Sunday, May 13, 1984
The Michigan Daily
History repeats itself in 'Bounty'
By Susan Makuch
THE HMS BOUNTY has had an
interesting history both on and off
the screen. What many viewers of the
past two Mutiny on the Bounty pictures
tend to forget is that the Bounty really
existed and its crew really did mutiny
in 1789. The sadistic Captain Blugh was
not a figment of some deranged
Hollywood screenwriter's imagination.
But in true Hollywood tradition, the
makers of The Bounty didn't want to let
a good horse die. Screenwriter Robert
Bolt (Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago)
has resurrected the age-old tale and
molded it into a very different story.
Originally, when Frank Lloyd made
his "Bounty" statement in the 1935 Clark
Gable-Charles Laughton version, Cap-
tain Bligh was unabashedly the tyran-
nical villan - Fletcher Christian, of
course, being the hero. The Marlon
Brando version of 1962 focused upon the
same theme. So Bolt's courage in
revising the story by making Bligh a
more human, passionate character
takes some getting used to for the
seasoned Bounty viewer.
Once we become acquainted with this
new version, however, it's easy to ap-
preciate Anthony Hopkins as the in-
famous captain and Mel Gibson as his
once-trusted friend Fletcher Christian.
Director Roger Donaldson (Smash
Palace) does a fine job with the com-
bining the roughness of sea life with the
tranquility of the Tahitian village that
briefly becomes home to the Bounty's
crew. He creates a psychological bat-
tle between Bligh and Christian that
allows the viewer to decide which man
is really at fault. '
The flashback effect of Bligh's court--
martial provides an interesting new
avenue for the aged story. Hopkins
reveals the uncertainty of Bligh's
character through his retelling of the
tragic events that led his crew to
mutiny. Hopkins, who has displayed a
Elvis Presley-'The First Live
It is fitting that Elvis Presley should
merit a rock 'n' roll canonization
through tribute albums. So, the inten-
tion of Elvis: The First Live Recor-
dings is virtuous, but this collection's
leanness of material and poor sound
just doesn't do the job.
Sadly, many connect the name Elvis
to an adipose Las Vegas entertainer
who was a smoldering of the fire he on-
ce was. Even though he was a tad too
big for his britches (literally) you had
to admire the spirit he displayed as he
managed to squeeze out a few more
salacious swerves from his notorious
Forget that show-biz Presley because
Elvis: The First Live Recordings
chronicles the singer at his rawest and
most innocent. In was back in the days
when he actually strummed the guitar
around his neck instead of just keeping
a beat by patting his hand on it. It was
also in the days when his hips seemed to
generate their own source of energy by
Mel Gibson (left) and Anthony Hopkins (right) clash forces as Fletcher Christian and Captain Blight in the latest remake of
'Mutiny on the Bounty.'
superior acting talent in films such as displays the raw energy that makes with the calming music of Vang
Magic, veered from the stereotypical him so effective on screen. (Chariots of Fire), no one leaves
Bligh portrayal by emphasising the The innate differences between Bligh Bounty without the urge to returr
ambiguity of the situation. Bligh did and Christian are emphasized when paradise - not even Fletc
have his sadistical moments, but he Christian takes the time to learn the Christian.
also had human feelings that oc- native language of the tribe with whom It's useless to think that ev
casionally surfaced. they are staying - something Bligh Hollywood classic can be remade ef
Mel Gibson does a successful job as blatantly ignores. tively. But the attempts made with
Fletcher Christian, a somewhat unam- Arthur Ibbetson, as director of Bounty provide hope that not ev
bitious man who almost accidentally photography, creates a kinship between good story is doomed to the archi
becomes the leader of the mutiny. Gib- the audience and the characters. The Talented creators can breathe lifei
son conveys the sensitivity of a man beautiful tones of the tropical Tahitian any old movie.
who merely wants to survive. As paradise would make fantastic adver-
Christian leads the mutiny, Gibson tising footage for the islands. Combined
S e oftbn =t/,0
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his then-obscene gyrations.
He wielded a hearty repertoire of
songs flaunting the roots of rockabilly.
Elvis spiritedly demonstrated he youth-
ful fervor that is the essence of rock 'n'
This is the essential soul of Elvis
Presley I hoped was captured in The
First Live Recordings. Unfortunately,
this album is merely a teaser. With a
scant 12 minutes of actual music on the
entire record it is impossible to achieve
a complete and satisfactory grasp of
These recordings are taken from a
weekly performance and radio show
called ''The Louisiana Hayride" that
Elvis appeared on in 1955-56.
Being that Elvis is his most un-
polished at this point, the quality of
recording is about as clean as a bootleg
taken from a second rate tape recorder.
But Elvis turns a bluesy tune called "I
Wanna Play House With You" into an
upbeat rockabilly stomp that is a close
cousin to "That's All Right Momma."
He follows up with a standard rocker,
"Maybelline." He shoots the Chuck
Berry classic up with a driving version
that melds his Mississippi dialect with
some brash rock 'n' roll shouts.
The flip side begins with "That's All
Right Momma," his nimble voice
pulsates through the tune like no one
The finale is the Elvis anthem,
"Hound Dog". Elvis flourishes this ver-
sion of the song with style and strength.
He adds a twist at the tail end as he
slows it down into a gritty, bluesy ren-
dering that lingers on your memory
long after the needle is lifted.
If impressions of Elvis' hokey movies
and Las Vegas stints prevail, then The
First Live Recordings is important-it
reminds us of his roots. But I'd have to
suggest superior examples of his great
rockabilly, like Elvis' Sun Sessions or
his first album titled simply, Elvis
Presley. The First Live Recordings can
be fun, but it just whets your appetite
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