The Caine Mutiny (film)
|The Caine Mutiny|
original film poster
|Directed by||Edward Dmytryk|
|Produced by||Stanley Kramer|
|Screenplay by||Stanley Roberts
|Based on||The Caine Mutiny
by Herman Wouk
|Music by||Max Steiner|
|Editing by||Henry Batista
William A. Lyon
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||124 minutes|
The Caine Mutiny is a 1954 American drama film set during World War II, directed by Edward Dmytryk and produced by Stanley Kramer. It stars Humphrey Bogart, José Ferrer, Van Johnson and Fred MacMurray, and is based on the 1951 Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Herman Wouk The Caine Mutiny. The film depicts a mutiny aboard a fictitious World War II U.S. Navy destroyer minesweeper, the USS Caine (DMS-18), and the subsequent court-martial of two officers.
Callow, rich Ensign Willis Seward "Willie" Keith (Robert Francis) reports for duty aboard the Caine, his first assignment. Homeported in Pearl Harbor, he is disappointed to find the Caine to be a small, battle-scarred destroyer-minesweeper. Its gruff captain, Lieutenant Commander William H. DeVriess (Tom Tully), has almost completely discarded discipline, and the crew has become slovenly and superficially undisciplined – although their performance is, in fact, excellent. Keith has already met the executive officer, Lieutenant Stephen Maryk (Van Johnson), and is introduced to the cynical communications officer, novelist Lieutenant Thomas Keefer (Fred MacMurray).
The captain is soon replaced by Lieutenant Commander Phillip Queeg (Humphrey Bogart), a no-nonsense veteran and graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He quickly attempts to re-instill discipline into the crew but soon displays erratic behavior, clicking a pair of steel ball bearings nervously.
The next day, the Caine is assigned to tow a target for gunnery practice. While Queeg is distracted berating Keith and Keefer over a crewman's appearance, he cuts off the helmsman's warning. After the Caine continues in a circle and cuts the towline, Queeg tries to cover up his responsibility.
Other incidents serve to undermine Queeg's authority. When strawberries go missing from the officers' mess, the captain—once again clicking the bearings nervously—goes to absurd lengths to hunt down the culprit. Despite being told by one of his officers that the mess boys had eaten them, Queeg insists on believing otherwise. He relates a story to Maryk and Keefer of when he, as an ensign, was commended for unmasking a cheese thief.
More seriously, under enemy fire, Queeg abandons escorting a group of landing craft during an amphibious assault long before they reach the fiercely defended shore, instead dropping a yellow dye marker in the water and leaving the landing craft to fend for themselves, much to the crew's disgust. Afterwards, Queeg speaks to his officers, not explicitly apologizing, but bending enough to ask for their support. His disgruntled subordinates do not respond.
Keefer begins trying to convince Maryk that he should relieve Queeg on the basis of mental illness under Article 184 of Navy Regulations. At first Maryk displays loyalty to Queeg, even threatening Keefer with charging him with insubordination. However, Maryk begins keeping a journal, documenting Queeg's behavior. Keefer then convinces Maryk and Keith to join him in presenting their case to Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr.. While aboard Halsey's flagship, it occurs to Keefer that all of Queeg's documented actions could be interpreted as reasonable attempts to instill discipline, leaving them open to a charge of conspiring to mutiny. When Halsey's aide tells the Caine officers that Halsey will see them, Keefer talks Maryk and Keith out of it.
Matters come to a head during a violent typhoon. Maryk urgently recommends that they steer into the waves and take on ballast, but Queeg refuses to deviate from the fleet-ordered heading and declines Maryk's request for ballast, as he fears that it would foul the fuel lines with salt water. When Queeg appears to become paralyzed, Maryk relieves him, with Keith's support.
Upon returning to port, Maryk and Keith face a court-martial for mutiny. After questioning them and Keefer, Lieutenant Barney Greenwald (José Ferrer) reluctantly accepts the job of Maryk's defense counsel, which a number of other lawyers have already turned down.
The proceedings do not go well, as the self-serving Keefer has carefully managed to cover himself and denies any complicity. Navy psychiatrist Dr. Dixon (Whit Bissell) testifies that Queeg is not mentally ill, but when Queeg is called to testify, he exhibits obvious paranoid behavior and then begins once again clicking the ball bearings under Greenwald's tough cross-examination. Maryk is acquitted, and Keith is spared any charges.
