MovieChat Forums > Mutiny on the Bounty (1936) Discussion > Movie might have accurate take on Bligh

Movie might have accurate take on Bligh


Sir John Barrow was an English diplomat who served as Second Secretary of the Admiralty from 1804 to 1844. Barrow encourged Arctic exploration and the Barrow Strait, Point Barrow, and Barrow, Alaska are all named after him. He had intimate knowledge of the Royal Navy and its practices. The fact is one would be hard pressed to find a better expert.

In 1831, Sir John Barrow published THE EVENTFUL HISTORY OF THE MUTINY AND PIRATICAL SEIZURE OF HMS BOUNTY

Barrow has this conclusion about Bligh--

"The melancholy effects which tyrannical conduct, harsh and opprobrious language, ungovernable passion, and a worrying and harassing temper, on the part of naval commanders, seldom fail to produce on the minds of those subject to their capricious and arbitrary command, are strongly exemplified in the cause and conseqences of the mutiny in the Bounty."

***I have also been reading the original documents. The testimony of his officers and this book show that the evaluation of Bligh as a bad captain was not the product of a 1930's novel and movie, but indeed the judgement of those in a position to know in his own time. And I am not at all certain that the revisionists have anything like the credentials Barrow brings to the table as a judge of Bligh's conduct.

****And by the way, several incidents in this movie, such as a midshipman being left aloft for 8 hours in a storm, Bligh accusing underlings of stealing cheese when it was delivered to his house, etc, are mentioned in this book.

*****I think the valid criticism of this movie was not that it trashed Bligh, but that Christian was perhaps presented in too positive a light.

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solid stuff. agree.


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