Mutiny On the Bounty - April 28, 2014

As the loyal readers of the American Treasure Tour blog know, we do what we can to discuss the different pieces in our expansive collection of automatic mechanical music machines, antique cars, movie memorabilia, and many, many other things.  We admit that we tend towards concentrating on the record collection in the Music Room and the plaques in the Toy Box, because there are SO MANY of both.  Today, we return to the latter, to the "Faces of the Tour" series.  Normally, the images in the plaques that hang in the Toy Box are of athletes, actors and musicians.  Today, we are going to talk about a plaque that is different than all the others, because it depicts a scene from a movie:  Mutiny On the Bounty.  There have been a number of interpretations of the story of the mutiny and, because today is the 225th anniversary of the actual mutiny (not the movies), we are going to dedicate the entire blog to this subject.  Crazy, we know.

First, we would like to discuss the historical event.  The mutiny that occurred on April 28th, 1789. It was on a vessel in the British Royal Navy, the HMS Bounty.  The captain of the Bounty was the 32 year-old Lieutenant William Bligh.  His mission was to gather breadfruit plants (the fruit tastes similar to fresh bread, with the texture of potatoes) in Tahiti and transport them to the Caribbean Sea so they could be used to feed enslaved workers there.  The ship made it to Tahiti, but never reached its final destination.  Shortly after the Bounty left Tahiti, eighteen members of the crew mutinied under the leadership of master's mate Fletcher Christian.  Maybe they mutinied because they enjoyed Tahiti and its people too much, or maybe they mutinied because of the way Bligh treated them.  Regardless, they took over the ship and abandoned Bligh in a small launch, or raft, and set him and those who remained loyal to him off in the middle of the ocean before taking the Bounty to Pitcairn Island.  They sank the ship and started their own colony with some of the women and men they had befriended in Tahiti.

Things went better for Bligh than they did for Christian in the long run.  Bligh traveled close to 3,700 nautical miles for 47 days in his little boat with twenty-one loyal seamen, exposed to the elements and with minimal food. It took him over two years to get back to England, but when he did a mission was sent out to retrieve the mutineers.  Only fourteen survivors were located. Christian and the others were allegedly murdered by some of the Tahitian men they settled with, but not after they began families with their Tahitian wives.  Descendants of the mutineers remain on the island to this day.

QUESTION:

Fletcher Christian fathered three children with his Tahitian wife on Pitcairn Island before his mysterious death.  What was the name of his eldest son with his wife Maimiti?

a)  Matthew Quintal

b)  Fletcher, Jr.

c)  Thursday October

d)  William Bligh 

e)  Marigold Lightfoot

Answer Below

THE MOVIES

Books, poems and movies have been made about the mutiny on the Bounty ever since it happened.  (As long as technology allowed.)  The first film to come out dedicated to the story was in 1916, which was directed by Australian director Raymond Longford.  It is considered lost. In 1933, Errol Flynn starred in In the Wake of the Bounty, two years before the famous Oscar-winning Mutiny on the Bounty with Charles Laughton and Clark Gable.  The version considered the least-historically accurate is also the one honored on the American Treasure Tour - and that is the 1962 version, with Trevor Howard as Bligh, and Marlon Brando as Christian.

During filming, actor Marlon Brando essentially took over the role of director, compelling the man assigned to the job, Carol Reed, to be fired and replaced by Lewis Milestone.  Brando's reputation as a difficult, temperamental actor became legendary.  The budget skyrocketed, which contributed to the failure of the film upon its release, and MGM studios almost went under in the backlash.  The good news, though, is that Brando became infatuated with Tahiti during filming.  So much so that he bought the twelve-mile long atoll of Tetiaroa near Tahiti, where he built a resort for himself, as well as a preserve for sea birds and turtles.

It would be twenty-two years before the next interpretation of the mutiny was filmed, in the Anthony Hopkins-Mel Gibson movie simply called The Bounty.  This film also had troubles, including those associated with the heavy drinking of its primary star, Mel Gibson.  (Anthony Hopkins gave up alcohol in 1976.)  Comparatively, this was a much more historically accurate film than the earlier versions, although it too proved a financial disappointment upon its release. It may very well be time for another interpretation to be made....

QUOTE:

Never confuse the size of your paycheck with the size of your talent. - Marlon Brando

ANSWER:  c)  Thursday October.  Christian wanted to avoid any name that reminded him of England.