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Acquit Or Hang: The Court Martial of the Bounty Mutineers (ITV Drama, John Hurt)

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Acquit or Hang ITV Drama John Hurt

Period drama Acquit or Hang tells the story behind a court martial case which attempted to reveal the true facts surrounding the mutiny on the bounty. As the Court Martial goes on we gradually learn what really happens. The tension lay in which prisoners would be found innocent and which would be condemned to hang.

The drama attempted to condense what was a five day hearing into 80 minutes and was mostly successful. Reviewing the drama in The Stage (Jan 9, 1964) Brian de Salvo felt the drama was lacking in real excitement though, saying “none of the leaders of the mutiny were on trial and technical guilt of the two central prisoners was in little doubt from the outset.”

Interesting names in the cast list included a young Richard O’Sullivan, an equally young John Hurt and cult tv favourite Peter Jeffrey.

Cast: ROBERT PERCEVAL as Captain Sir Andrew Snape Hammond; RICHARD O’SULLIVAN as Lt John Hallett; JOHN SLATER as Mr John Fryer; KEVIN STONEY as Mr William Purcell; KIM PEACOCK as Byrn; DEREK FRANCIS as Lord Hood; WEYMAN MACKAY as Captain John Colpoys; WILLIAM MARLOWE as Millward; NICHOLAS EVANS as Ellison; JOHN HURT as Peter Haywood; MICHAEL BEINT as Morrison; PETER ELLIS as Norman; ROY PATRICK as Burkitt; PETER JEFFREY as Muspratt; PHIL ARTHURS as Coleman; JAMES FITZGERALD as McIntosh; DAVID PLANER as Lt Thomas Ward

Writer: Stanley Miller / Production Design: Fred Pusey / Director: Cyril Coke

UK / ITV Network – Associated Rediffusion / 1×90 minute episode / Monday 6 January 1964 at 9.10pm