Caine Mutiny - 1954

Written 2002

I'd pit Jose Ferrer's lawyer Greenwald (the defense counsel in THE CAINE MUTINY) all by himself against the three attorneys of A FEW GOOD MEN. That Cruise/Nicholson film has many redeeming features, but it is rather shy about the issues of shared responsibility and what purpose authority (good, bad, or insane) serves. The CAINE MUTINY goes after the matter head on, and doesn't get lost hero-worshipping the attorneys (like FEW GOOD MEN does). Bogart is excellent as the Caine's captain, and Fred MacMurray smiles and charms his way perfectly in the role of Tom Keefer. Which one of them is the real coward? Van Johnson is also very good as Maryk, the officer that subverts his captains authority in the middle of a typhoon.

The film, despite the very good acting of the leads and the tight, snappy courtroom section, is burdened with a slow-moving romantic subplot. It is as if some other film somehow was sandwiched into the actual movie. There is also the very old-fashioned special effects during the typhoon, which stand out badly. They may have been cutting-edge in 1954, but versus the computer-generated illusions of today they simply look too much like toy model boats.

Regardless of the dated visuals and romance, this tale is still a remarkable movie. By the time Attorney Greenwald drunkenly thunders out the REAL judgment at the end, you find the "heroes" are not necessarily heroes, just suckers (if not worse). And Bogart's pathetic and ridiculous Captain Queeg is the... well, you have to see the film.

Original page 2002 | Updated Jan 2014

You will see Amazon links on this web site because I am an Amazon affiliate. I earn from qualifying purchases.

Amazon FreeTime Unlimited Free Trial

This Was Hollywood: Forgotten Stars and Stories

From former screen legends who have faded into obscurity to new revelations about the biggest movie stars, Valderrama unearths the most fascinating little-known tales from the birth of Hollywood through its Golden Age.

This Was Hollywood: Forgotten Stars and Stories (Turner Classic Movies)

What's Recent


Winner of the 2020 Peter C. Rollins Book Award

Longlisted for the 2020 Moving Image Book Award by the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation

Named a 2019 Richard Wall Memorial Award Finalist by the Theatre Library Association

The Brothers Mankiewicz: Hope, Heartbreak, and Hollywood Classics (Hollywood Legends Series)