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Monday, August 10, 2009

BOUNTY for sale

Yes, the legendary HMS Bounty, scene of the most famous mutiny in British history, and the star of stirring nonfiction books, novels, and film adaptations, is up for sale.

The mutiny led by Fletcher Christian, who seized the breadfruit-laden Bounty after leaving Tahiti in April 1789, and set the captain, William Bligh, adrift in a boat, ranks up there with the Titanic as one of the iconic stories of the sea. The combination of sadism, violent confrontation, a sexy Polynesian paradise, and an epic small boat voyage has an enduringly irresistible appeal.

Ever since March 1790, when Bligh arrived in London to report what he called a "close-planned act of villainy", thousands of words have been written, and miles of film made. To be exact, five films have been made, one―the 1935 Oscar-winner―managing to convince the world that Bligh was a brute who looked just like Charles Laughton, and Christian, portrayed by Clark Gable, was a romantic hero.
Marlon Brando, who played an equally dashing Christian in a 1962 version, was so seduced by the story he married his Boraboran co-star, and bought his own Polynesian islet, which is one of the many coconut palm-studded motu that lie on the reef that almost completely encircles the dramatic peaks and chasms of Bora Bora. The mutiny now has several websites.

The Bounty that provided the romatic and dashing setting for the Brando film (technically known as "Bounty 2") is the one up for sale. Built by MGM studios for Mutiny on the Bounty, the replica sailing ship was due to be scrapped when filming was finished, but Brando had fallen in love with the vessel. Presumably he had spent all his spare dosh on his islet, because instead of purchasing it himself, he persuaded the moguls to spare the vessel for sale to someone else.

The ship has had three owners, including Ted Turner. The current owner is a reluctant seller, but apparently personal circumstances give him no choice.

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