Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Reel 50

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Lewis Milestone’s MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY, which starred Marlon Brando, Richard Harris, and Trevor Howard.
The film, while not very successful, holds a place in history for being the first movie shot with the Ultra Panavision 70 Widescreen format (a new widescreen format at the time), and for being one of the first filmed in the South Pacific. It is also known for adding to the legend of Marlon Brando, who effectively took over directing duties and was blamed for the film falling behind schedule and over its budget.

More noteworthy is that MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY’s 50th anniversary also falls just after the loss of the film’s centerpiece, the full-size working replica of the Bounty.

The Bounty was the first large vessel built from the ground-up for a film using historical resources. After filming, she was scheduled to be burned, but Brando protested, and the ship was saved. After a short career as a tourist attraction, she went back to the movies; used during the filming of TREASURE ISLAND (1989) with Charlton Heston, and eventually the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films.

In late October of this year, just a few weeks before MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY’s anniversary, Bounty sank in rough seas while trying to sail away from Hurricane Sandy. Going down with the ship was her long-time captain, Robin Walbridge.
The loss of such an important piece of film history is insignificant to the loss of human life. It is safe to say that Captain Walbridge understood Bounty’s importance, and also understand what an old sailing ship really is. To paraphrase a certain fictional ship Captain; A ship is not just sails and a keel. That’s what a ship needs. But what it really is, is freedom.



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