The Caine Mutiny


The Caine Mutiny

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Movie Info

Herman Wouk's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Caine Mutiny was the source of both a play and a film. The play, also written by Wouk, concentrates only on the court-martial which provides one of the story's many climaxes. The film attempts to telescope the entire book into two hours, and does an admirable job, despite the censorial measures taken to insure cooperation from the US Navy. The central character is Ensign Willie Keith (Robert Francis), who in the early months of World War II is assigned to the Caine, a battered minesweeper. Dismayed by the slovenliness of the crew and the seemingly lackadaisical attitude of Captain DeVries (Tom Tully), Keith is delighted when DeVries is replaced by "All Navy" Captain Phillip Francis Queeg (Humphrey Bogart). A strict disciplinarian, Queeg rapidly whips the Caine into shape. Unfortunately, he's been in combat far too long, and is nearing the end of his tether. Increasingly paranoid, Queeg makes foolish mistakes at sea while misdirecting his attention towards such details as untucked shirts and unworn hats. Lt. Keefer (Fred MacMurray), one of Queeg's officers, rails against the captain's erratic behavior to his fellow officers. He convinces Lt. Maryk (Van Johnson) that Queeg is a danger to himself and his men, and that Maryk should consider usurping Queeg's authority. During a storm at sea, the beleaguered Queeg panics, and Maryk, acting upon Keefer's suggestion, stages a mutiny and assumes command, with Keith standing by Maryk's decision. A court-martial follows, with Navy attorney Lt. Barney Greenwald (Jose Ferrer) reluctantly defending Maryk and Keith. During the testimony, Keefer, who has managed to avoid any tangible connection with the mutiny, lies about his complicity. Greenwald's only hope at this point is to discredit Queeg--which he does by bringing up an incident wherein the obsessive Queeg forced his officers to conduct an extensive search for some missing strawberries. Queeg cracks under questioning, and the defendants are cleared. At a victory celebration, a drunken Greenwald rails against the "summer sailors" who ruined an essentially courageous but worn-out man like Queeg, ending his tirade by throwing a glass of champagne in the treacherous Keefer's face. Major changes in transferring the novel to the screen included Greenwald's curtain speech, which originally brought up the lawyer's Jewish heritage; also, the novel's Captain Queeg is not forcibly retired after his breakdown, but instead transferred to stateside duty, where the press lauds him as a hero! Humphrey Bogart delivers one of his most memorable (and most often imitated) performances as the neurotic Queeg, though playgoers with long memories insist that Lloyd Nolan, who played Queeg on Broadway, gave a far more powerful accounting of this complex role.


Humphrey Bogart
as Capt. Queeg
Fred MacMurray
as Lt. Tom Keefer
Van Johnson
as Lt. Steve Maryk
José Ferrer
as Lt. Barney Greenwald
Robert Francis
as Ens. Willie Keith
May Wynn
as May Wynn
Tom Tully
as Capt. DeVriess
E.G. Marshall
as Lt. Cmdr. Challee
Arthur Franz
as Lt. Paynter
Lee Marvin
as Meatball
Warner Anderson
as Capt. Blakely
Claude Akins
as Horrible
Katherine Warren
as Mrs. Keith
Jerry Paris
as Ens. Harding
Steve Brodie
as Chief Budge
Todd Karns
as Stilwell
Whit Bissell
as Lt. Cmdr. Dickson
James Best
as Lt. Jorgenson
Joe Haworth
as Ens. Carmody
Herbert Anderson
as Ens. Rabbit
James Edwards
as Whittaker
David Alpert
as Engstrand
Don Anderson
as Radar Man
Robert Bray
as Court Martial Jury
Ted Cooper
as Sergeant-at-arms
Don Keefer
as Court Stenographer
Eddie Laguna
as Winston
Dayton Lummis
as Uncle Lloyd
Kenneth MacDonald
as Court Martial Jury
Paul McGuire
as Court Martial Jury
Tyler McVey
as Court Martial Jury
Patrick Miller
as Movie Operator
Richard Norris
as Court Martial Jury
Gaylord "Steve" Pendleton
as Court Martial Jury
James Todd
as Commodore Kelvey
Donald Dillaway
as Chauffeur
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Critic Reviews for The Caine Mutiny

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for The Caine Mutiny

  • Mar 20, 2015
    Excellent. One of the best military films you'll ever see. Great acting, directing, and pacing.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 23, 2011
    The Caine Mutiny is a Classic film and one that holds up fairly well in the year 2011, with a intimate look into Navy life. Humphrey Bogart plays a tough and by the book Captain who takes over command on The Caine, a ragged and beat up minesweeper vessel, and tries to shape up the complacent crew on board. While It's apparent that the men and even other officers are weary of the new strict Captain, as time goes on and difficult situations arise, the story progresses into a look into the new Captain's mind and his resulting actions. The officers begin to suspect that the Captain is paranoid and is making reckless and cowardly decisions. He reaches out to the other officers, but by this point they are over him and his outcry for help. When a typhoon coupled with the Captain's unwavering decision to let the ship flounder, the first officer is forced to take command himself and save the ship. The first officer is put on trial along with the new officer Keith, for inciting mutiny on the ship. This is where the film shifts and continues on as a courtroom drama and not so much an action/adventure film like the first half of the film. While I'll leave the outcome secret, it's one in which there is deep and lasting effects on all those involved. The film is a solid action/drama and is filled with great performances by all the actors involved and is highly recommended!
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 14, 2011
    Maybe Bogart's finest moment, but overall a weak film if you don't include his performance.
    Graham J Super Reviewer
  • Oct 12, 2010
    This classic wartime drama/courtroom film set the stage for later films like A Few Good Men and Crimson Tide. Featuring standout performances by Humphrey Bogart, Van Johnson, Jose Ferrer and others, the film revolves around a court martial following a mutiny aboard a US Naval vessel during wartime. You'll be completely taken in by the performances, and by Bogart's brilliantly erratic performance. The film has some unnecessary subplots, such as the love story, but overall, it remains a taught and gripping tale that uses a clever black is white and white is black approach to who's really at fault for the mutiny. It also makes interesting character studies of most of the key characters and their motivations. Derived from the Pulitzer Price winning novel by Herman Wouk, it's courtroom scenes are as tense and interesting as the stage version of the trial that came after the film. Recommended.
    Mark K Super Reviewer

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