120. The Caine Mutiny (1954)

Caine

*The Warlock is on the ground in front of the door. He’s wearing a black wifebeater, jeans, white sneakers gargoyle shades and an NCIS hat. Neyzor Blades walks in the door wearing a black and white striped dress with flip flops. She looks down and grunts*

Neyz: What the hell are you doing?

Warlock: Resting.

Neyz: HERE you’re resting?

Warlock: Yeah.

*Neyz kicks him*

Neyz: Get off the god damn floor.

Warlock: Ow hey, fine.

*Warlock crawls toward the coych and climbs up it. Neyz sits in the recliner*

Neyz: What movie are we watching?

Warlock: The Caine Mutiny.

Neyz: What is that?

Warlock: World War 2 movie where a mutiny takes place aboard a ship.

Neyz: So an actual Navy movie?

Warlock: Yes, apart of NCIS Appreciation Month.

*Warlock settles himself*

Warlock: So let’s start The Caine Mutiny

 

*The Warlock reads the tag-line*

Warlock: “When a US Naval captain shows signs of mental instability that jeopardizes the ship, the first officer relieves him of command and faces court martial for mutiny.”

Neyz: But he’s mentally…not okay.

 

*Opening credits and graphic “There has never been a mutiny in a ship of the United States Navy. The truths of this film lie not in its incidents but in the way a few men meet the crisis of their lives. The time – World War 2*

Warlock: So they’re telling us its all bullshit, wonderful.

 

*The graduating class at Annapolis  is greeted by an Admiral who says they’re in for the fight of their lives at war*

Warlock: My grandfather was apart of that.

 

*Willie (Robert Francis) is met by his mother (Katherine Warren) and Uncle Lloyd (Dayton Lummis). They congratulate him. He tries to blow off the party thrown for him but can’t. May Wynn (herself) sings to the various sailors at the Speakeasy*

Warlock: Hey Neyz, wanna hop on the cornet?

Neyz: Pfft.

 

*May is mad that Willie blew her off and he said he had to. He orders her a drink and says he’s leaving Sunday. She’s mad he didn’t introduce her. She’s jealous that his mom gets all the attention. He says he loves her*

Warlock: Oh mush mush….

 

*She storms off in a huff, next frame is at a dock overlooking a ship. George the driver wishes Willie well. His mom is worried and hands him 100 dollars. Willie says goodbye and leaves. Next frame is Pearl Harbor. Willie takes a skiff to a battleship*

Warlock: That skiff won best supporting actor.

 

*Willie looks at all the rugged sailors aboard the Caine and is shocked. Steam blows and Willie falls into Lt. Keefer (Fred MacMurray). Meatball (Lee Marvin) and Horrible (Claude Akins) are carrying pipes*

Warlock: Look, a young Lee Marvin

 

*Willie is introduced to the X.O. Lt Steve Maryk (Van Johnson).  Maryk takes Willie to meet the captain.  The captain is DeVriess (Tim Tully) who’s shirtless in his quarters. He asks for his orders and Willie hands them to him. DeVriess asks if he’s disappointed to be on a mine-sweeper and Willie says yes. DeVriess says he’s in the junkyard navy and “war is hell”*

Warlock: True, true.

 

*Willie meets Ensign Barney Harding (Jerry Paris). Keefer shows them the ship and says they haven’t sweeped a single mine. Keefer has Harding and Willie climb the mast. Harding says “I have a wife and a kid who I’m fond of, I’ll never see them again*

Neyz: Haha.

 

*They make it to the top and Keefer yells “Well done!” Harding says he’s about to be sick..Harding pukes (off-screen) in Willie’s hat. Next frame is lunch with the Captain and crew. Keefer says they’re outcasts and Maryk says “Here we go again.” DeVriess pulls out a telegram and says he can transfer to the Admiral’s staff away from fighting or stay on the Caine. Willie says he’ll stay on board, Keefer says he’ll regret it*

Warlock: There would be no movie.

