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During the Second World War, onboard a small insignificant ship in the U.S. Pacific Fleet, an event occurs unlike any that the United States Navy has ever experianced. A Ship's Captain is removed from his command by his Executive Officer in an apparent outright act of mutiny. As the trial of the mutineers unfold, it is then learned that the Captain of the ship was mentally unstable, perhaps even insane. The Navy must then decide: was the Caine Mutiny a criminal act? Or an act of courage to save a ship from destruction at the hands of her Captain. Written by
Anthony Hughes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The position of Queeg's hands changes between shots while he's sitting in the wardroom. See more »
And so today you are full-fledged ensigns. Three short months ago you assembled here from all parts of the nation, from all walks of life: field, factory, office and college campus. Each of you knew what the fighting was about, or you wouldn't have volunteered. Each of you knew that the American way of life must be defended by life itself. From here on your education must continue in the more demanding school of actual war. Wearing the gold stripe of ensign in the United States ...
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May Wynn was not the actress's real name. She merely adopted it after playing the character May Wynn in this film. See more »
Bogart and MacMurray shine in this adaptation of Herman Wouk's masterpiece.
Great novels often disappoint when brought to the screen, but superior acting performances make The Caine Mutiny a classic on its own merits.
The movie takes place on a destroyer-minesweeper in the Pacific during World War II. To the consternation of the Caine's crew, a popular captain (Tom Tully) is replaced by a disturbed despot named Queeg (Humphrey Bogart), who finds himself in over his head. As the stresses of command multiply, Queeg's paranoia and cowardice soon become apparent to Lieutenant Thomas Keefer (Fred MacMurray), a writer in civilian life. Keefer continually tries to convince Executive Officer Steve Maryk (Van Johnson) that Queeg is insane, but Keefer won't help Maryk when the Exec asks Keefer to help convince higher authority that Queeg should be relieved. During a typhoon, Queeg's poor seamanship nearly capsizes the Caine; Maryk relieves him by reason of insanity and saves the ship. Maryk and Willie Keith (Robert Francis), Officer of the Deck when Queeg is relieved, stand trial for mutiny. They are reluctantly defended by Lt Barney Greenwald (Jose Ferrer), who must expose Queeg's mental illness to save the defendants. In so doing Greenwald forces the Caine's officers to examine their own motives regarding their roles in Queeg's relief and their lack of loyalty to him.
Bogart is brilliant, giving the greatest performance of his career, his quirky mannerisms and tortured demeanor contrasting starkly with his usual roles. MacMurray is superb as the glib slippery novelist who must eventually deal with his own cowardice, more damning than Queeg's because of his intelligence and insight. Johnson plays Maryk more timidly than he appears in the book, to the detriment of the movie. Ferrer gives a solid performance. Tully excels as the crusty Capt DeVriess, Queeg's predecessor.
The weakest part of Wouk's book is the largely irrelevant romance between Willie Keith and a nightclub singer of whom his wealthy mother disapproves. Unhappily this vapid subplot finds its way into the movie, serving only to reveal Francis and his love interest May Wynn as lousy actors whose mercifully brief cinematic careers were well deserved. Important character developments in the novel could have been included instead of this unnecessary pap.
Despite its flaws, The Caine Mutiny is a must see for serious movie fans. Bogart and MacMurray give performances which remain fresh and compelling with every viewing of the film. You can't ask more from an actor than that.
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