"The Caine Mutiny" Is Released

The Caine Mutiny is a 1954 drama film set during World War II, directed by Edward Dmytryk and produced by Stanley Kramer.

It stars Humphrey Bogart, Jose Ferrer, Van Johnson and Fred MacMurray, and is based on the 1951 Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Herman Wouk The Caine Mutiny. The film depicts a mutiny aboard a fictitious World War II U.S. Navy destroyer minesweeper, the Caine, and the subsequent court-martial of two officers.

Robert Francis is at the center of the story as Willis Keith, a newly minted ensign assigned to the U.S.S. Caine. Keith has an uneasy relationship with his skipper, Lt. Comdr. DeVries (Tom Tully), partly through his own ineptitude and as a result of his disapproval of the slovenly way DeVries seems to run the ship. He looks forward to the arrival of a new captain, Lt. Comdr. Philip Francis Queeg, portrayed by Humphrey Bogart. Queeg is a tough, no-nonsense veteran officer who turns the crew into proper sailors and the Caine into a tight ship, engendering resentment from some of the men and several of his officers. Queeg, a veteran of difficult years of service for too long, has insecurities about himself, his command, and his career that begin to manifest themselves as out-of-control spells of temper over small details that cause him to make mistakes. Lt. Keefer (Fred MacMurray), the glib-tongued communications officer, spots the signs of neurosis in the captain's behavior. When, because of Queeg's temper, the Caine steams over its own tow-line on a routine target-towing assignment, the captain is pushed into irrational behavior in trying to explain it away. When he leaves a Marine landing craft that the ship is escorting too far from the beach in the middle of combat, Queeg becomes almost irrational in trying to erase the seeming cowardice he has shown. The ship's dedicated first officer, Lt. Steve Maryk (Van Johnson), hears Keefer's suggestion that the captain may be mentally unbalanced, but does not entertain the thought until Queeg orders the ship turned upside down over pilfered strawberries. During a typhoon that threatens to sink the ship, Queeg's inability to deal with the crisis at hand forces Maryk to assume command, with Keith's support as officer-of-the-deck, thus bringing about the court martial of the two officers. Greenwald (Jose Ferrer), a pilot and lawyer in civilian life, reluctantly agrees to help them, mostly out of sympathy for the impossible predicament in which Maryk has found himself caught up. In testifying for the defense, Keefer covers up his role in fomenting the crisis, denying ever having suggested that the captain was unbalanced. Maryk comes off as sincere but hopelessly out-of-his-depth at the trial, and Keith too inexperienced and callow to have made the kinds of decisions forced on him. Finally, Queeg is called as a witness, and Greenwald destroys his credibility on the stand by going over each questionable incident, one by one, bringing out the officer's defensiveness until he finally reveals his instability. Greenwald confronts the Caine's officers at their "victory" party, criticizing them for their foul treatment of Queeg, and their failure to offer him the loyalty and support that he was entitled to as captain, and which would likely have averted his breakdown in the first place. ~ Bruce Eder, All Movie Guide