Stormy waves in the South China Sea wash a drunken captain, Charles Chinnough, off his ship just before it crashes on a reef. He’s then rescued by a passing vessel. Two months later the former captain, now in disgrace, sails as a passenger on a ship commanded by Brendensen, the man who had been the first-mate on his last voyage. Tension quickly develops between these two, especially since both are now attracted to the same female passenger, Kim Mitchell. A typhoon forces Chinnough and Brendensen to work together to save the ship while, at the same time, new information comes to light about their previous voyage together.
Soldier with a secret. Tells sweetheart. Sweetheart tells soldier’s soon-to-be mother-in-law. Mother-in-law tells gossiping neighbor. Neighbor tells husband. Husband tells boss while on break at the factory. Boss tells colleague. Colleague tells American Bund caricature dressed like a traveling salesman. Salesman delivers secret to creepy guy with radio. Creepy radio guy calls up Germany. Sweating goose-stepper runs. Goose-stepper hands message to menacing Hitler. Nazis notify a submarine hunting for American ships somewhere in the Atlantic shipping lanes. Submarine captain gets the word.
That’s how it was done. Or so said the American propaganda machine in a 13-frame cartoon storyboard.
I had lost my job and my marriage when I saw Bounty for the first time. I wanted to stowaway, cast off, and leave the ruins of my life behind—and Bounty let me. Yet I left far more than grief on land; what mattered at home—education, achievements, appearance—was irrelevant at sea. It was unsettling to abandon all that I thought defined me. I sat in the galley with the other deckhands and wondered what they understood from my face…