In this extremely loose adaptation of Melville's classic novel, Ahab is revealed initially not as a bitter and vengeful madman, but as a bit of a lovable scamp. Ashore in New Bedford, he ... See full summary »
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In this extremely loose adaptation of Melville's classic novel, Ahab is revealed initially not as a bitter and vengeful madman, but as a bit of a lovable scamp. Ashore in New Bedford, he meets and falls for Faith Mapple, daughter of the local minister and beloved of Ahab's brother Derek. Faith herself quickly returns Ahab's love, as Derek is drab and ignoble. On his next voyage, however, Ahab loses a leg to the monstrous white whale Moby-Dick. When upon his return to New Bedford he mistakenly believes Faith wants nothing to do with him because of his disfigurement, Ahab returns to sea with only one goal in mind -- to find and kill the great white whale. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
This "Moby Dick" featured an early, experimental use of widescreen. As the boats were lowered for the first chase after the whale, the screen widened; then, as Moby Dick suddenly closed in on Captain Ahab, the screen returned to its normal size. See more »
While the credits state that the film is based on Herman Melville's novel, the first page of the novel shown onscreen right after the credits is entirely written by one of the screenwriters; it has absolutely nothing to do with Melville's original, and even leaves out Melville's classic opening sentence, "Call me Ishmael". See more »
Although this film does suffer from Warner Bros. attempt to sex up the story from Melville's meditative original, it has some interesting original qualities all its own. First, it looks great. The rich details of the port, seedy taverns and docks lent a realism which was a delight to behold in itself. Second, Ahab is merely a harpoonist first class(or whatever they were called) at the beginning of the story, rather than captain. I wasn't sure where he got the funds to buy the old whaling vessel, but he transforms himself into the Ahab of the book--an interesting character arc of its own. I would never have envisioned Ahab as the care-free rascal engaging in crow's nest acrobatics as he does in this movie, but it serves as a contrast to the bitter, obsessed tyrant he becomes later on. His final triumph over Moby Dick and return to his sweetheart make for typical Hollywood pablum, but what's new, even after 70-odd years? In addition, much of the story is so land-locked, I was getting antsy for them to get to sea and get it on with MD.
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