Mutiny of the Bounty
Australian feature films during the First World War reflected the shifts in public perception. Enthusiasm and patriotism in the first year eventually gave way to cynicism and despair as time passed and casualties mounted. With a growing demand for escapism, film-makers turned to comedy and the romanticised past for inspiration.
Raymond Longford was a prolific and important director of the silent film era of Australian cinema. In 1916 he directed an Australian-New Zealand feature, Mutiny of the Bounty. The plot deals with the 1788 mutiny on HMS Bounty, Captain William Bligh’s journey back to England in a small launch (as seen on this daybill), and the recapture of the mutineers in Tahiti. The cast included notable Australian actors George Cross, Charles Villiers and Lottie Lyell. Maori actors played the Tahitians who greeted the crew. Despite the mood of thrilling adventure, great care was taken with historical accuracy with a fairly balanced portrayal of Captain Bligh and close research of contemporary records, including Bligh’s logbook.
Filming took place in Rotorua, Norfolk Island and Sydney. At the time this was described as ‘probably the most costly production yet made in Australia’. A review from the Perth Sunday Times in 1917 declared ‘that no patriotic Australian should miss the great Australian-made production …its thrilling story, glorious tinted scenes and fine action from the hero down to the natives.’