Which film version of Mutiny on the Bounty does Trump prefer (extra points if a reporter asks this during the COVID presser). The Mel Gibson version? Or is he only doing this to divert attention from the fictional Caine Mutiny.

The President may be referring to the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty. Trump would have been around 16 when it was released. It features the cruel and dishonest Captain Bligh whose actions lead the crew to overthrow him.

As some Twitter users were quick to point out, Trump’s analogy places him in the role of the notoriously unpopular captain.

Trump’s tweet was most likely a response to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Democrat slammed Trump’s claim to ‘total authority’ on reopening states and threatened to sue if he tried.

“If he thinks he’s going to force this state — or any state, for that matter — to do something that is reckless or irresponsible that could endanger human life, literally,” Cuomo said on Monday.

On Tuesday morning, Cuomo went a step further, comparing Trump to a tyrannical king. Ironically, Trump has now compared himself to another vicious leader.

“He basically declared himself King Trump, right?” Cuomo said.

“And all that annoying federal state back-and-forth that our Founding Fathers went through, he just disregarded that and said ‘total authority.’ Then, we could’ve had King George Washington.”


“in the end it was class or relations or patronage that made the difference.”

Actually, in the book, Maryk isn’t tried on a charge of mutiny.
The Judge Advocate feels that it would be too difficult to prove a charge, for the simple reason that Maryk invoked an article in Navy Regulations. (Namely Article 184, which allowed for an unauthorized relief of a captain under certain circumstances). As well, after the relief, Maryk continued to treat Queeg with respect as he was still a ranking officer. That made a mutiny charge hard to stand up. Thus, he was charged with conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline (it’s described as a catch-all charge, for cases that fall between cracks of other charges). The stipulation is that he misapplied Article 184 in relieving Queeg as the circumstances did not merit the relief. Thus, Greenwald’s line of attack is to prove that Queeg was sufficiently incompetent (if not mentally ill) that Article 184 was legally justified.

The two cases cannot be compared -even allowing that one is fictional. In The Caine Mutiny, an incompetent captain was relieved by his second-in-command, through an obscure passage in the regulation, for the purpose of ensuring the ship’s safety. In Mutiny on the Bounty, a harsh -albeit skilled and highly competent- captain is victim of a crew uprising led by the Master’s Mate (Fletcher Christian). The ultimate goal was for the crew to escape to an idyllic life in Tahiti.


In addition to many books and articles about the mutiny, in the 20th century five feature films were produced. The first was a 1916 silent Australian film, subsequently lost.[204] The second, also from Australia, titled In the Wake of the Bounty (1933), was the screen debut of Errol Flynn in the role of Christian.[204] The impact of this film was overshadowed by that of the MGM version, Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), based on the popular namesake novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, and starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable as Bligh and Christian, respectively. The film’s story was presented, says Dening, as “the classic conflict between tyranny and a just cause”;[205] Laughton’s portrayal became in the public mind the definitive Bligh, “a byword for sadistic tyranny”.[203]

The two subsequent major films, Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) with Trevor Howard and Marlon Brando, and The Bounty (1984) with Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson, largely perpetuated this image of Bligh and that of Christian as tragic hero. The latter film added a level of homoeroticism to the Bligh–Christian relationship.[205]

In 1998, in advance of a BBC documentary film aimed at Bligh’s rehabilitation, the respective descendants of the captain and Christian feuded over their contrary versions of the truth. Dea Birkett, the programme’s presenter, suggested that “Christian versus Bligh has come to represent rebellion versus authoritarianism, a life constrained versus a life of freedom, sexual repression versus sexual licence.”[206]

A musical based on the novel Mutiny on the Bounty played at the Piccadilly Theatre for 16 months from 1985.[207]


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