Humphrey Bogart gives another top rated powerful performance in this classic drama with a first rate professional cast including Fred MacMurray, Van Johnson, Jose Ferrer, E.G. Marshall, Tom Tully, Lee Marvin, Robert Francis, Claude Atkins, and Arthur Franz.
Captain Phillip Queeg (Humphrey Bogart) is in command of the USS Caine. Very unpopular with the men he gradually becomes more and more paranoid and his chief officers believe he is no longer competent to be in charge of the ship. His Executive Officer Lt Steve Maryk (Van Johnson) suspects that Queeg is a very sick man and not fit to command the ship due to his wild and erratic behaviour. Lt Tom Keefer (Fred MacMurray) feels the same way but is not prepared to make a stand against the Captain. During a violent storm Queeg loses his nerve and Maryk takes over the command only to be accused by Queeg of mutiny. ("Mr Maryk, if you question my decision once more I'll order you off this bridge". - Bogart to Van Johnson). Maryk does take over the ship against Queeg's wishes and when back on land charges of mutiny are brought against him. The trial that follows forms the main focus of the film (and for me it was the most interesting) with some very tense and impressively acted dramatic scenes showing Bogart at his best. Lt Barney Greenwald (Jose Ferrer) is engaged as defending counsel for Maryk who is being charged with mutiny. However, things begin to look very bad for Maryk when Tom Keefer is called to give evidence and fails to support him. Some other witnesses are also unable (or reluctant) to show that Queeg was unfit to command the ship and Greenwald appears to be losing his case. Then Captain Queeg is called to the stand and has to face some strong questioning from Greenwald leading to the dramatic climax of the film.
Some favourite lines from the film:
Humphrey Bogart (to crew): "You people think you're very clever, but you're not fooling me".
Bogart (to Van Johnson): "Mr Maryk, you may tell the crew for me there are four ways of doing things aboard my ship. The right way, the wrong way, the navy way, and my way - they do things my way we'll get along".
Johnson (to Fred MacMurray): "I don't get it. Is the captain off his head or isn't he? Is this record I've kept correct or not?".
Johnson (to Bogart): "Captain, I'm sorry, but you're a sick man. I'm relieving you as captain of this ship under article 184".
Bogart (to officers): "You'll all hang for conspiracy for mutiny".
Bogart (on witness stand): "Ah .... but the strawberries! That's where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, and with geometric logic, that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox did exist".
Jose Ferrer (to the officers): "Sure, I got a guilty conscience. I defended you Steve because I thought the wrong man was on trial. So I torpedoed Queeg for you. I had to torpedo him and I feel sick about it".
Bogart was nominated for the Best Actor "Oscar" for his performance in this film but was unfortunately beaten by Marlon Brando in "On the Waterfront". The film received a nomination for Best Picture but the award again went to "On the Waterfront". Actor Tom Tully was nominated as Best Supporting Actor for his role as Captain DeVriess but the award went to Edmond O'Brien for "The Barefoot Contessa". Even though it failed to win any Academy Awards "The Caine Mutiny" remains a very important dramatic and exciting film and the acting from all the principals was excellent. Another memorable Bogart winner that should not be missed.