I can't help but compare and contrast with this review a little, as I have just recently watched the 1930s version. I'll try not to compare too much though. I will also try and get it all out of the way right now. There are good and bad things in this film, just as there are in the other film. If there was a way to marry the two verions, it would certainly be a 6 out of 5 stars. Especially in the dialouge. There are gem exchanges in both films - really superb writing. Aside from the core story, there is little about the two films that are the same. Consider that each film is a product of its time, and then watch these two versions side by side. 30 years difference is a lot - not just in technology and style, but also representation. It is especially apparent in the endings of the film, and in the character of Fletcher Christian. Two different things for two very different times.
It is in these differences that I want to dwell, which will in turn lead on to other aspects. First of all the character of Christian (as played by Marlon Brando) I will try to stick to the character himself. In this version he is seen at the beginning as a bit of a fop. A gentlemen, but that is not a compliment here. He seems to be a dandy, and right away this sets him as an odd person. He doesn't seem to belong on the ship at all. This does, of course, gives more of a reason for Captain Bligh to be at odds with him. This Christian is a good man, but more of a dormant one. Obediant in spirit and action, although a little defiant in inuendo. At first, he manages to laugh or charm his way through - just stepping almost over the line at points, again, giving Bligh plenty of reason to dislike him and to continue to do so. It takes a while for him to break out of his courtly shell. You hardly even see him fume, and then all of a sudden Bligh goes too far by kicking something out of his hand and then - boom! - he explodes and it becomes like a tragic course, one thing right after another. It takes goading from his shipmate - which is actually very effective (the man counts out load the dead count to Christian, like a grim reaper) This does something to the character. He no longer is a revolutionary, but a reactionary. Then he broods about it, he struggles about it, and he comes to the conclusion that he must make amends. This is a different man alltogether than the one in the 1930s version. Case in point: in the 1930s, the revolutionary spirit was embraced by the people who were so discontent with the established systems. Bligh was the unfair treatment, the Fletcher was the happy hero. In the 60s version, Bligh is still the same, but Fletcher has become the reluctant criminal with a heart, who eventually realizes that the only way is in compliance to the law. Says something, doesn't it?
Good film. A little long, but good. As far as Art Direction and Production Design goes, it is wonderful. MGM outdid themselves for this. This is the first film to have a historically accurate ship built for the specific purpose of a movie. Shot on location for the most part, so everything has a very authentic look to it. Not to mention beautiful. Especially the sunsets on the islands. Breathtaking.
I like the other version better, but this one is pretty good too.
4 out of 5 stars