Name three semi-respected films that are really worth seeing for their first and second acts, but which collapse and sink when their third act kicks in. I could assemble a list but the ’62 Mutiny on the Bounty would be at the top of it. It’s pretty good all through Part One and up to the mutiny in Part Two. But the film turns anemic when Trevor Howard and his allies are put into the long boat, and then it completely dies when Marlon Brando and the mutineers reach Pitcairn Island.
Please name others. There must be hundreds. I would try to think of more but I have to drive out to IKEA again.
Posted on 7.12.11: “Say what you will about the ’62 Bounty — historical inaccuracies and inventions, Marlon Brando‘s affected performance as Fletcher Christian, the weak final act. The fact remains that this viscerally enjoyable, critically-dissed costumer is one of the the most handsome, lavishly-produced and beautifully scored films made during Hollywood’s fabled 70mm era, which lasted from the mid ’50s to the late ’60s.
“Roger Donaldson‘s The Bounty (’84) is probably a better Bounty flick (certainly in terms of presenting the historical facts), but the ’62 version has more oompah swagger. It has a flamboyant ‘look at all the money we’re pissing away’ quality that’s half-overbaked and half-absorbing. It’s pushing a kind of toney, big-studio vulgarity that insists upon your attention.
“And the ’62 Bounty definitely has first-rate dialogue and editing, and three or four scenes that absolutely get the pulse going (leaving Portsmouth, rounding Cape Horn, the mutiny, the burning ship).
“You could argue that this Bounty is only nominally about what happened in 1789 aboard a British cargo ship in the South Seas. And you could also say it’s more about early ’60s Hollywood than anything written by Nordhoff & Hall. It’s mainly a portrait of colliding egos and mentalities — a couple of big-dick producers (Aaron Rosenberg was one), several screenwriters, at least two directors (Lewis Milestone, Carol Reed) and one full-of-himself movie star (Brando) — trying to serve the Bounty tale in ’60, ’61 and ’62, and throwing all kinds of money and time and conflicting ideas at it, and half-failing and half-succeeding.
“Seen in this context, I think it’s a trip.”