The big MGM version of 1935, produced by Irving Thalberg at the height of his boy wonderfulness. As with most Thalberg projects (the director of record was Frank Lloyd, but he barely matters), it's tainted by a fair amount of middlebrow stuffiness, but it's a fleet piece of storytelling and serves to enshrine one of the great ham performances of all time, Charles Laughton's Captain Bligh. You have to admire Clark Gable's wisdom, too, in realizing that the only way to play against Laughton's madly detailed, baroque creation was to be as simple and sturdy as possible. With Franchot Tone (who gets the worst of the film's rhetorical passages), Donald Crisp, Eddie Quillan, Ian Wolfe, Henry Stephenson, and an exotic beauty billed as “Movita.” 132 min.
By Dave Kehr