Movie Review: The Caine Mutiny (1954)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1954 military drama starring Humphrey Bogart and Fred MacMurray.

Synopsis: A World War II mine sweeper comes under the command of a by-the-book commander who quickly angers his fellow officers because of his obsessive and paranoid personality. When he freezes during a typhoon and puts his ship in danger, his first officer relieves him of command and faces mutiny charges as a result.

Review

This film came on one of our movie channels this afternoon and I ended up watching it while programming a computer for my daughter. I had heard of this film but, even though one of the starts (MacMurray) is from my home town, had never taken the time to watch it. After finally seeing it, I have to say it was a pretty intriguing movie.

I think the thing I liked about this movie was the way the ship's new commander (Bogart) is portrayed. There are a lot of things about him that are easy to dislike. But, as the movie later shows, his erratic behavior could be viewed in a couple different ways. From one perspective, it's easy to justify his crew. However, it can also be (successfully) argued he was a victim too.

For his part, MacMurray ended up being pretty memorable as Lt. Keefer. While the movie was primarily about the ship's commander and they strict way he ran things, MacMurray's character could also be described as the real villain, simply because he proved to be such a coward. He was quick to put the idea of mutiny in his crew members' heads but was just as quick to step away from it just enough to stay out of trouble. As a result of this, he was one of the least likable characters in this film.

Probably the only thing I would have changed with this movie is how the court martial was used. I don't normally like movies that rely heavily on flashbacks. But, in this case, I think the film would have been fun to watch if it would have focused on the court martial and told the story through the witnesses' testimony. However, even though I think this would have added some more mystery about what actually happened on board the ship, I also will say the movie was more than watchable the way it was filmed.

The Caine Mutiny (Combat Classics)

Nominated for seven Academy Awards® in 1954, including Best Picture and Best Actor, THE CAINE MUTINY is a classic film about the unstable Captain Queeg (Humphrey Bogart) and his...

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Final Opinion

This is a good war movie/courtroom drama. If you haven't taken the time to see it, I do recommend it.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 05/28/2016, StevenHelmer
 
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