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The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (1988)

PG | | Drama, War | TV Movie 8 May 1988
A full-length adaptation, originally staged as a play, of the court-martial segment from the novel "The Caine Mutiny".

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Danny Darst ...
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Dr. Forrest Lundeen
Ken Michels ...
Ronald Lynch ...
Signalman Third Class Junius Urban
David Miller ...
Stenographer
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Legal Assistant
David Barnett ...
Legal Assistant
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Party Guest
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Storyline

A full-length adaptation, originally staged as a play, of the court-martial segment from the novel "The Caine Mutiny".

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Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

8 May 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of a number of filmed adaptations of plays made by director Robert Altman during the 1980s. See more »

Goofs

The gymnasium floor where trial is held has modern basketball court markings. See more »

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User Reviews

Altman at his best
30 January 2002 | by (Vancouver, Canada) – See all my reviews

Robert Altman's simple and brilliant reprise of the celebrated fictional naval trial succeeds both as a series of character studies, and, more effectively than the Bogart film, as a rebuke of the sprawling anti-military novels (such as the Naked and the Dead) that followed World War II. Unlike the 1954 movie, this version is based on Herman Wouk's stage play and focuses exclusively on the trial itself. As events focus on the progression of witnesses in the temporary courtroom (it's a converted gym), each man is scrutinized under a microscope which reveals strengths, weaknesses, hypocrisy and anguish.

Facing the thankless task of following in Bogart's wake, Brad Davis gives an edgy performance as Qeeg, a ticky personality that slowly melts and becomes unglued in the witness chair. Eric Bogosian is just as watchable as Lt Greenwald, the razor-sharp defense lawyer who is torn as the issues of the trial tear into his own changing moral attitudes about the war. A cynical intellectual when he entered the Marines as a flyer, Greenwald now sees the pragmatic need for a structured military to defeat the evils of fascism (particularly as a Jewish American). To win the trial, he must destroy the life of a career officer and he's sick about it.

Jeff Daniels, Peter Gallagher and the rest of the cast are all top drawer. The 1988 TV Movie version is also able to briefly touch on issues of anti-Semitism and homosexuality that were expunged in the 50s big-screen version. The Caine Mutiny Court Martial offers that all-too-rare treat of allowing Hollywood stars to get into some meaty characters and performances which are normally reserved for the stage. Offered with Altman's trademark overlapping dialogue, it's great drama, an under-appreciated gem, and is well worth 100 minutes of your time.


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