"For Sale: Only One Can Possess It.
"The seas. The oceans. The untameable expanse of seemingly boundless wates.For a thousand years sailing has epitomized mankind's yearning for the ultimate conquest, the harnessing of the bow's driving wind, the thrill of discovery, and the search for adventure."
So begins the ad in The Wall Street Journal offering for the price of $4.5 millon a full-scale replica of H.M.S. Bounty, the 133-foot square-rigger on which Capt. Bligh and Fletcher Christian went their separate ways.
For filmmaker Dino De Laurentiis, however, the thrill is gone. He had planned to remake the famous Mutiny on the Bounty story, possibly in two parts, but discovered along the way that the project apparently did not epitomize mankind's yearning.
By the time the movie went on the rocks, the ship was already built and had completed sea trials in New Zealand, where she floats today on the untamable expanse of seemingly boundless waters.
"Well, Dino met with David Lean, the director, and they got a script, and then ran into problems, and then Lean tried for a while to do it himself, and by the time it turned out the project was a little too costly, the ship was already built," explained Fred Sidewater, executive vice president of the Dino De Laurentiis Corp. in Los Angeles. "That's a year and a half of history I've just given you there."
Sidewater was asked if it is unusual in Hollywood to build a ship and then cancel the movie.
"What is unusual is to have a project terminated and then have left over a solid, physical property that you can sell. Usually, all you have is a script which you can't sell."
He said that projects come and go, and that although the Bounty movie went, De Laurentiis Corp. is nevertheless coming out with "Ragtime," in which James Cagney makes his return to the screen in the Doctorow novel," and "Conan," "based on the comic strip 'Conan the Barbarian,'" and "four others if you want me to tell you about them."
The Bounty has accomodations for 30, two diesel engines, a steel hull covered with African Iroko planking for that hard-to-get authentic look, and 10,500 square feet of flax sails (two complete sets). Below decks, the walls are movable to make filming more convenient. Everything is certified by Lloyds Register of Shipping.
Sidewater confirmed that the De Laurentiis organization is attempting to move the Bounty itself, rather than employing a yacht broker, and that De Laurentiis employes wrote the ad copy, which is enthusiastic and evocative and anyway, Joseph Conrad is dead.
Sidewater, who is more or less in charge of selling the Bounty, says he does not have a specific picture of a potential buyer.
"It could be a person, sure. Or the ship could be used for a historical, monumental purpose. Somebody is thinking about using it for youth activities in Australia. We don't really know, at this point. Somebody did call and ask if we took MasterCard or Visa."
Is the price negotiable? After all, the ship is in New Zealand, the movie is off, and really, Mr. Sidewater, when you say that the replacement cost of such a ship would be demonstrably more than $4.5 million today, somebody is just going to say, ha ha, who wants to replace it?
"I would say that anything is negotiable," Sidewater said. "For instance, if somebody wanted to pay $5 million, but spread the payments out over six months, I think we would be happy to accept."