 

*The Captain orders minesweeping drills. DeVriess says that was the lousiest performance he’s ever seen. Meatball drops a sweep in the water and Maryk swims for it despite Meatball’s warning that there are sharks in the water*

Warlock: Jaws won’t come out for another 20 plus years, they’re safe.

 

*They pull Maryk to safety with the sweep they dropped but Willie falls in. He swims up and DeVriess yells at them. Willie goes to dry off and he passes by Keefer who is typing out a report and says its his novel. Next day he gets a letter from May who says she’s sorry for ignoring him*

Warlock: At least its not a Dear John letter.

 

*Meatball says officers all think they’re a 5-star admiral*

Warlock: Heh.

 

*Willie misplaced an action dispatch and DeVriess yells at him. Willie reads the report and it says he has a careless approach to light duties. He complains that everyone slacks off on the ship, why is he singled out. DeVriess then has him read the dispatch he misplaced, he’s being relieved of command. Next week Lt Commander Philip Francis Queeg (Humphrey Bogart) takes over. Willie feels a lot better*

Warlock: Jesus.

 

*Queeg takes command on orders by Admiral Whitfield. DeVriess is relieved of command*

Warlock: Willie celebrates.

 

*DeVriess prepares to leave and Meatball hands him a gift watch. He says he can’t accept it because its against regulations. He’s officially whistled off the ship then picks up the watch “Whataya know, somebody left this watch around. A shame to leave it here”

Warlock: Haha you old dog you.

 

*DeVriess sales off into the sunset and everyone is sad. Willie asks what’s wrong with everyone and Maryk says he’ll get it eventually. Queeg requests a senior officer’s meeting and he meets with everyone. He wants everything by the book no matter what. Maryk says its been a long time since anyone did things by the book. Seaman Urban (Don Dubbins) delivers a message and his shirt isn’t tucked in. Willie is the new morale officer and his duty to make sure everyone’s shirt is tucked in. If he sees another shirt untucked then he holds everyone responsible. Their orders are to proceed to Area X-Ray to tow targets. He says to Willie he wants everyone clean shaven and with a crew cut by midnight. After he leaves, Willie says “He’s certainly navy.” Keefer “So was Captain Bligh*

Warlock: Midnight?

Neyz: Who’s Captain Bligh?

Warlock: He was captain of the Bounty which was mutinied.

 

*The Caine is conducting exercises when Willie is called to the bridge on the double*

Neyz: Ruh roh!

 

*A seaman has his shirt untucked and Queeg blames Willie for it. Queeg gives him shit for it then gives Keefer shit for it as well. The ship is also going in circles and he threatens to court martial the sailors if they deviate course. While he’s screaming at Keefer and Willie the ship nearly runs over one of the targets. Queeg blames the sailors for steering even though he told them to hold course*

Warlock: This is the first movie I’ve seen Bogart in, and he’s a heel.

 

*Maryk says they ran over their tow line. Queeg says it was an accident. He tells Keefer the towline was defective and the target is adrift. Keefer says he’ll never get away with it*

Warlock: Foreshadowing.

 

*Queeg apologizes to Willie for bawling him out*

Neyz: Cause HE fucked up.

 

*Keefer brings a telegram to Willie that they’re going home. Queeg is in trouble for the towline mishap and Willie is about to see May*

Warlock: Hot damn.

 

*Scenery shot of the Golden Gate bridge*

Neyz: Golden Gate?

Warlock: Indeed.

 

*Willie looks for his mother and May and they’re both there. He hugs his mother and May is distraught. He introduces May as his “friend”

Warlock: Ouch.

 

*Willie gets a call from May and he’s on his way. He tells his mother he likes May and she asks if he’s in love with her. He says he doesn’t know but he’s been thinking of her. He says he has to meet her parents. She makes him promise not to marry her without saying so and he says sure. Next frame is horeseback riding at Yosemite*

Neyz: I wanna go horseback riding at Yosemite.

 

*May and Willie share bonding moments as someone shouts “Let the fire fall”*

Warlock: Some idiot’s trying to set the mountain on fire.

