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"In the Wake of the Bounty" movie on Amazon Prime


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I discovered In the Wake of the Bounty on Amazon Prime TV last night. It's a one-hour long combination documentary made in 1934 of a visit by a film crew to Pitcairn Island in 1930. The documentary of life on Pitcairn Island in 1930 is interspersed with a dramatic portrayal of the mutiny story. I expect it would be of interest to many, and particularly those building Bounty models.

 

It is, of course, in black and white, and filmed 90 years ago, so let's just say it's "dated." The shots of sails in the dramatic segments conflate 20th Century bulk carriers with 18th Century Admiralty practice, but are some of the few contemporary film cuts of real sailing ship practice at the end of the Age of Sail. The production qualities of the dramatic reenactment scenes are amateurish and of no value to modelers, but movie buffs may enjoy watching Errol Flynn in his very first film role. The dramatic segments may also be of historical interest to movie buffs because the movie was made contemporaneously with the introduction of the "Hays" and "Production" Hollywood self-censorship codes and is one of a genre of long-suppressed travelogues and historical movies which served as a excuses to depict somewhat gratuitous nudity. The scenes of Bounty's crew in Tahiti have that quaint "National Geographic porn" quality.  No doubt, the movie's coverage (or un-coverage) of bare breasted Tahitian young ladies no doubt contributed greatly to its box office success. 

 

Seriously, though, the film and interviews of the Pitcairners and their daily lives, including their launching their whaleboats, is very interesting. This was (they claim) the first movie film taken on Pitcairn Island and in 1930 it was still a rather primitive place which had little contact with the outside world. At that time, the oldest people living there were only the grandchildren of the mutineers and original Tahitians themselves, and the local culture was still closely connected with the mutiny events even if all but one of the British mutineers had died of natural causes or been murdered in squabbles and feuds by the time Pitcairn Island's inhabitants were discovered by the Nantucket whaler Topaz 1808.

 

It's available for streaming on Amazon Prime TV at the moment. 

Edited by Bob Cleek
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