Gold Bounty Mutiny

By Mutiny’s end, hair-on-their chest, grog-drinking men fight one another with swords, swing from ropes, and do those other Hollywood things. None of it is unexpected.

The twist in Mutiny is a woman – Angela Lansbury. Devoid of her charming niceties, she plays a devious, lustful turncoat willing to sleep with a captain for her share of gold bullion. Turns out Lansbury can play either side, and to Mutiny’s benefit.

As a whole, Mutiny works as a patriotic fantasy. Set during the War of 1812, these sailors readily accept a mission to take needed gold and fend off the British. Mutiny depicts a young nation, already filled with soldiers willing to take up arms to protect their land. Then they find out about the gold.

Mutiny’s moral isn’t one of god and country, rather how to shrug off love for the greater good

It’s a test of values and allegiance, the men on board quick to divest the national interest in favor of scheming their share. They lose, of course. Released near World War II, those doing right for country overtake those willing to abandon it, spirited in celebrating an American fervor. Even in 1812, good men succeeded.

But it’s almost undone by a female. Sexism of the era predicts disaster in letting a woman on board, and in maritime lore, Lansbury turns into a metaphorical, seductive siren or harpie, luring the men to their eventual downfall. Even the strongest can’t resist. In that, Lansbury’s femme fatale employs an old-fashioned screen trope, but to her credit, allows her performance to entertain rather than play to the worst ‘50s era cliches; at least she’s given room to form a slight characterization.

Thin at 76-minutes, Mutiny plunges into frequent action scenes and plentiful miniature special effects. Each sequence is an escape from rudimentary dialog. Otherwise, Mutiny slogs to a finish, if ultimately saved by the minuscule runtime.

If there’s any boredom by the climax, the simple swashbuckling and a pleasing, unique submarine attack (using the earliest wooden example of undersea submersibles) leave things on an energetic note. The hero, in the end, isn’t the one who saves the gold, but rather he who snaps out of the trance affecting his judgment, caused by the woman. Mutiny’s moral isn’t one of god and country, rather how to shrug off love for the greater good. Or, just women in general.


At some point, Mutiny undoubtedly looked gorgeous. Not anymore. VCI finds this release print – reel markers intact – and preserves what’s left. That’s not much, especially in the dark because the imagery becomes blackened mush, as if barely lit, detached faces move around on screen. More than black crush, it’s deterioration rendering these scenes murky. Don’t think of Mutiny as restoration as much as transferring things intact and as-is.

Color comes and goes, but mostly goes. Some scenes appear reminiscent of the component video days, where maybe someone swapped the blue and green leads. Either Mutiny looks monochrome, a few flesh tones aside, or draped in half of the available hues. Other than a few shots of Lansbury wearing a floral dress, primaries limit themselves.

Visible grain sticks around appropriately, if never producing much in terms of fine detail. Murkiness and DVD-like resolution stay consistent, then lessened by print damage. Some hefty vertical scratches cannot be missed, and a little past the 49-minute mark, large blank squares fill the upper left frame a few times. Only for a split second each, but still. Maybe it’s a balance to offset the cigarette burns that happen on the right.


Painfully loud, do not set volume to usual levels. Instead, lower it a few notches before things start. Once settled, prepare for persistent hiss and occasional skipping. Dialog disappears a couple times, either dropped or lost in other sound.

Waning fidelity overly sharpens the treble, unappealing when rendering loud explosions or the score. The harshness isn’t favorable, and it’s not like the uncompressed PCM can counter anything. Like the video, it’s as-is mastering.


There’s a 1947 Warner newsreel about Hollywood, and while the menu lists a Popeye cartoon, clicking it doesn’t do anything.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Men good, women bad, or at least that’s Mutiny’s final lesson in telling a classic, same-y Hollywood high seas tale.

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