 

*Willie and May kiss, Warlock makes fun of it*

Neyz: Hahaha

 

*Next day at breakfast, Willis is distraught. He doesn’t know if he should get married or not. He asks her if she wants to get married and she says no. She says his mother won’t approve*

Warlock: Ohhhhhh shut down!

 

*She runs off crying and Willie has to ship out. He runs on board and Keefer is there to greet him. He asks where Queeg is and he’s on board shouting orders into a megaphone. Willie says Keefer made a mistake and Keefer says its the navy that made the mistake*

Warlock: Wompwompwomppppp

 

*Queeg says they were there for a radar installation. He says the ship was badly trained and it won’t happen again. Queeg says they’re headed for combat*

Warlock: Oh this is gonna end well.

 

*Queeg gives the signal for all hands to don battle gear. One sailor “We don’t have to shoot the Japs, we can scare em to death.” Stock footage of real combat is shown*

Warlock: Good ol stock footage, Mr. America would love this.

 

*The Caine goes to aid a ship and Maryk thinks they’re about to overshoot everyone so he kills the engines. Queeg wonders what’s going on and Maryk says they were closing too fast. Queeg says to resume course. Maryk figures out they’re going too far ahead of the attack group and to slow down.  Queeg asks why they’re slowing down and says to let them go and throw a dye marker. Maryk protests but they do it anyway. Maryk says they can’t leave them behind and Queeg is relieving him of conn. Keefer asks if they’re running away and Maryk talks him out of saying anything. Keefer asks Willie what he thinks of Queeg now and Willie says there must be a reason for this. Keefer says sarcastically that he has a reason*

Warlock: Coward!!!!

 

*Keefer and the crew sing yellowstain blues. Harding is playing the ukulele*

Warlock: Haha

 

*Maryk walks by and tells everyone to knock it off. Keefer calls Queeg “Old Yellowstain” and Maryk tells him never to call him that again. Queeg wants a meeting with everyone. In the meeting room Queeg says he’s not feeling wall. He says he’s not the monster they think he is, he’s got a wife, kid and dog. He tries to defend his actions by saying they’re a family and babbles on about helping each other. Nobody wants to say anything. He leaves and tells Paynter (Arthur Franz) to get some asprin because his headache is worse*

Neyz: Wait, what happened?

Warlock: He ran away from combat and now he’s giving a sob story.

 

*Keefer says after Queeg leaves that this is the “pregnant pause”

Neyz: Ya don’t say.

 

*Willie is distraught and Maryk looks at the plaque dedicated to Arthur Caine who died in combat*

Warlock: Nice imagery.

Neyz: One is a genius, the other’s just stupid.

 

*Keefer cracks jokes and Willie says he ALMOST feels sorry for him. Maryk says that was the closest to an apology as they’ll get. Keefer says the captain may be unbalanced, Maryk scoffs. Maryk tells Willie to leave but Willie wants to stay. Keefer says Queeg is losing it “Forget about my turning yellow, my dog likes me”

Neyz: Hahahhaa

 

*Willie sides with Keefer but Maryk insists that Queeg is okay. Maryk says to take it to the ship’s medic and Keefer says he can’t, without Maryk’s support the testimony wouldn’t fly. Keefer says he’s a mental case and Maryk says one more word, he’s going on report*

Warlock: Who’s the real paranoid one?

 

*Maryk starts writing a report that Queeg may be mentally disturbed. He writes of an incident where they were showing a movie in the forecastle. Queeg shouts to stop the movie and demands to know why they were showing it. The guy running the projector says he assumed he didn’t want to see it himself. Queeg goes berserk and says no more movies period for 30 days. Maryk says morale is sinking and the officers are going through the motions. He writes and we get a flashback that Queeg ordered an instructional drill. Queeg wants a man reported for not wearing a life jacket even though he is. He wants another one reported for not wearing a helmet even though they are. He says there will be no liberty for the crew for 3 months*

Warlock: Yeah that’s ridiculous.

