This week’s Classic film The Caine Mutiny features a model Hollywood trial scene.
In one of his last major roles, Humphrey Bogart plays Lieutenant Commander Phillip Queeg, a veteran Navy captain assigned to a destroyer just as it’s about to head out to sea. Queeg at first tries to instill some much needed order and discipline to the Caine, but his commands become more and more eccentric and his behavior more erratic.
During a violent typhoon, the executive officer, Lieutenant Stephen Maryk, played by Van Johnson, pleads with the captain to take emergency action to save the ship. When Queeg seems incapable of responding, Maryk relieves him of his duty. Upon returning to port, Maryk is arrested, and a court-martial for mutiny is ordered.
This week’s question: What’s your favorite courtroom or trial scene? You can’t just say “Perry Mason,” although indeed Raymond Burr did treat us to lots of great ones over the years.
Host Richard Peña’s verdict?: “There are few scenes more powerful than the “people’s court” at the end of Fritz Lang’s M, starring the great Peter Lorre; and let’s not forget John Ford’s “Young Mr. Lincoln.”