Lt. Thomas Keefer
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Quotes for
Lt. Thomas Keefer (Character)
from The Caine Mutiny (1954)

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The Caine Mutiny (1954)
[Regarding Captain Queeg]
Lt. Keith: Well, he's certainly Navy.
Lt. Keefer: Yeah... so was Captain Bligh.

[Discussing Captain Queeg's sanity]
Lieutenant Tom Keefer: Will you look at the man? He's a Freudian delight; he crawls with clues!

Lt. Keefer: This is the engine room; to operate, all you need is any group of well-trained monkeys. 99 percent of everything we do is strict routine. Only one percent requires creative intelligence.

Lieutenant Tom Keefer: "There is no escape from the Caine, save death. We're all doing penance, sentenced to an outcast ship, manned by outcasts, and named after the greatest outcast of them all."

[at the Senior Officer's Mess Hall]
Captain DeVriess: Tell me, Keith. Now that you've had a chance to study "The Caine" more closely, do you like her any better?
Ens. Willis 'Willie' Seward Keith: The tour was very interesting, sir.
Captain DeVriess: The ship too messy for you?
Ens. Willis 'Willie' Seward Keith: [Keefer walks in] Well, that's a difficult question, sir.
Lt. Tom Keefer: It's a ridiculous question. The question is, is this mess a ship?

Lt. Keefer: [Lt. Keefer to Ensign Keith while giving him a tour of the Caine] The first thing you've got to learn about this ship is that she was designed by geniuses to be run by idiots.

[Greenwald staggers into the Caine crew's party, inebriated]
Lt. Barney Greenwald: Well, well, well! The officers of the Caine in happy celebration!
Lt. Steve Maryk: What are you, Barney, kind of tight?
Lt. Barney Greenwald: Sure. I got a guilty conscience. I defended you, Steve, because I found the wrong man was on trial.
[pours himself a glass of wine]
Lt. Barney Greenwald: So, I torpedoed Queeg for you. I *had* to torpedo him. And I feel sick about it.
[drinks wine]
Lt. Steve Maryk: Okay, Barney, take it easy.
Lt. Barney Greenwald: You know something... When I was studying law, and Mr. Keefer here was writing his stories, and you, Willie, were tearing up the playing fields of dear old Princeton, who was standing guard over this fat, dumb, happy country of ours, eh? Not us. Oh, no, we knew you couldn't make any money in the service. So who did the dirty work for us? Queeg did! And a lot of other guys. Tough, sharp guys who didn't crack up like Queeg.
Ensign Willie Keith: But no matter what, Captain Queeg endangered the ship and the lives of the men.
Lt. Barney Greenwald: He didn't endanger anybody's life, you did, *all* of you! You're a fine bunch of officers.
Lt. JG H. Paynter Jr.: You said yourself he cracked.
Lt. Barney Greenwald: I'm glad you brought that up, Mr. Paynter, because that's a very pretty point. You know, I left out one detail in the court martial. It wouldn't have helped our case any.
[to Maryk]
Lt. Barney Greenwald: Tell me, Steve, after the Yellowstain business, Queeg came to you guys for help and you turned him down, didn't you?
Lt. Steve Maryk: [hesitant] Yes, we did.
Lt. Barney Greenwald: [to Paynter] You didn't approve of his conduct as an officer. He wasn't worthy of your loyalty. So you turned on him. You ragged him. You made up songs about him. If you'd given Queeg the loyalty he needed, do you suppose the whole issue would have come up in the typhoon?
[to Maryk]
Lt. Barney Greenwald: You're an honest man, Steve, I'm asking you. You think it would've been necessary for you to take over?
Lt. Steve Maryk: [hesitant] It probably wouldn't have been necessary.
Lt. Barney Greenwald: [muttering slightly] Yeah.
Ensign Willie Keith: If that's true, then we *were* guilty.
Lt. Barney Greenwald: Ah, you're learning, Willie! You're learning that you don't work with a captain because you like the way he parts his hair. You work with him because he's got the job or you're no good! Well, the case is over. You're all safe. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.
[long pause; strides toward Keefer]
Lt. Barney Greenwald: And now we come to the man who *should've* stood trial. The Caine's favorite author. The Shakespeare whose testimony nearly sunk us all. Tell 'em, Keefer!
Lieutenant Tom Keefer: [stiff and overcome with guilt] No, you go ahead. You're telling it better.
Lt. Barney Greenwald: You ought to read his testimony. He never even heard of Captain Queeg!
Lt. Steve Maryk: Let's forget it, Barney!
Lt. Barney Greenwald: Queeg was sick, he couldn't help himself. But you, you're *real* healthy. Only you didn't have one tenth the guts that he had.
Lieutenant Tom Keefer: Except I never fooled myself, Mr. Greenwald.
Lt. Barney Greenwald: I'm gonna drink a toast to you, Mr. Keefer.
[pours wine in a glass]
Lt. Barney Greenwald: From the beginning you hated the Navy. And then you thought up this whole idea. And you managed to keep your skirts nice, and starched, and clean, even in the court martial. Steve Maryk will always be remembered as a mutineer. But you, you'll publish your novel, you'll make a million bucks, you'll marry a big movie star, and for the rest of your life you'll live with your conscience, if you have any. Now here's to the *real* author of "The Caine Mutiny." Here's to you, Mr. Keefer.
[splashes wine in Keefer's face]
Lt. Barney Greenwald: If you wanna do anything about it, I'll be outside. I'm a lot drunker than you are, so it'll be a fair fight.

Lieutenant Tom Keefer: [after a meeting between the officers and Captain Queeg] This is what is known in literature as the "pregnant pause".

Ensign Willie Keith: Sir, you don't like the Navy, do you?
Lt. Keefer: Who called the Caine the Navy?

Lt. Keefer: I'm too smart to be brave.

Barney Greenwald: I've read the preliminary investigation very carefully and I think that what you've done stinks.
Lt. Keith: Well, if that's the way you feel about it, why are you taking the case?
Barney Greenwald: I didn't say I'd take it. I told legal I'd have a talk with Mr. Maryk. Whether I take it or not depends on what he has to say.
Lieutenant Tom Keefer: Steve, maybe you'd better get yourself another lawyer.
Barney Greenwald: Try it. Eight other officers have already turned it down.