On This Date In History The movie we saw was Amazing Grace. It was about the guy who led the struggle to abolish slavery in England. Supposedly, the man who wrote Amazing Grace was his childhood minister. I have my doubts about the history of the movie…you do know that Hollywood takes liberties with history, don’t you? Anyway, there was another story you may have heard of…Mutiny on the Bounty. It was a movie several times. In the 1930′s with Charles Laughton as Captain Bligh and Clark Gable as Fletcher Christian. Then in 1962, they did it again with Trevor Howard as Bligh and a young Marlon Brando as Christian. Then, there was the 1980′s version with Anthony Hopkins as Bligh and Mel Gibson as Christian. Now, I have no idea if Bligh was the coarse, mean guy that Hollywood made him out to be or if Christian was as dashing as the actors who portrayed him. But, on this date in 1789, there really was a Mutiny on the Bounty. The book was written by Charles Nordoff and Norman Hall in 1932. Since it is a novel and was written 150 years after the event, I’m sure there were some liberties taken by the writers. For instance, the narration is provided by a character named Roger Byam. I tried and tried to find out about Roger Byam when I was in high school. Turns out he was invented and was based on a crew member. But, I think the authors did try to stick to the story and used the fictionalized character as a tool to tell the tale. Anyway, It was actually part of a trilogy with the other two being Men Against the Sea and Pitcairn Island. In the real story…William Bligh and 17 crew members were cast off in an open 23 foot boat. In perhaps the greatest tale of seamanship, Bligh, using just a watch and sextant…no charts or maps…navigated over 3600 miles to safety. Only one of the crewman died during the 47 day journey. I think the prevailing theory is that most of the mutineers got killed by natives or accidents or disease. But, the remains of the Bounty were located in 1957 by divers off Pitcairn Island. The guy who found it then advised Brando on how to portray Christian….how some diver of wrecks could know that is beyond me and I’m not sure what was greater: his courage to dive in dangerous waters to find the Bounty or his arrogance to think he could tell Marlon Brando how to act.
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