The Caine officers celebrate the trial's results at a hotel. Keefer shows up, telling Maryk privately he did not have the guts not to. Then a drunken Greenwald appears and clears his "guilty conscience". He berates the officers for not appreciating the years of danger and hardship endured by Queeg, a career navy man. He then lambastes Maryk, Keith, and finally Keefer, for not supporting their captain when he most needed it and gets Maryk and Keith to admit that if they had given Queeg the support he had asked for, he might not have frozen during the typhoon. Greenwald then turns to the man who, in his opinion, should really have been on trial: Keefer. He denounces him as the real "author" of the mutiny, who "hated the Navy" and manipulated the others while keeping his own hands officially clean. The lawyer exposes Keefer's double-dealing in front of the other officers, throws a glassful of champagne in his face and tells Keefer that if he wishes to do anything about the drink in the face, the two could fight outside. Keefer makes no challenge and the other officers depart, leaving Keefer alone in the room.
A few days later, Keith reports to his new ship and is surprised to find himself once again serving under now-Commander DeVriess. DeVriess lets the new lieutenant, junior grade know that he will start with a clean slate.
- Humphrey Bogart as Lieutenant Commander Philip Francis Queeg
- José Ferrer as Lieutenant Barney Greenwald
- Van Johnson as Lieutenant Steve Maryk
- Fred MacMurray as Lieutenant Tom Keefer
- Robert Francis as Ensign (later Lieutenant, junior grade) Willis Seward "Willie" Keith
- May Wynn as May Wynn
- Tom Tully as Lieutenant Commander (later Commander) (William H.) DeVriess
- E. G. Marshall as Lieutenant Commander (John) Challee, the prosecutor
- Arthur Franz as Lieutenant, junior grade, H. Paynter Jr.
- Lee Marvin as "Meatball" (Dlugatch)
- Warner Anderson as Captain Blakely, president of the court-martial
- Claude Akins as "Horrible" (Everett Black)
- Katherine Warren as Mrs. Keith, Ensign Keith's mother
- Jerry Paris as Ensign Barney Harding
- Whit Bissell as Navy psychiatrist Lieutenant Commander Dickson, Medical Corps
- Kenneth MacDonald as a court martial board member (uncredited)
- James Best as Lieutenant Jorgensen (uncredited)
- May Wynn's song "I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me" sung by Jo Ann Greer
- The Caine Mutiny was only the second film of Robert Francis, who was being groomed for stardom – but on 31 July 1955, he was killed when the private plane he was piloting crashed shortly after take off from Burbank airport.
When the U.S. Navy hesitated about endorsing a possible film and aiding the production, studios shied away from purchasing the film rights to Herman Wouk's novel. As a result, producer Stanley Kramer purchased the rights himself for an estimated $60,000 – $70,000. After an unusually long pre-production period of fifteen months, due to the Navy's indecision, The Caine Mutiny went into production from 3 June to 24 August 1953, under the initial working title of Authority and Rebellion.
Location shooting took place in front of Royce Hall at the University of California, Los Angeles in the opening scene, at Naval Station Treasure Island in San Francisco, Pearl Harbor, on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, and at Yosemite National Park in California, the scene of the Yosemite Firefall and Keith's romantic interlude with May Wynn while on leave.
Richard Widmark was originally intended to play Queeg, but producer Stanley Kramer opted for Humphrey Bogart instead. (Widmark later played the similarly authoritarian Captain Finlander in The Bedford Incident.) It took a while to get Bogart, however, even though he very much wanted to play the part, because Columbia was not willing to pay Bogart his usual top salary. Bogart commented about this to his wife, Lauren Bacall: "This never happens to Cooper or Grant or Gable, but always to me." During shooting, Bogart was already suffering from the earliest symptoms of the throat cancer that would eventually kill him. Bogart had served as an enlisted man in the US Navy in World War I as Chief Quartermaster of the USS Leviathan.
Lee Marvin was cast as one of the sailors not only for his acting ability, but also because of his knowledge of ships at sea. Marvin had served in the U.S. Marines from the beginning of American involvement in World War II through the Battle of Saipan, in which he was wounded. As a result, Marvin became an unofficial technical adviser for the film.
This was the second of three films that José Ferrer appeared in for producer Stanley Kramer; the other two were Cyrano de Bergerac, and Ship of Fools, which is the only one of the three films that Kramer directed. Though his character of Barney Greenwald was supposed to be Jewish (a fact made relevant in the book but not in the film), Ferrer himself was not.
Despite the fact Wouk had already worked the material from the novel into a stage play, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, which premiered on Broadway in January 1954 and ran for a year, Herman Wouk's attempt at writing the screenplay was considered "a disaster" by director Edward Dmytryk, and he was replaced by Stanley Roberts, who later quit when told to cut the film down to two hours. Those cuts, fifty pages worth, were done by Michael Blankfort, who received an "additional dialog" credit.
