Friday, May 3, 2024

Blood Of The Vines - A Bounty On Larry K

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌  ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌ ‌ This week, we pair wines with three different takes on the Mutiny on the Bounty story. Each of the trailers has commentary from Larry Karaszewski, who co-wrote Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flynt and Dolemite is My Name, three films bound to appear on many "favorites" lists. 

The version of Mutiny on the Bounty from 1962 stars Trevor Howard as Captain Bligh and Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian. The whole mutiny thing transpires after Christian faces off against Bligh for his brutal treatment of the crew. Christian says "You can’t do that," and Bligh says "Yes, I can, because I’m the captain. Captains are immune from prosecution." Remind you of anyone? I suppose Fletcher Christian was the District Attorney on board the Bounty.

The '62 Mutiny, which sounds rather like a model from the Ford line, is the second telling of this tale on the big screen. We'll get to the 1935 original in a moment. The mission for the HMS Bounty was to bring fruit trees from Tahiti to Jamaica, which makes it sound like a vacation is coming. Before the sails have a good chance to unfurl, some cheese goes missing. It was strawberries in The Caine Mutiny. All the good mutinies started with some missing food, apparently. 

The movie took forever to film, but it was Tahiti, so who cared? Well, MGM for one. The budget was exceeded by about ten million dollars, so there was that. And that was back when ten million dollars was a lot of money. Brando liked his time with the Tahitian people. He liked it so much he took one of them home with him. His marriage to Tarita lasted ten years, which is not bad by Hollywood standards. By Tahitian standards, I don't know. 

It is worth noting that a bottle of wine said to have been left aboard the Bounty by Bligh sold recently at auction for about $2,700. That's a bit steep for my taste, so let's pair Howard and Brando with a sparkling wine called Stranger Than Paradise, made from Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir. What's that? It's sold out? Look, I fell in love with Hammerling Wines and their sparkling fascination, so find another one on their site and lift a toast to the '62 Mutiny. 

1984's The Bounty starred Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson as Bligh and Christian. It is regarded as more historically accurate than the two which came before it, which wasn't that hard to pull off. It was also fairly well received by the critics of the day, which was a bit trickier. The Bounty was released about a quarter century before Gibson's downfall and seven years before Hopkins made everyone hate fava beans and Chianti. 

The ship that was built to be the Bounty cost millions of dollars, but the movie still sailed in under budget, quite an accomplishment for a film set on water. It was no Titanic, of course. However, even though Titanic cost nearly 300 million to make, it raked in about five times that amount. That’s more wet dollar bills than you'd ever find on the bar during happy hour down at the neighborhood tiki lounge. 

Yeah, not going with a Chianti pairing. In fact, both Hopkins and Gibson say they are sober, and have been for years. That means more for us. Bloom & Bounty, in Paso Robles' El Pomar district, makes a lovely Arneis wine. You may find the Italian grape as exotic as the Bounty's crew found Tahiti.

The 1935 Mutiny on the Bounty starred Charles Laughton and Clark Gable as the captain and the lieutenant. Of course, they were both lieutenants but Laughton got top billing. There were plenty of opportunities for historians to quibble, like shouldn't they have said "left-tenant?" The public ate it all up with a fork and spoon, though, and the scribes seemed unusually satisfied with the picture, too. 

Look for James Cagney as a background actor. He was reportedly yachting near the shooting of a scene off Catalina Island when he pulled up starboard and joked to director Frank Lloyd that he could use some work. If you squint really hard, you can also see David Niven and Dick Haymes in the background of some shots, although it seems they didn't get their extra jobs while piloting a yacht nearby. 

While sailing the seas looking for extra work, you might want a libation from Sailor Vineyard of Port Townsend, Washington. What a delightful oddity! They make wine from the French hybrid grape Marechal Foch. That is probably more exotic than the Arneis, but just as tasty.

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