[Movie Review] The Caine Mutiny

caine mutiny

Crazing Caine

After the success of The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca, Humphery Bogart could have had a solid career playing “Bogie” over and over again.  But the dude wanted to act and would constantly challenge himself.  I always press record on any Bogart movie I haven’t watched before and have been pleasantly surprised to see him play villains in films like The Two Ms. Carrolls and Conflict.  For The Caine Mutiny, Bogie steps it up further with a complex lead role that is neither the hero or the villain.

The film’s main protagonist is Ensign “Willie” Keith (Robert Francis), a US Naval Officer who reports to the USS Caine, a minesweeping vessel assigned to Pearl Harbor during World War II.  Keith doesn’t really care for Caine’s commander, whose laissez-faire attitude with the ship’s crew has allowed it to become unruly.

When the ship’s command is given to Lieutenant Commander Philip Queeg (Humphery Bogart), Keith is relieved to see his new boss immediately instill discipline and insist on everything done to Navy regulation. But he and Caine’s other officers soon discover Queeg’s micromanagement is a cover for his incompetence and cowardice.

Although the crew is able to see through Queeg’s facade, especially after he begins to blame them for his mistakes, with no substantial proof to present to the higher chain of command, so the officers must continue to let his incompetence slide.  But when Queeg’s paranoia places the ship and crew in jeopardy during a typhoon, 2nd in command, Lieutenant Steve Maryk (Van Johnson) and Keith relieve Queeg.  When Queeg regains command, he orders the Caine back to habour where now Maryk and Keith face a court-martial and possible death sentences for mutiny.

Watching Bogie shift his entire body language as brings Queeg’s inner struggles to the surface was a real treat.  At times the “old Bogie”, the Sam Spade or Philip Marlow, would come out with that hero swagger, then he would switch to a person someone who was completely unsure of himself.  As a viewer, I was questioning how far gone Queeg actually is. 

His performance earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Lead Actor (he lost to Marlon Brando in On The Water Front.  I guess I can see that.) despite already becoming seriously ill with throat cancer.  It is the first movie I’ve seen him in where he did not take a drag from a cigarette!

Speaking of drag… The only part of the movie that didn’t sit well with me was the awkward side plot where Keith has to choose between a girl he loves and… his Mom.  Oof.  I wish I was joking.  Apparently, the director, Edward Dmytryk, wanted a longer run time to better explore the complex characters from the novel the film is based on, but the studio insisted on no more than 2 hours.  So, perhaps this is a result of some compromises being made.

I enjoyed the rest though.  I am still impressed by how I’m able to suspend belief and get a thrill from watching a model boat in the bathtub get tossed around!  But I’m also the type of person who prefers the original special effects in Star Trek over the newer CG ones.  So your mileage may vary!

Both Fred MacMurray who plays the spineless one in the group, and Jose Ferrer as the lawyer who knows best are solid too.  And the shift in tone towards the end… well, you’re going to want to experience it for yourself.




  1. “I’m also the type of person who prefers the original special effects in Star Trek over the newer CG ones.”

    Argh don’t get me going like this!

    I will say this.

    I prefer watching the CG remastered Treks, and it’s possibly for novelty. It’s fresher to me. I have seen the originals so many times so I don’t mind the fresh look. Having said that, my biggest regret is donating all my Star Trek DVDs. I had both versions of the original series, because no matter what version I may feel like watching, I believe in owning the originals. But now I own neither. I have a lot of doner’s regret. I don’t recommend it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The Blu-rays I have allow you switch between the two version on the fly. The CG effects are well done and I enjoyed them all when I watched them the first time. Now, when I go back though I watch them with the original effects. It keeps me in the show for some reason.


  2. Good to hear Humphrey has some range – I had only seen him in the Falcon & Casablanca, so I see what you mean that he could have just kept cashing in on similar roles.
    Nice to hear he was interested in other challenges!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good one Mars. I like this one a lot. Fred Mac again shows what a good actor he is. He can play a prick.
    Onto Humph. This guy was just lights out good. He had the presence to do the hard boiled dick forever and always be watchable. People really don’t get past that label with him. He has a bunch of roles where he stepped outside of his comfort zone. This one is a good example. ‘Sierra Madras’ is another one. African Queen . I have ever told you I’m a big Bogie guy?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You have not! Sarah and I are both Bogie fans. I put his name into the PVR and record whatever comes up. I’ve been so impressed with his range considering I usually only think of him as Rick or Philip Marlowe. I need to watch Sierra Madras with fresh eyes. I haven’t seen it in about 20-ish years. We watched The African Queen last year. Good times. I’ve been a fan of Fred Mac since I was a kid. I loved the Flubber movies and Shaggy Dog. I guess I’ve always been into old movies!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You and Sarah are onto Bogie. He’s one of the
        Fred Mac in Double Indemnity is also very good. I think we talked about that one before. Yeah I remember Fred from all that tv stuff. Always a likable guy. Never got back to doing roles he did in film. Too bad, he was a talent.

        Liked by 1 person

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