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The Caine Mutiny (1954) Poster

Goofs

Jump to: Anachronisms (13)  | Character error (2)  | Continuity (12)  | Factual errors (8)  | Miscellaneous (2)  | Revealing mistakes (2)

Anachronisms 

At the Navy administration building in San Francisco where the trial takes place, most of the automobiles shown are post-war. Amongst these are a 1949 or 1950 Ford, some early 1950's GM cars (perhaps Chevrolets or Pontiacs), and what looks like an early 1950's Plymouth.
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Willie witnesses a Firefall on his trip to Yosemite. The Firefall was suspended at the onset of World War II, and except for one night in 1943 (before the scene is set), was not re-established until after the end of the war.
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Maryk, Keefer, and Keith go to a carrier as Admiral William F. Halsey's flagship. Whilst the carrier Enterprise did serve as Halsey's flagship early in the war, his flagship, by this time, was the USS New Jersey, a battleship.
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When Keefer, Keith and Maryk are riding up the aircraft elevator on the carrier, F9F Panther jets are clearly visible in the background sitting in the hanger bay. The F9F Panther did not enter fleet use until 1949.
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The lettering on the CV 33 is yellow. During WWII, it is supposed to have been dark gray.
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Although taking place circa 1944, all the women's fashions and hairstyles are strictly in the 1954 mode, which was strikingly different.
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Lt. Barney Greenwald arrives to the court building in a post-war Jeep.
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When the Caine is first seen, it has the very large peacetime numbers on the side of the ship, but it should have the much smaller war-time numbers on the side of the ship, as it does later in the film.
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The Gun Control Radar on the Caine was not available until the 1950s.
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When singing in the nightclub, supposedly in 1944, May Wynn sings into a 1950s-design hand-held microphone.
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Admiral William F. Halsey's Flagship, hull #33, was the Kearsarge. The Kearsarge was not commissioned until March of 1946. As the movie takes place during World War II, the ship didn't exist.
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The calendar on the wall of the court room is a 1954 calendar.
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During the trial, part of a calendar is visible on the back wall. It shows April beginning on a Wednesday, August on a Saturday, and December on a Tuesday. The trial is taking place presumably in 1944 or early 1945. These dates did not fall on these days of the week in either of these years; the last time this had happened was in 1942. The next time it happened was 1953 - the year the film was shot.
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Character error 

When Willie is with May at the waterfall, he asks her to marry him and she refuses. Later, when Willie is speaking with May on the phone, Willie says, "What an idiot I was. I could have married you in the most beautiful place on earth. Now I'll regret for the rest of my life that I didn't." Willie is wrong for berating himself. He did ask her, but May refused and ran off crying.
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When the Caine is accompanying the landing craft during the invasion, the teletype instructions shown state, "...1000 yards 'OF' shore..." in error, and should read, "...1000 yards 'OFF' shore..."
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Continuity 

Just before the Caine runs over the target towline, Queeq is on the bridge chewing out Willie and Keefer due to "Horrible" having his shirt untucked. The film shifts to show the target being run over, then immediately goes back to Queeg and company on the bridge - "Horrible's" shirt is suddenly neatly tucked in. (Seconds before, Queeq had even ordered him not to tuck it in.)
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During the typhoon sequence, distant shots show the Caine model missing the forward stack and foremast before the close-up shots showing the actual collapse of both structures.
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In the shots of the Caine towing the target, the sky is clear; but in the shots of warships shooting at the target, the sky is overcast.
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When Willie is talking to May at Yosemite, her hair changes constantly depending whether she's seen from the front (groomed and motionless) or the back (tossed and blowing).
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When Ens. Harding is leaving the ship, he informs Maryk, Keefer, and Keith about the strawberries. The group shot shows the ship and equipment in the background. In the individual shot of Harding, there is a blank wall.
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Before the paravane is dropped overboard, the Jones is #383. After the paravane is recovered, the Jones is #378.
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Before going to Yosemite, as Willie is talking with his mother, their positions change from being in close to being at arm's length.
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When Ens. Willis Seward Keith's mother places a $100.00 bill in his pocket for spending money, you can see the edge sticking out. After he turns to leave, the money is not sticking out anymore.
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During the first officers' meeting scene with Captain Queeg, Seaman 1st Class Urban enters the wardroom. As the POV switches from behind Queeg to in front of him, we see his left arm on the table (from behind) then on the arm of the chair (from in front) repeatedly.
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When Ens. Keith arrives on the Caine, Lt. Keefer asks for his orders which Keith hands over. Lt. Keefer then gives them to a seaman who disappears with them. On the way to DeVriess' quarters, Keefer and Keith walk down a passageway and no envelope is seen in Keith's or Keefer's hand, yet when they walk through the doorway, the orders are back in Keith's hand.
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During the trial, the windows in the room change back and forth from being wide open to only slightly open, especially the window behind E.G. Marshall.
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The position of Queeg's hands changes between shots whilst he's sitting in the wardroom.
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Factual errors 

