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The Caine Mutiny

Lt. Commander Philip Francis Queeg (Humphrey Bogart), the hard-boiled captain of the USS Caine, has a reputation for running a tight ship, and his battle-record during the Second World War has earned him the respect of both his men and the Navy brass. But the men who work closest to him suspect that something is wrong — his violent mood swings, his erratic orders, and the creepy way he rolls those cast-iron balls in his hand while offering up his squinty-eyed stare. The Captain has not been himself lately, and three of his officers come to the conclusion that he's suffering from battle stress and may need to be relieved from duty. But after they are unable to arrive at a course of action, the ship becomes lost in a typhoon, and Lt. Steve Maryk (Van Johnson) assumes command of the Caine from Queeg, who is paralyzed from fear. The ensuing court martial finds Maryk on the defense, trying to justify actions that seemed reasonable at the time but may constitute mutiny according to Navy law. Columbia TriStar has done a commendable job of bringing this 1954 classic (based on the novel by Herman Wouk) to DVD, with a good transfer from an attractive source print with rich color. The lead performers are outstanding, especially Johnson as the even-tempered Maryk, Fred MacMurray as the writer/sailor Lt. Keefer, and the too-cool José Ferrer as Lt. Greenwald, the Navy lawyer who can't stand Maryk but still chooses to defend him. But Bogart is the most memorable of all, and his performance ranks up there with his other great roles, including Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, and Treasure of the Sierra Madre. For Bogie fans, this one's not to be missed. Dolby 1.0, trailer.

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