 

*Maryk writes that another boat sent them a gallon of frozen strawberries. Maryk was talking with Willie and Willie says he was on his side once, but now he sees what Keefer is talking about. Suddenly the steward says the captain has called a meeting, at 1 AM, to discusss the strawberries. Queeg “I suppose you’re wondering why I called the meeting”

Warlock: Yeah I do…asshole.

 

*Queeg sent Whittaker (James Edwards) for some ice cream and strawberries as a midnight snack but they were out of strawberries. Queeg is conducting a witch hunt to find out who had the strawberries after dinner. Keefer had 3, Maryk had 2, Harding had 2, Carmody (Joe Haworth) had 2, Willie had 2, Payntner had 2, Dickson (Whit Bissell) had 2, Jorgensen (James Best) had 2,  Rabbit (Herbert Anderson) had 2 portions.  Maryk says there is a quart of sand in the gallon jug, Queeg wants to know how there are a quart of strawberries missing.  They’re to lead an investigation right this second on the whereabouts. After Queeg leaves they all complain. Keefer “If only the strawberries were poisoned, all our problems would have been solved*

Warlock: Hahahahaha.

 

*Keefer and Maryk type out the report that nothing was learned about the strawberries. Queeg says its unacceptable. Keefer and Maryk were up half the night and the cooks told them nothing. Queeg says someone has made a duplicate key to the icebox. He says to take all the keys on board and strip everyone of their clothes. Then match up every single key on board and whichever fits into the icebox is the culprit*

Neyz: Is he fucking serious?

Warlock: Yes, that’s the worst part.

 

*Maryk and Keefer are sent to hunt for every key on board, Keefer pulls Maryk aside and says this is it, Queeg has gone far enough. Maryk is confused about the strawberries and Keefer asks is it really worth turning the ship upside down for.”

Warlock: Yeah really.

 

*Maryk begins to believe Keefer that Queeg is nuts. Keefer asks if Maryk is familiar with Article 184 of navy regulations. Maryk says not really. Keefer says “It is conceivable that the most unusual and extraordinary circumstances may arise in which the relief from duty of a commanding officer by a subordinate become necessary. Either by placing him under arrest or on the sick list. Such action shall never be taken without approval of the navy department except when it is impracticable because of the delay involved.:

Neyz: Mutiny!

 

*Keefer tells Maryk to memorize it and he leaves. Next frame is all the sailors shaking and quivering as the keys are taken to the captain. Meatball and Horrible make fun of the proceedings and Maryk tells them to pipe down. Meanwhile Harding is leaving the ship because his wife is seriously ill. Willie, Keefer and Maryk wish him well. Harding says not to tell anyone but there is no missing key, he saw the mess boys eating them but didn’t want to rat them out. He doesn’t want the officers to tell anyone until he reaches shore*

Warlock: Yeah, knowing Queeg he’ll probably swim after him.

 

*Harding leaves the ship and Maryk says Keefer was right about Queeg. Admiral Halsey is at port and Maryk wants to take Keefer to see him after the key investigation is over. Keefer is in and Willie goes along with it. Next frame is the 3 officers following Lt Jones to go see Halsey. On the deck of Halsey’s ship, Keefer has second thoughts. He says the Caine is such a freakshow Halsey will never believe him. Keefer goes on how if they’re wrong, they blow their careers. They leave without saying anything to Halsey*

Warlock: An opportunity lost.

 

*Willie asks Maryk what to do since Keefer chickened out. Jones tells them to hurry back to the Caine with a storm coming. Back on the Caine, its chaos as they prepare for the storm. The Caine is knocked around from pillar to post. Maryk says they need more knots to outrun the storm. Queeg agrees and calls the engine room for more power. He says to everyone to put on life jackets. Maryk says to corral the depth charges so they don’t go off. Stillwell (Todd Karns) says Keefer gave him orders to turn them off already. Queeg goes berserk and says to Maryk to put Stillwell on report for insolence and neglect of duty. He calls him an idiot and has him banished from the bridge. Someone says Stillwell is their best man and Queeg yells at him too before they suddenly lose power*

Warlock: If he called me an idiot like that, he’d be overboard.

