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Moby Dick (1956)

 -  Adventure | Drama  -  27 June 1956 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 11,442 users  
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The sole survivor of a lost whaling ship relates the tale of his captain's self-destructive obsession to hunt the white whale, Moby Dick.

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Title: Moby Dick (1956)

Moby Dick (1956) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
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The Manxman
Noel Purcell ...
Edric Connor ...
Mervyn Johns ...
Joseph Tomelty ...
Francis De Wolff ...
Philip Stainton ...
...
Seamus Kelly ...
Friedrich von Ledebur ...
Queequeg (as Friedrich Ledebur)
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Storyline

This classic story by Herman Melville revolves around Captain Ahab and his obsession with a huge whale, Moby Dick. The whale caused the loss of Ahab's leg years before, leaving Ahab to stomp the boards of his ship on a peg leg. Ahab is so crazed by his desire to kill the whale, that he is prepared to sacrifice everything, including his life, the lives of his crew members, and even his ship to find and destroy his nemesis, Moby Dick. Written by E.W. DesMarais <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

whale | ship | obsession | revenge | whaling | See more »

Taglines:

Before the shark there was the whale (US rerelease 1976) See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 June 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Herman Melville's Moby Dick  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gregory Peck initially blamed the poor reviews for his performance on the script, which he felt contained "too much prose from the novel". However, he later acknowledged that he had been too young for the part at 38, since Captain Ahab was supposed to be an old man at the end of his career (Ahab's age, as implied in the book's chapter "The Symphony", is 58). He added, "The film required more. At the time, I didn't have more in me." See more »

Goofs

The way the ship was moved away from the pier was incorrect. The crew is shown hauling a line from the pier. This would not make the ship move forward. To move a ship out of the harbor it is therefore necessary to provide something to pull against. A special anchor, called a kedging anchor, is carried as far from the ship as possible by the longboat and then dropped to the seabed. The remaining crew pull the ship out to it winding the line around the capstan or winch, and then it is hauled up and the process repeated as many times as necessary. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ishmael: [voiceover] Call me Ishmael.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Frasier: Breaking the Ice (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

We're All Bound To Go
(uncredited)
Written by Traditional
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Gotten Better With Age
31 January 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

When John Huston was casting for Moby Dick he got to make it on condition that he get a name actor to play Ahab. He went to Gregory Peck who was surprised by the offer. Given his image and the roles he had played up to that time, Peck thought he'd be better cast as Starbuck the first mate. Nevertheless he agreed to do Ahab.

Peck got mixed reviews at the time, but over the course of 50 years his performance has gotten better with time. The film itself which was shot in Ireland and Wales has also aged well. It's a nice depiction of life on a whaling ship in the 1840s and the crew of the Pequod are nicely cast in their roles.

Orson Welles was set to do his own adaption of Moby Dick and canceled his film when he heard his friend John Huston was doing Moby Dick. Welles asked about doing Ahab, but was given the small role of Father Mapple, the minister who blesses the Pequod's voyage. In fact Huston gave Welles a free hand to do the scene as he saw fit and the results are gratifying.

Of course Herman Melville's novel is about obsession and vengeance. I've always thought the point of Moby Dick is that the evil white whale who Ahab so personalizes and demonizes is just a whale doing his whale thing trying to stay alive. It is in fact the whalers who hunt him and his kind. And Ahab losing his leg is what we would call an occupational accident. The evil is how Ahab seduces the whole crew into his own madness, even first mate Starbuck, played winningly by Leo Genn who is the voice of reason and civilization.

Other cast members to note are Harry Andrews as second mate Stub, Friedrich Ledebuhr as Queequeg the Pacific Islander harpooner, and of course Richard Basehart as Ishmael who tells the tale.


31 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why a remake? This movie stands up just fine. BigShoe62
Peck was Unbelievable in This!!! movienut710
Stupid as it may seem! nemesis506
Call me Ishmael eansor-1
Who named the whale? sameheartcircle
The Name of the Ship rockcairn69
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