Caine Mutiny Structure
Although the plot line is classic, there are opportunities to improve on its structure. Like Ischmael in Moby Dick, we follow a young sailor, Willis Keith, aboard ship, the USS Caine. The ship is a US Navy minesweeper with a undisciplined but highly effective crew and captain. By the end of Act I, a new captain has taken over the Caine, Captain Queeg - a by the book authoritarian. Through Act II we see that Capt. Queeg is cowardly, paranoid and easily distracted by trivial matters. Eventually Keith, somewhat passively, participates in the mutiny of the ship, led by Lieutenant Stephen Maryk. This is really Maryk's story and the screenplay could have been written from his perspective rather than following Keith. By Act III, Keith and Maryk are court-marshalled, and it is Maryk's fate that seems to be the most emotionally charged. You decide. Regardless, this is a superb screenplay.