Neyz: That’s why you’re not in the navy.

 

*The Caine is beginning to tip and Maryk shouts to Queeg to give orders but Queeg doesn’t say anything. Queeg hesitates but finally gives the order to switch position. He sends Willie out to radio for help. Maryk says they can’t continue like this or they’ll tip over. Willie comes back and says the radars are jammed and there’s no sign of any other ships nearby*

Warlock: If there were any other ships, they’d be getting rocked and rolled too.

 

*Maryk shouts to do something but Queeg panics. The storm destroys most of the deck and Maryk takes control, telling Stillwell to bring the ship about, Maryk pilots it manually. Queeg snaps out of his trance and tells him to maintain course. Maryk shouts that they’re in trouble and Queeg says if he disobeys one more time, he’s off the bridge. Queeg tells Stillwell to move left but Stillwell hesitates. Maryk asks Willie to note the time and he FINALLY calls upon Article 184 to have him removed from duty. Queeg ignores him but Stillwell asks Willie what to do. Queeg says Maryk is under arrest and confined to quarters. Maryk tells Stillwell to ignore him and maintain his course. Stillwell asks Willie what to do and Willie says to listen to Maryk. Queeg says Willie is under arrest too. Maryk calls for all officers to report to the bridge. Keefer and the others show up, Maryk tells Keefer he’s in command now. Queeg says they’ll all hang for this but Maryk ignores him. Maryk and Queeg stare holes at each other as the ship sails to safety*

Warlock: What a showdown….

Neyz: Hardly.

 

*Next frame has the Caine sailing back to port for the Court Martial.  Willie gets a call from May who told him Harding called her and said Willie is in trouble. Willie tells her he loves her and he’ll never forget her*

Warlock: He just broke up with her…

Neyz: Wow….really?

 

*Lt Barney Greenwald (Jose Ferrer) greets Maryk, Willie and Keefer. Barney says he’s read the report and he personally says what Maryk did stinks*

Warlock: Everything stinks.

 

*Keefer says they need another lawyer and Barney says 8 other guys turned them down. He says they all have a very good chance of being hanged*

Warlock: That’s reassuring.

 

*They give their side of the story to Barney and Keefer says Maryk saved the ship. Barney grills Keefer and asks if he’ll go to the witness stand saying he suggested Queeg be relieved of duty. Keefer asks why and Barney says under Article 186, if he testifies for Maryk and Maryk loses, Keefer hangs too. Keefer retreats to the hallway as Maryk talks to Barney who says he’d rather prosecute, but he’ll take it. Maryk asks what he’ll plead and Barney will say not guilty*

Warlock: Noooo, say guilty, really fool em.

 

*The prosecutor is Lt Commander Challee (EG Marshall)

Warlock: Recognize him from 12 Angry Men?

Neyz: Oh yeah.

Warlock: He seemed to have a thing for court based movies.

 

*Challee asks guilty or not guilty, Maryk says not guilty all around. Challee intends to prove that Queeg is sane and this was mutiny. The board (John Tomeck, Steve Pendleton, Richard Norris, Tyler McVey, Paul McGuire and Kenneth MacDonald) listens as Challee calls Willie has his first witness. Challee rips him and his testimony apart. When Challee is done, Barney cross-examines and asks if Willie has heard the term “Old Yellowstain” The court stenographer (Don Keefer) asks if he heard it correctly. Barney says yes. Willie says he’s heard the nickname before. He says it was Queeg’s nickname and Challee objects saying that’s an unnecessary personal attack.  The judge sides with Challee. Willie is excused and Stillwell takes the stand. Challee grills him, then Meatball, then finally Keefer. Keefer says he went with the flow and suddenly does a 180 and says that Maryk was the one responsible all along. Mary writes that Keefer’s lying to Barney. Barney refuses to cross-examine and Keefer leaves*

Neyz: What a dick!

Warlock: Wow, the coward.

