How well do you know "The Caine Mutiny"?


By: Susan McDonald

7 Min Quiz

Image: Columbia Pictures

About This Quiz

Seven Academy Award nominations proved that "The Caine Mutiny" was one of the best-loved films of 1954, despite that fact that it took home no awards. The film tells the story of Captain Phillip Queeg's command of a World War ship, and the slow unraveling of his mental state, leading to a rare court-martial​ for mutiny.

After his graduation party, why does Willie Keith go to a nightclub?

Willie wants to go straight to dinner with his girlfriend, but his mother is throwing a party in his honor and insists that he attend. As soon as he can get away, however, he goes to the club where May is singing.


Why does May walk out on Willie?

May is unhappy that Willie must ship out soon, and even though he assures her that he loves her, she wants more. When he cannot commit to marriage, she questions his feelings and leaves.


What kind of ship is the Caine?

His commanding officer realizes that Willie is disappointed in his assignment to the somewhat dilapidated Caine. He had hoped to be placed on a battleship, but instead has been relegated to the smaller minesweeper.


At which Naval station is the Caine based?

The Caine is stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. From there it can quickly reach locations in the Pacific zone.


What is Willie Keith's rank?

Willie is an ensign. This places him among the ranks of the officers, but below a major or captain.


Shortly after the Caine leaves port, Willie thinks he sees Japanese aircraft in the distance. What does he really see?

Willie's inexperience shows when he announces that Japanese aircraft are approaching. It is quickly pointed out that he has mistaken a flock of seagulls for enemy planes.


Why does Willie get into trouble with Captain DeVriess?

Willie gets off to a poor start with his commanding officer when he forgets about a dispatch he was given to decode and report to the captain. The message, it turns out, is that the captain is being replaced, much to Willie's relief.


Why does Willie dislike Captain DeVriess?

The Caine is in poor shape and its crew members are often out of uniform and slacking on the job. Willie believes DeVriess should run a tighter ship.


What gift does the crew give DeVriess when he leaves the ship?

The enlisted men present Captain DeVriess with a watch as he prepares to leave the ship, but he says he cannot accept it and sets it on the railing. As he starts down the steps, he picks it up, remarks that someone must have left it there, and puts it on.


What is Captain Queeg's command philosophy?

Unlike the easy-going DeVriess, Queeg believes in discipline and order. He announces to his officers that he believes in doing everything by the book and he expects them to follow suit.


What nervous habit does Queeg have?

Queeg keeps a few metal balls in his pants pocket. From time to time, especially when he is tense, he takes them out and rolls them around in his hand.


What does Queeg order Tom Keefer to do?

Tom has been working on a novel in his spare time, but Queeg is not impressed. He says that war is a full-time job and demands that Keefer stop working on it at once.


What is Keefer's role on the Caine?

Tom Keefer is the ship's Communications Officer. As such, he sends and receives messages from other ships, the Pentagon, and others.


What bad mistake does Queeg make on the Caine's first mission after he took command?

Because he is distracted, Queeg gives the wrong directions for steering the ship, causing it to turn 360 degrees and run over the cable attached to the target the Caine is towing. He refuses to admit his mistake, insisting that the line was defective.


What is Queeg's rationale for not going back to retrieve the target?

Queeg refuses to accept responsibility for his mistake and insists that the Caine continue on its course rather than retrieving the target. When his officers question him, he says that if they go back, all the other ships will get to port before them, which he will not allow to happen.


What new responsibility does Queeg give Willie?

Queeg is unhappy to learn that the ship does not have a morale officer assigned, so he gives that role to Willie. As part of the job, Willie is to make sure all the crew members are properly dressed, shaved and clean.


Who meets Willie at the dock when the Caine returns to San Francisco to address Queeg's mistake?

Willlie is delighted to see May when he gets off the ship, but is surprised to see that his mother has come to greet him as well. He is finally forced to introduce them and admit to his mother that he is dating May.


Where do Willie and May go on vacation while he is in port?

Since he has some free time, Willie suggests a trip to Yosemite, where they enjoy the beauty of the area. His mother doesn't seem pleased, but she doesn't object.


Why does May turn down Willie's proposal?

May loves Willie and wants to be with him, but she knows he is close to his mother. Saying that she would never approve of their marriage, May turns down his proposal and walks out.


What happens when the Caine is escorting a fleet of landing craft to a beach?

