May 20, 2007

Damning With Faint Praise

A couple weeks ago, I picked up a cheap DVD copy of the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty, the version with Marlon Brando as 1st Lt. Fletcher Christian and Trevor Howard as Capt. Bligh. What struck me as odd, though, was the English-language blurb on the back side of the case. The company that released this disk, Bo Ying, is a Chinese company, and much of the text on the cover is in Chinese. However, it appears that Bo Ying has no native English speakers on their staff, which probably explains why they used the following quotation from some review of the movie instead of another blurb that actually describes, praises and/or sells the movie to the potential customer.

Moral equivocation was a common trait among several of Marlon Brando's characters in the early part of his career, and so it makes good theoretical sense that he would play the role of Fletcher Christian, the tormented first mate aboard the British naval vessel Bounty. But in fact the part is an ill fit for the actor, whose British accent is poor and who never looked quite right in period costume, anyway. Director Lewis Milestone (All Quiet on the Western Front) makes a good-looking and at times (especially during scenes of shipboard cruelties and conflict) compelling movie out of the material, but overall the film just isn't there?

(Wikipedia's entry for the movie)

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