When historical facts form a tale which stimulates the imagination, some new light has been shed on the forces which mold men. Such a story is "Mutiny on the Bounty." At many moments we have felt that we knew Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian far better than most of our friends.
Consequently, the story on the screen had to be in tune with our imagination. It had to satisfy our conceptions of these two men and yet possess actual reality. Since it accomplished this, we are thinking of attending "Mutiny on the Bounty" several times.
It was impossible not to loathe and admire Captain Bligh just as much as in the book. From the moment he ordered the flogging of the dead sailor to the instant when he left the court martial, we felt just as strongly as Fletcher Christian. Even during his moments of greatness when he was navigating an open boat 3500 miles out of sight of land, he never lost his sadistic and narrow outlook. Charles Laughton became Captain Bligh.
Although we had never imagined Clark Gable as Christian, he made his performance realistic by reacting as a normal individual when he was torn by his hate for the captain and his sense of duty.
Many of the other characters, the shots of the Bounty under sail, and the land sets are deserving of commendation, but one could keep on for hours. The fact remains that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has brought a great tale of men against men to the screen just about as effectively as did Nordhoff and Hall in their vivid book. That is high tribute to Hollywood.