Black SplatThe Caine Mutiny (1954)
   

"They were all disloyal, I wanted to run the ship properly... They fought me at every turn."

The Caine Mutiny - Captain Queeg gives testimony

Description: Humphrey Bogart as Lt. Cmdr. Philip Francis Queeg makes mutinous accusations about his crew of the minesweeper USS Caine in the motion picture The Caine Mutiny (1954).

Lt. Cmdr. Philip Francis Queeg is the captain of the USS Caine, a decrepit, 20-year old converted destroyer operating in the Pacific ocean as a minesweeper during World War II.

"She's not a battleship or a carrier; the Caine is a beaten-up tub. After 18 months of combat it takes 24 hours a day just to keep her in one piece."

Queeg is not as experienced as his predecessor Captain DeVriess (Tom Tully), but like good sailors the crew respects the chain of command and their new Captain. That is, until Queeg begins to show signs of mental instability. The seeds of Queeg's possible insanity are planted by Lt. Tom Keefer (Fred MacMurray), a writer in civilian life who dislikes his new commanding officer, referring to him as Captain Bligh.

The Caine Mutiny - Queeg addresses his crew

When Queeg reports for duty on the USS Caine, he tells his first officer, "Mr. Maryk, you may tell the crew for me that 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, and we'll get along." Queeg adds, "Aboard my ship, excellent performance is standard, standard performance is sub-standard, and sub-standard performance is not permitted to exist - that, I warn you."

"This is the captain speaking. Some misguided sailors on this ship still think they can pull a fast one on me. Well, they're very much mistaken. Since you've taken this course, the innocent will be punished with the guilty. There will be no liberty for any member of this crew for three months. I will not be made a fool of! Do you hear me?"

During a typhoon, Queeg's poor seamanship nearly capsizes the USS Caine. Seeing the only way to rescue the ship, Lt. Steve Maryk (Van Johnson) relieves Queeg of his command placing him on the sick list for reason of insanity and saves the vessel.

The situation results in a court marital of Lt. Steve Maryk and Ensign Willie Keith (Robert Francis) who must prove they acted in the best interest of the ship and of the Navy by relieving Queeg of his command.

At the conclusion of the trial, the defense attorney Lt Barney Greenwald (Jose Ferrer) reluctantly proves that Queeg is, indeed, unstable and the two officers accused of mutiny are found innocent of all charges. But the whole situation leaves a stain in the hearts and souls of all who watched as Queeg struggled on the stand to prove his sanity.

At one point in the trial, to show proof of his instability, a Navy doctor testifies that Queeg's personality traits included, "Rigidity of personality, feelings of persecution, unreasonable suspicion, a mania for perfection, and a neurotic certainty that he is always in the right."

When it came time to defend himself, Captain Queeg, while fondling steel balls in his hand, offers such rambling testimony as:

"Aha, the strawberries, that’s where I had them. They laughed at me. But I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt and with geometric logic that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox did exist. I’d have produced that key if they did’t pull the USS Caine out of action."

After the trial, defense attorney Lt. Barney Greenwald accuses Lt. Tom Keefer for his part in the whole mutiny mess.

The Caine Mutiny - Lt. Greenwald offer his opinion

"You know something... When I was studying law, and Mr. Keefer here was writing his stories, and you, Willie, were tearing up the playing fields of dear old Princeton, who was standing guard over this fat, dumb, happy country of ours, eh? Not us. Oh, no, we knew you couldn't make any money in the service. So who did the dirty work for us? Queeg did! And a lot of other guys. Tough, sharp guys who didn't crack up like Queeg."

"You didn't approve of his conduct as an officer. He wasn't worthy of your loyalty. So you turned on him. You ragged him. You made up songs about him. If you'd given Queeg the loyalty he needed, do you suppose the whole issue would have come up in the typhoon?"

"Ah, you're learning, Willie! You're learning that you don't work with a captain because you like the way he parts his hair. You work with him because he's got the job or you're no good! Well, the case is over. You're all safe. It was like shooting fish in a barrel."

"And now we come to the man who *should've* stood trial. The Caine's favorite author. The Shakespeare whose testimony nearly sunk us all. Tell 'elm, Keefer! Queeg was sick, he couldn't help himself. But you, you're *real* healthy. Only you didn't have one tenth the guts that he had."

"I want to drink a toast to you, Mr. Keefer. From the beginning, you hated the Navy. You thought up the whole idea, and you kept your shirts all starched and clean. Steve Mary will be remembered as a mutineer—but you! You’All publish a novel, you’All make a million bucks, you’All marry a big movie star, and, for the rest of your life, you’All have to live with your conscience, if you have any. Now, here’s to the real author of the 'The Caine Mutiny.' Here’s to you, Mr. Keefer. [throws Champagne in Keefer's face] If you wanna do anything about it, I'll be outside. I'm a lot drunker than you are, so it'll be a fair fight."

Earlier, Lt. Greenwald sarcastically quipped, "Too bad we can't use you as an expert on psychiatry Mr. Keefer, after all, you made the diagnosis."


The Caine Mutiny - Movie Poster

The Caine Mutiny - Movie Poster


 
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