something he apparently did well enough that his Captain Kidd met Abbot and Costello in a movie by that (approximate) name.

Anyhoo here’s a Twitter thread about my reactions, many of which have to do with breadfruit…

And here’s a Kids in the Hall sketch for reasons.

And Rotten Tomatoes Says: With an adjusted score of 101.871%, Mutiny on the Bounty comes in at 37/93, making it just barely the highest-ranked boat-based movie on the list.

What Would Yancey Cravat Do: “It’s over,” said Yancey, his arm outstretched. Bligh opened his mouth to argue, but fell mute under Yancey’s gaze, and quietly handed over the captain’s hat.

Other Events in Film

  • Judy Garland signs a contract with MGM. The film Judy implies this wasn’t for the best.
  • This is where I found out Richard Pryor’s Brewster’s Millions was a remake.

Next Page: I shouldn’t have blown my “rough beast slouches to Bethlehem” reference so early

Author: danny_g

Danny G, your humble host and blogger, has been working in community theatre since 1996, travelling the globe on and off since 1980, and caring more about nerd stuff than he should since before he can remember. And now he shares all of that with you.

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