Back in August, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews decided that Steve Schmidt of the McCain campaign:

Reminds me of Sergeant Markoff in Beau Geste, the guy who was kicked out of the Siberian army for cruelty. We‘ll be right back with the round table with more of the politics fix. You‘re watching Hardball, where you get movie references, only on MSNBC.

This morning, Matthews pinned down which movie character Schmidt’s boss, John McCain, has been reminding him of lately:

I think calmness in this economic storm has been a very strong part of the Barack appeal. All he had to do was look calm and take advantage of the terrible economy and people would say, I have confidence in this change. It works for him. I think McCain has been a bit like Humphrey Bogart, in, perhaps, The Caine Mutiny lately. You know, I think he’s looked a little angry and a little disturbed, like Bogart. He’s not looking for the frozen strawberries yet…

You mean Bogart in his 1954 Oscar-nominated portrayal of a mentally-troubled Naval captain “prone to unprovoked angry outbursts” and “eccentric behavior” who fixates on finding frozen strawberries that go missing from his ship’s icebox?

UPDATE: Seems Matthews has used this John-McCain-as-Captain-Queeg thing before (back in September, and also with a “not-quite-there-yet” qualifier:

I think this other problem with McCain is the Captain Queeg factor here, which is starting to emerge. It’s not there yet, but the erratic nature of calling for the firing of the chairman of the SEC, attempting to fire these debates in a sense, this effort to constantly change things … I mean, he’s always trying to rip up the score card…

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.