In the waning days of World War II, the United States Navy cargo ship Reluctant and her crew are stationed in the "backwater" areas of the Pacific Ocean. Trouble ensues when the crew members are granted liberty.
During the World War II, the crew of a small insignificant ship in the U.S. Pacific Fleet experience an event unlike any event ever experience by the United States Navy. A Ship's Captain is removed from command by his Executive Officer in an apparent outright act of mutiny. As the trial of the mutineers unfold, it is learned that the Captain of the ship was mentally unstable, perhaps even insane. The Navy must decide if the Caine Mutiny was a criminal act, or an act of courage to save a ship from destruction at the hands of her Captain? Written by
Anthony Hughes <email@example.com>
The USS Caine was played by the Navy destroyer-minesweeper USS Thompson (DD-627/DMS-38) named in honor of Robert M Thompson. DD-627 provided close-in gun fire support on D-Day. DMS-38 served in the Korean War and was decommissioned a year after her role in this movie. See more »
At the court martial held at Naval Station Treasure Island in San Francisco, the date of the mutiny is given as "July 22, 1944", which is not possible for several reasons. First, the only storm in the Pacific on that date was Tropical Storm Peggy, which took place in the South China Sea west of the Philippines with maximum winds of no greater than 40mph. Second, the typhoon in the film took place immediately after Maryk, Keefer and Keith had gone to Admiral Halsey's flagship to personally present their complaints to the Admiral. At that time, however, Halsey was in Washington, DC, meeting with Secretary of the Navy, James V. Forrestal and Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Ernest J. King to plan future operations in the Pacific Theater. Halsey did not return to the Pacific until July 27th when he arrived in Hawaii from the United States and met with President Roosevelt, CINPAC Admiral Chester Nimitz, and Army General Douglas MacArthur that day. In the Wouk novel, the date of the mutiny is given as December 18, 1944, which would have been historically correct as that is the same day the three US Navy destroyers in Halsey's fleet (Task Force 38) were lost in Typhoon Cora (aka "Typhoon Halsey"). During the Maryk trial, it is also mentioned that three ships had foundered in the Typhoon on the same day as the mutiny on the USS Caine. 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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Opening credits prologue: "There has never been a mutiny in a ship of The United States Navy. The truths of this film lie not in its incidents but in the way a few men meet the crisis of their lives."
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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