Wouk's novel goes into much greater detail about Ensign Keith's experiences in midshipman school and in his early relationship with his girlfriend May Wynn. After the court-martial, he returns to the Caine and develops into a mature, competent Naval officer, something that is only hinted at in the film.
Also, in the novel, Captain Queeg is roughly thirty years old at the time of the mutiny. Bogart, however, was fifty-five at the time of filming. The character of Captain Queeg, as a 1936 USNA graduate, would have typically been born around 1914. Bogart and men born in 1899 would have normally been in the USNA Class of 1921.
In the original novel and stage play, Greenwald is mentioned as being a Jew who appreciates more than anyone else the importance of keeping the Nazis as far away from America as possible, thus putting more emphasis on his sympathy for Queeg and contempt for the junior officers who have only signed on for the duration.
Maryk and Keefer remain in the Ward Room after Queeg has addressed the officers after the "yellow stain" incident. Maryk looks at the Commissioning Plaque on the Ward Room wall.
USS CAINE DMS 18
THIS SHIP IS NAMED FOR
ARTHUR WINGATE CAINE
COMMANDER US NAVY
WHO DIED OF WOUNDS RECEIVED
IN RUNNING GUN BATTLE
BETWEEN SUBMARINE AND
VESSEL HE COMMANDED
THE SUBMARINE WAS SUNK
IN THE ENGAGEMENT
The camera remains on the plaque for the viewer to read it with Maryk.
The Navy initially objected to the film's depiction of a mentally unbalanced man as the captain of one of its ships and the word "mutiny" in the film's title. After the script was altered somewhat, the Navy cooperated with Columbia Pictures by providing ships, planes, combat boats, and access to Pearl Harbor and the port of San Francisco. Following the opening credits, the epigraph states that the film's story is non-factual. No ship named USS Caine has ever existed, and no Navy captain has been relieved of command at sea under Articles 184–186: "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." However, while no mutiny has ever actually occurred in the US Navy, at least one, the Somers Affair, is alleged to have been planned.
The Caine was represented by the US Navy destroyer minesweepers USS Doyle and USS Thompson. The Caine was not represented by a 4-stack World War I–era ship, nicknamed a "four-piper," like the vessel in the novel, because at the time the film was made all such vessels had been scrapped. The Jones, the ship the Caine raced back to port early in the film, was represented by the minesweeper USS Surfbird. The hull number on the Caine is 18. USS Hamilton was a Wickes-class destroyer in the United States Navy following World War I, later reclassified DMS-18 for service in World War II. The Hamilton was scrapped in 1946. Admiral Halsey's unnamed flagship was represented by the USS Kearsarge, a post-war aircraft carrier launched in 1946 (in actuality, and in the novel, Halsey flew his flag on the battleship USS New Jersey); a number of World War II–era fighter planes were placed atop the flight deck for the filming. USS Jacob Jones (the USS Jones of the Caine's commissioning plaque) had a similar fate in World War I. The Jacob Jones commanding officer, David Worth Bagley survived the sinking of his ship. The ship that Willis Keith conns out of port at the end of the film was the USS Richard B. Anderson.
Before handing him The Caine Mutiny, Stanley Kramer hired Dmytryk to direct a few low-budget films. The film's success resurrected Dmytryk's career. For refusing to answer questions about his ties to the American Communist Party to the House Committee on Un-American Activities, he spent time in prison. After his release, Dmytryk spoke of his Party past, which consisted of a very brief membership in 1945, followed by pressure by other party members to put Communist propaganda into his films. In a second appearance before the House committee, he identified twenty six Party members.
He went on to direct Raintree County with Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor; The Young Lions with Clift, Marlon Brando and Dean Martin; a remake of the Marlene Dietrich classic The Blue Angel, and the film version of Harold Robbins's The Carpetbaggers, among others.
Dmytryk felt The Caine Mutiny could have been better than it was. He thought the movie should have been three and a half to four hours long to fully flesh out the characters and tell the story completely, but Columbia's Harry Cohn insisted on a two-hour limit.
This was the last of a number of Bogart films scored by composer Max Steiner, mostly for Warner Bros. The stirring main theme was included in RCA Victor's collection of classic Bogart film scores, recorded by Charles Gerhardt and the National Philharmonic Orchestra.
The lyrics of the derisive song "Yellowstain Blues," which mocked Queeg's perceived cowardice during the landing incident, were written by Herman Wouk. They were drawn from The Caine Mutiny, the novel on which the film was based.
