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Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Caine Mutiny (1954)

In WWII, a young and inexperienced Ensign (Robert Francis) reports for duty on the minesweeper USS Caine and is disturbed the laxness of the ship as run by its current Commander (Tom Tully). But when the command of the ship is taken over by a strictly by the rules no nonsense Commander (Humphrey Bogart), it won't be long before before he and the other officers suspect the Commander of being unstable and paranoid. Based on the best selling novel by Herman Wouk and directed by Edward Dmytryk. The screenplay by Stanley Roberts and Michael Blankfort does a decent job of paring down Wouk's novel to a 2 hour length (today it would probably be made into a TV mini series) though the romantic subplot slows down the film. It doesn't help that Robert Francis and May Wynn are bland and lacking charisma which only adds to the dullness of that part of the plot. Dmytryk does a strong job of keeping the narrative focused and forceful and other than the two young leads, the veterans in the cast come on strong. Bogart gives one of his best performances (his breakdown at the court martial is done very well) but two of the strongest performances come from actors usually associated with lighter fare but Van Johnson and Fred MacMurray nail it. Even Jose Ferrer, an actor who normally irritates me with his "acting" gives a nicely detailed performance. With Lee Marvin, E.G. Marshall, Claude Akins, Arthur Franz, Jerry Paris, Steve Brodie, Warner Anderson and Katherine Warren. 

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