Since they are a few miles from shore, Queeg orders the Caine to speed up, causing the landing craft to fall seriously behind. Rather than slowing down and letting the smaller boats catch up, Queeg orders that a dye marker is​ left for them and turns the ship around, abandoning the boats he is supposed to be escorting.


What nickname do crew members give Queeg after the landing craft incident?

After Queeg insists on dropping yellow dye into the water to guide the landing craft toward shore, he gains an unflattering new moniker. He becomes known as Yellow Stain in recognition of the dye marker, a reference to the belief that his actions were cowardly. One officer even makes up a song about it.


Who first suggests that Queeg might be mentally unbalanced?

Tom Keefer is a student of human behavior and he is the first to bring up the issue of Queeg's mental stability with other officers. They dismiss his claims, but later have to consider that they might have merit.


What does Steve Maryk do after the issue of Queeg's mental stability is raised?

After Maryk gives consideration to the idea that the captain might be paranoid, he begins keeping a secret log where he records odd incidents. He includes the landing party incident, along with other aberrant behavior.


Why does Queeg become upset during a movie being shown on board?

Queeg storms in and interrupts the movie, ranting that he was not informed that it was being shown. When he is told that he specifically asked not to be informed, he becomes enraged and says there will be no more movies for a month.


What food item disappears, causing Queeg to launch a full-scale investigation?

When the officers are given some fresh strawberries, Queeg becomes suspicious when he thinks some have disappeared. Rather than accept the likely explanation that the kitchen staff ate them, he demands that his officers begin a full investigation to learn what happened to them.


What is Queeg's theory about what happened to the missing food?

As he becomes more unhinged, Queeg becomes convinced that someone made a key to the storage area and used it to get the leftover strawberries. The theory makes sense to him because early in his career, he received a commendation for uncovering a similar incident that actually did involve a duplicate key.


Why do Tom, Willie and Steve leave without telling Admiral Halsey their concerns about Queeg?

As they are waiting for Admiral Halsey to see them, Tom looks at the tight ship being run by the admiral and says he no longer thinks their story will be believed. Even with the medical log, he convinces the others that they are wasting their time and possibly their careers, so they return to their ship.


How does Queeg react during the typhoon?

Even though the ship is being tossed like a cork and in danger of capsizing, Queeg refuses to deviate from his original orders. The other officers remind him that they have lost communications with the rest of the fleet so they would not know if the orders had been changed, but he refuses to listen. Eventually, ​he simply freezes and is incapable of making decisions.


Who relieves Queeg of his command?

Maryk, as second in command, sees it as his responsibility to take charge when Queeg is incapable of making a sound decision. Rather than letting the ship go down in the storm, he relieves Queeg of his command and takes over, thus setting up his mutiny trial.


Why does the mutiny trial go in Queeg's favor at first?

Despite testimony about various incidents that occurred under Queeg's command, the defense has trouble making a case because three psychiatrists have examined him and found him fit. They agree that some of his behavior is odd, but do not believe it adds up to a true diagnosis of paranoia.


Why does Barry Greenwald refuse to cross-examine Tom when he is on the witness stand?

Although he knows that Tom has given false testimony, the defense attorney declines to ask any questions. When Maryk protests, Greenwald tells him that the more Tom talks, the more damage he does to their case.


During his testimony, what does Queeg say caused all his problems?

Queeg takes no responsibility for any of his actions on the Caine. Instead, he says his officers were always disloyal to him and that was what led to all the mistakes and incidents.


What leads to Maryk's acquittal?

At first, Queeg proves to be a good witness and Maryk's case looks bleak. As Greenwald's questioning continues, however, Queeg begins to ramble about the investigation into the food theft and other incidents, becoming increasingly unhinged and eventually demonstrating that he really is paranoid and unfit for command.


Who does Greenwald blame for everything that happened?

Arriving at the celebration following Maryk's acquittal, Greenwald defends Queeg, saying he served his country well and needed the support of his officers. He blames Tom for starting the process of questioning Queeg's mental state and then walking away unscathed. Before he leaves, he tosses a glass of champagne in Tom's face.


Who is in command of Willie's new ship?

When the newly-married Willie arrives to begin his next assignment, he is stunned to see that Captain DeVriess is, once again, his commanding officer. All seems to be forgiven, though, when DeVriess welcomes him aboard and puts him in charge of taking the ship out to sea.


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