Click Here  Lily=Bounty Click Here  Nanuk=Pandora Click Here  Bounty's Launch
Click Here  Scale Model Bounty Click Here  Shipbuilder Hans Ditlev Bendixsen Click Here  Old Sailing vessels "made up" article
Click Here  John Lyman's article Click Here  Long Beach and the vessels Click Here  More Information about the film
Click Here  Questions that remain Click Here  Sources and Links Click Here  Thanks!

Some questions that still need to be answered

The major remaining question is what happened to the vessels after the pictures we now have of them in Long Beach were taken in 1938 or 1939.

The vessels were "laid up" at Long Beach, Calf.- the Lily is reported laid up in 1935 and the Nanuk in 1942. Why is there a difference? Was the Nanuk used for other films before 1942?

One report says that the H.M.S. Bounty replica was sunk during the construction of a breakwater near Long Beach. Another account reports that in the 1950s, the H.M.S. Bounty replica vessel was lying at a steep angle, bow up, along the inside of the Long Beach breakwater. These reports are vague and may refer to either one of the two film ships stored there, both of which may have been thought to have been the H.M.S. Bounty, due to their connection with the film, by later observers.

The Port of Long Beach had this information about their fate:

The two vessels you inquired about were indeed in the harbour for some time. During filming and some time after.....As to the fate of the two movie ships, this is actually quite hazy. There were numerous tall ships through the neighbouring LA/LB ports for many years - rotting remnants of days gone by. As areas were developed during the war and later for commercial use, the small wharves that housed such vessels disappeared, along with the vessels. Such is the fate of the two movie ships. They just gradually faded from memory, stuck in the back channel away from the real hustle and bustle of the port, until no one really knows what happened to them.

A correspondet recently reported:

I called MGM archives in Santa Monica, CA today and talked to a Ron Kirchoff. He said MGM does not have any material on the old films anymore. Ron told me that all the info he had on the ship in the 1935 Bounty movie was that the ship was bulked up to look like the Bounty, then after filming she was stripped down again. He said she was used to transport tourists to Santa Catalina Island. During WWII, she was commisioned as a patrol boat and he does not know what happened to her after that.

This is fascianting news!!!

One source reports that:

life-size replications of the ships H.M.S. Bounty and H.M.S. Pandora were built and actually sailed 14,000 miles from California to Tahiti, encountering torrential seas in the process. There were expensive repairs needed when both ships suffered damages while on the voyage.


While most of the filming took place at Catalina and San Miguel Islands near Los Angeles, much background filming is reported to have been made in Tahiti (see the Movie Information page) but I haven't seen other reports that the replica vessels were also used there. We will need to verify this. In general, there is very little information about the "two expeditions to the South Seas" and the participation of 5,000 "Native" extras from 6 villages mentioend in the film's trailer. Was this actually Tahiti, or was it perhaps Hawaii or Samoa?

One report contains this information:

With four other veterans of sail, the Lily (a former cargo carrier) was brought out of retirement and placed in the hands of skilled shipbuilders at Wilmington, Calif., where many other ships have been “made up” for important roles in the movies.

Thus it is possible that MGM had three other vessels besides the Lily and Nanuk prepared for use in the film. Perhaps for the Portsmouth scene? There is documentation that the Balclutha (now moored near downtown San Francisco) is one of the other vessels. What other vessels were used needs to be researched.


We now know that the shipyard used to rebuild the vessels was in Wilmington, Calif., but we still do not know it's name. Neither are we certian where the 27 ft. model was built (though it seems likely that it was the Fellows and Stewart Shipyard at Wilmington, California).


I have seen information that the film production built cottages, barracks and bungalows for their staff at the the Isthmus/Two Harbours area on Catalina Island. The information I have seen says that a number of these buildings still exist and are in use and that in addition to that some of the sets of buildings in Portsmouth Harbour built for the film are still in existence in the same area and in use as homes etc. Is this correct? If so, it would be great to have some photos.


During the production 2nd unit assistant cameraman Glenn Strong drowned while trying to save equipment lost when a barge used to portray the deck of the Pandora capsized when shooting exterior scenes near San Miguel Island.I would like further information about this event. It was apparently widely reported at the time. I have no further knowledege of Glenn Strong beyond his name and job. Is Glenn Strong buried on Catalina?


During the filming, an erroneous report went out that the Bounty had sunk off Catalina, with news outlets reporting that both Gable and Laughton were lost The real event was when two technicians were nearly lost when the 28 foot model of the Bounty used for special effects was blown out to sea after being separated from its tow. The vessel was adrift for two days before being found by a search party. I would like further information about this event. It was apparently widely reported at the time.


An MGM poster which announced a ship modeling contest in connection with the release of the film -- $1000 for the best model of H.M.S.Bounty - it could be interesting to know who won this contest and see pictures of the models made for the contest.



Return to First page