The Caine Mutiny is one of those movies that falls into the alright or pretty good categories until the last 15-20 minutes. Then something happens and it becomes pure brilliance. The Robert Francis scenes off the boat are pointless nonsense but anyone who even thinks about accusing Humphrey Bogart of being a one-trick pony is cordially invited to watch this movie. Picture Mister Roberts' older dickish brother...
It somehow manages to be a watchable marine adventure, despite boasting one of the worst leading performances ever (stiff, dull-eyed Robert Francis). Too bad the script wants to have its cake and eat it too (the mutiny was justified, but wrong anyway because it could've been prevented if the crew had been more supportive of the weak captain).
The first thing to stand out is the cast, not only Bogart but a good Fred McMurray, a young Lee Marvin, a solid José Ferrer. Dmytryk direction is steady but the Technicolor has had better days. Beside the dull love story, the script wants to be too clever towards the end and starts to praising everything and its contrary, they were right but wrong, they saved their lives but they shouldn’t have ? Weird Navy logic.
No doubt at all, Humphrey Bogart is a great actor. Next to "Casablanca" this movie is special. What makes this one special? Here he is a weak character. Have a look to all his other great works, he is always badass, charming, winning, positive; although the characters he is acting in are gangsters, criminals; nevertheless there is some sympathy for him. But here he is different; a loser, negative, bad, pscho. Great.
Queeg's a mess, sure, but the snarky novelist Keefer (Fred MacMurray) is the arrogant coward who gets it in the end. Thus it's the second-best anti-creative-writing movie I've ever seen, after Storytelling.