The original soundtrack album for The Caine Mutiny was never actually officially released, and hence it is one of the rarest in existence; perhaps a dozen copies survive. RCA Records planned an LP release with musical excerpts on the first side and the complete dialogue of the climactic court-martial scene on side two. But Herman Wouk felt that including this scene was an infringement on his recently opened Broadway play dealing with the court-martial, and he threatened to prohibit Columbia Pictures from making any further adaptations of his work. According to Wouk, "[Columbia head Harry] Cohn looked into the matter, called me back, and said in his tough gravelly voice, 'I've got you beat on the legalities, but I've listened to the record and it's no goddamn good, so I'm yanking it.'" In October 2012 a copy sold on eBay for over $6,000. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/321002330371?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649
Film critic Tim Dirks has called Bogart's turn as Lieutenant Commander Philip Queeg his last great film performance.
This film was a box office success and the second highest grossing film of 1954, earning $8.7 million in theatrical rentals. The #1 box office hit of that year was White Christmas, which earned $12 million in rentals.
Awards and honors
The film received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Humphrey Bogart, losing to Marlon Brando for On the Waterfront), Best Supporting Actor (Tom Tully), Best Screenplay, Best Sound Recording (John P. Livadary), Best Film Editing, and Best Dramatic Score (Max Steiner).
Dmytryk was also nominated for a Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures.
- American Film Institute Lists
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies – Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains:
- Lt. Commander Philip Francis Queeg – Nominated Villain
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes:
- "Ah, but the strawberries! That's, that's where I had them." – Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – Nominated
- AFI's 10 Top 10 – Nominated Courtroom Drama
- When Maurice Micklewhite first became an actor he adopted the stage name "Michael Scott". He was later told by his agent that another actor was already using the same name, and that he had to come up with a new one immediately. Speaking to his agent from a telephone box in Leicester Square in London, Micklewhite looked around for inspiration, noted that The Caine Mutiny was being shown at the Odeon Cinema, and adopted the name "Michael Caine", which he has retained since. Caine has often joked in interviews that, had he looked the other way, he would have ended up as "Michael One Hundred and One Dalmatians."
In literature and publications
- In 1955 "The Cane Mutiny, or The Walking Stick Rebellion", appeared in Mad Magazine as one of its earliest film spoofs.
- Vince Gilligan used a clip of the film in Breaking Bad episode 5.02 ("Madrigal", 2012), and has stated that The Caine Mutiny was one of his favorite movies as a child.
- The British science-fiction sitcom Red Dwarf is about a huge spaceship which is run by a bumbling, possibly senile, computer called Holly. In one episode, Holly is apparently replaced by a back-up computer called Queeg. Whereas Holly is sloppy and easy-going, Queeg is ruthless, authoritarian and by-the-book, bringing misery to the lives of the crew, in ways similar to Bogart's character.
- In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, members of the human resistance serve aboard the submarine USS Jimmy Carter. It is piloted by a reprogrammed Terminator that has been named Queeg by the crew.
- Trial movies
- Typhoon Cobra (1944), an actual typhoon that threatened U.S. warships under circumstances similar to those in the book.
- Box Office Information for The Caine Mutiny. The Numbers. Retrieved April 15, 2013
- IMDB Biography of Robert Francis (I)
- TCM Notes
- TCM Overview
- IMDB Filming locations
- IMDB Release dates
- IMDB Business data
- Scott McGee "The Caine Mutiny" (TCM article)
- Frank O. Braynard, Leviathan, New York: South Street Seaport Museum (1972)
- IBDB "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial"
- "General Music Collecting FAQs". Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1954', Variety Weekly, January 5, 1955
- Steinberg, Cobbett (1980). Film Facts. New York: Facts on File, Inc. p. 22. ISBN 0-87196-313-2.
- "The 27th Academy Awards (1955) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies Nominees
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains Nominees
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes Nominees
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) Ballot
- AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot
- "Michael Caine (I)". The Guardian (London). 1998-11-06. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- Nelson, Erik (2012-07-23). "Vince Gilligan: I’ve never Googled "Breaking Bad"". Salon.com. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
- Posted by rockknj on 03/23/09 at 6:35PM. "Terminator, "Today is the Day, Part 2": Never trust a captain named Queeg". NJ.com. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: The Caine Mutiny (film)|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Caine Mutiny (film).|
- Caine Mutiny at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Fred MacMurray's Caine Mutiny Costume, Wisconsin Historical Society
- The Caine Mutiny at the Internet Movie Database
- The Caine Mutiny at the TCM Movie Database
- The Caine Mutiny at allmovie