Carey Wilson

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Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) Review


Good
An especially grandiose production for its era, the first production of Mutiny on the Bounty sailed into history with Charles Laughton as the evil Captain Bligh and Clark Gable as Fletcher Christian, the officer who joined the crew against him. While Mutiny takes an unfortunate 90 minutes to get exciting, its gripping third act makes the movie totally worthwhile. And while Gable is memorable in his role, it's Laughton that owns the show as the despicable captain you can't help but hate.

The film follows the classic book's story faithfully, as Bligh and his men sail for Tahiti (around Africa) in search of breadfruit trees. Eventually they get there, mingle with natives, go primal, and load up the old HMS Bounty. But first officer Fletcher Christian doesn't stand idly by for Bligh's abuse and improprieties. On the way home, Christian rallies the troops against the old boss, plopping him and his loyals on a dinghy and setting them adrift. Torn between the two leaders is midshipman Byam (Franchot Tone), the remainder of the film concerns Bligh's noble fight to survive without rations and with the slightest level of hope, while Christian takes the boat back to Tahiti (where the island women are to die for) and eventually faces court martial back in England. It's an epic adventure that's still imitated today.

Continue reading: Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) Review

Mutiny on the Bounty Review


Good
An especially grandiose production for its era, the first production of Mutiny on the Bounty sailed into history with Charles Laughton as the evil Captain Bligh and Clark Gable as Fletcher Christian, the officer who joined the crew against him. While Mutiny takes an unfortunate 90 minutes to get exciting, its gripping third act makes the movie totally worthwhile. And while Gable is memorable in his role, it's Laughton that owns the show as the despicable captain you can't help but hate.

The film follows the classic book's story faithfully, as Bligh and his men sail for Tahiti (around Africa) in search of breadfruit trees. Eventually they get there, mingle with natives, go primal, and load up the old HMS Bounty. But first officer Fletcher Christian doesn't stand idly by for Bligh's abuse and improprieties. On the way home, Christian rallies the troops against the old boss, plopping him and his loyals on a dinghy and setting them adrift. Torn between the two leaders is midshipman Byam (Franchot Tone), the remainder of the film concerns Bligh's noble fight to survive without rations and with the slightest level of hope, while Christian takes the boat back to Tahiti (where the island women are to die for) and eventually faces court martial back in England. It's an epic adventure that's still imitated today.

Continue reading: Mutiny on the Bounty Review

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) Review


Excellent
Lana Turner - or, more precisely, her legs - are the star of the first film adaptation of James M. Cain's classic novel, released in 1946. Frank Chambers, a restless drifter, arrives in a roadside restaurant run by Nick Smith (Cecil Kellaway). A tube of lipstick drops from the counter and rolls slowly to the feet of Nick's wife Cora (Turner). So begins one of the most lascivious upward pans of '30s and '40s film, climbing up Turner's legs and torso to her lit-from-the-inside golden-tressed face. There's more eroticism in that moment than in most of Bob Rafelson's ill-advised 1981 remake, which pretended to be a sexier, lustier adaptation.

The plot of Postman is, indeed, sexier than usual - the perceived naughtiness of Cain's original, excellent novel got it a "Banned in Boston" stamp. But toned down for the screen, Postman is mainly an excellent noir that's fueled by one of John Garfield's best performances. As Frank and Cora fall deeper into their romance, they begin to plan doing away with Nick. The first attempt sadly and (thanks to a clumsy shot of an electrocuted cat) hilariously fails to take, but the second works out ghoulishly. From there, the story becomes a noir classic of shifting loyalties, betrayal, and paranoia. Few actors of the time were as good as portraying the decent man in a conundrum, but there's something about the combination of Garfield's mannish broad shoulders and childish eyes that make him perfect for noirs. Body and Soul is his finest hour, but Postman is worth Garfield as well.

Continue reading: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) Review

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