 

*Dickson is called to the stand.  He says from a psychiatric standpoint, Maryk had no right to relieve Queeg. Dickson admits the captain was under a lot of stress and Barney grills him. Barney gets Dickson to unknowingly admit that Queeg’s behavior was off base and was paranoid. Dickson protests that being paranoid isn’t a disabling illness and Barney does a good job convincing the board that it is. Challee cross-examines Dickson and makes him look good. Maryk says he’s in trouble, Challee smiles. Maryk is next to testify. He tells his story and Challee rips his personal character apart. Challee hints that Maryk was the one that crumbled under pressure, not Queeg. Barney has no cross-examination questions. Maryk thinks he’s done for but Barney says don’t worry about it*

Warlock: He looks ready for the chair.

 

*Queeg takes the stand and gives his story. He buries Maryk and Willie but Barney cross examines and brings up the tow line cutting incident. Challee objects but Barney says he needs the board to hear this.  Queeg bullshits and said he wasn’t distracted and caught the tow-line in time. Barney counters by saying he was too busy yelling at Horrible to notice they were going in a circle. He then brings up dropping the yellow dye marker and sailing away. Challee objects that he’s trying to make Queeg look like a coward. Barney counters by saying he’s not saying Queeg is a coward, but there has to be some explanation for this.  Barney says that every time there’s a mistake, the officers are disloyal according to Queeg. Queeg says not all of them, just Willie and Maryk. Barney then pulls out a fitness report Queeg himself wrote about Maryk a month before the mutiny. Queeg’s report states Maryk is one of his best and most loyal officers.  Barney then asks about the key incident and Queeg starts getting agitated. He says there was a key but the officers were too disloyal to find it. Barney brings up Harding admitting the mess boys ate the strawberries and there is no key, Queeg maintains that there is. Barney asks if Harding should testify and Queeg pulls out the steel balls he’s been carrying the whole movie. He says Harding is a liar and disloyal as well and gets even more agitated. Queeg then goes on a rant that pretty much sinks himself that even Challee is looking at him funny*

Warlock: He just buried himself.

 

*One by one everyone stares at Queeg and Barney says no further questions. The court is closed. The next frame is everyone celebrating and saluting Barney. They have won. Keefer walks in and Maryk stonefaces him. Maryk calls him gutless and Keefer says he’s happy for how it turned out. Maryk says don’t worry about it. Meanwhile Willie goes to tell everyone he’s getting married when Barney stumbles in. Barney says he feels bad about Queeg because he personally still feels Queeg was right. He torpedoed him because he had to, not because he wanted to. He says they’re all guilty of mutiny and he says he left out a fact that would have sunk them, that after the Yellowstain incident Queeg tried to apologize but no one wanted to listen to him. Barney says if they gave Queeg a vote of confidence then maybe he would have been more lenient when the typhoon struck. Barney says Maryk was the wrong man to be put on trial,  Keefer should have been.  Barney wants Keefer to fess up but Keefer says Barney is rolling. Maryk tries to talk Barney out of it but Barney ignores him and calls Keefer gutless for his testimony that almost sunk Maryk. Barney wants to drink a toast to Keefer. He says that this was all planned by him and managed to keep himself clean, he’ll go on to fame and fortune as an author while Maryk may never recover. Barney throws his drink in Keefer’s face. Barney says if Keefer wants to do anything about it, he’ll be outside. He’s a lot drunker than Keefer so it’ll be a fair fight.*

Warlock: Now THAT was powerful.

 

*Everyone leaves the party staring at Keefer, leaving him behind. Next frame is Willie with his mother and May. He kisses her goodbye as he prepares to leave on the Caine. DeVriess is once again captain and Willie is in Keefer’s old spot. They shove off and the movie ends with a graphic says the movie is dedicated to the US Navy*

Warlock: Wonderful.

 

Neyzor Blades’ Assessment: I give it a 6

The Warlock’s Assessment: I give it a 7, that was pretty powerful at the end.

Final Grade: 6.5 out of 10 – Very good.

*Warlock rises from the couch*

Warlock: That was pretty good. No gore, no special effects, just story and drama. Wonderful acting all around. That about wraps up another goodtastic adventure, have a pleasant evening.

 

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