Captain Queeg, played by 53-year-old Humphrey Bogart, is clearly far too old to have been from the graduating class of 1936. Based on this chronology, the character of Queeg would have to be about thirty.
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When the old Captain is leaving the ship, he says that he cannot accept the watch as a gift, but a departure gift from crewmen is allowed, as long as it is a modest amount and no quid pro quo is implied. A gifted watch would fit that criterion.
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Early in the movie, two sailors were talking about five star admirals. This movie takes place in early 1944, but the first five star admirals were not promoted until December of 1944.
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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.
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In Wouk's novel, Queeg identifies himself as being a 1936 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, which would make his age about 30 when he assumed command of the Caine in September, 1943 (November in the film), or roughly a quarter century younger than 54-year old Bogart was when he played him. ("The Caine Mutiny", p. 131: After a moment of silent sipping De Vriess said, "You're class of '34?" "Thirty-six," said Queeg. De Vriess knew this. He also knew Queeg's precedence number, his class standing, and several other facts about him. But it was a nice point of etiquette to simulate ignorance. It was a courtesy, too, to place Queeg by mistake in an earlier class; it implied that Queeg was obtaining a command for which he was rather young. "They're moving you fellows up now pretty fast.") In the screenplay, Queeg states in his wardroom meeting with the Caine's officers on the day he took command of the ship in Peal Harbor, that he had spent the previous seven years (1936-43) serving at sea in the Atlantic, which included the first two years of the war. ("I've had seven tough years in the Atlantic. Believe you me they made the last two mighty interesting. The way those subs ganged up on us I thought they had it in for me personally.") He later also tells Maryk and Keefer that he had been "a lowly Ensign on a cruiser" at the time of the stolen cheese incident in 1937.
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At the end when Captain DeVrees comes on board his new ship, he should have stopped at the gangway, saluted the flag, saluted the OOD (Officer on Deck) and asked for permission to come aboard.
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The Caine is constantly referred to as a minesweeper. All exterior shots show 3-5 inch guns on deck. Minesweepers did not have that kind of armament. Old destroyers did.
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During the trial, Queeg is said to have "served over 8 years", and later "a 14 year unblemished record." This would more appropriately have been referred to as "over 8 years of Sea Service" (the total combined time served on ships at sea during various deployments, for which a small stipend is paid for each day), out of his 14 years of total Navy service time. It is normal to have shore postings during a career, thus making up for the other 6 years of total service time.
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Miscellaneous 

At the end of the film, text on the screen reads: "The dedication of this film is simple.... to the United States Navy". The use of the word "simple" in this way suggests that the producers think the U.S. Navy is a 'simple' organization.
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Incorrectly regarded as a goof: The action dispatch message the Caine receives to escort Marines into battle is correct in stating "You will escort landing craft to 1,000 yards 'OF' beach" (instead of 1,000 yards 'OFF' beach). The many definitions of the word 'of' includes: 'expressing the relationship between a direction (the place the Caine will be when it reaches a spot 1,000 yards from the beach) and a point of reference' (the beach).
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Revealing mistakes 

When Queeg re-enacts ladling the strawberries from the bucket, he uses sand instead. Each scoop evenly fills the ladle to the top, i.e. there's no mounding. Strawberries wouldn't settle like sand, so a serving would have taken much more volume from the can. 24 servings took 3 quarts. If even a little bit had mounded up on each serving, the can would have been empty. Since no one, to this point, ever actually confirmed there were any strawberries left, it's strange that no one provided Queeg with such a reasonable explanation as to where the strawberries went.
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The Jones, the ship the Caine is trying to beat back into port, is plainly shown trailing behind the Caine, as seen from the latter's port side. Yet, when Maryk tells Keith, "The Jones never saw the day she could beat us," the two men are looking forward off the port side, which indicates that the Jones had to be ahead of the Caine. Also, no ship is seen behind them, though the Jones and several others had been shown behind, just moments before.
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Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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