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Moby Dick (1956)

Unrated | | Adventure, Drama | 1956 (UK)
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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay)
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5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Captain Ahab's descent into madness destroys everyone around him. This powerful character drew John Barrymore, Orson Wells and John Huston. This film has been called the best, most authentic version of Herman Melville's MOBY DICK.

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Moby Dick (1930)
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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 ... See full summary »

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: John Barrymore, Joan Bennett, Lloyd Hughes
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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The Manxman
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Edric Connor ...
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Joseph Tomelty ...
Francis De Wolff ...
Philip Stainton ...
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Seamus Kelly ...
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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

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:

1956 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Herman Melville's Moby Dick  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$10,400,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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

Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster, John Wayne and Marlon Brando were considered for Captain Ahab. See more »

Goofs

During the scene when the masts and Ahab's harpoon are covered with St. Elmo's fire, the luminous phenomenon was shown as a green glow. Physically, St. Elmo's fire is a bright blue or violet glow, appearing like fire in some circumstances, from tall, sharply pointed structures, so the color of the phenomenon is incorrect. See more »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

The film finishes with 'Finis' instead of the usual 'The End'. See more »

Connections

Version of Moby Dick (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Blood Red Roses
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Albert Lloyd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"Moby Dick" Huston's Masterpiece
19 June 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Moby Dick" is one of the great adventure films of all time, and one of the greatest psychological stories ever told. Ahab & his quest for the White Whale have reached the status of a cultural icon, but this film was wonderful when it was released, remains wonderful today, and will I think stand the test of time well into the future.

I'd heard that even Gregory Peck himself had been talked into believing that his performance was 'wooden', but that is hogwash. This is probably Peck's greatest performance, and that's saying something.

"Moby Dick" takes us into two strange and unfamiliar worlds--that of the 19th-century whaler and its crew on a global hunt for whale oil on the high seas, and that of Captain Ahab's mind. A great adventure and a great obsession intertwined, inseparable.

The script was a brilliant adaptation of a difficult book. John Huston & Ray Bradbury put this together and managed to use a number of lines directly from the book in the sometimes odd vernacular of the period that gives certain scenes and dialogue such presence and authenticity.

From the odd first spoken line in the film, the voice-over of Richard Basehart saying "Call me Ishmael", the brilliantly constructed initial scenes that brought us, the audience, down to the sea as they brought the young Ishmael to it, the wonderful scenes in The Spouter's Inn where Ishmael meets innkeeper Peter Coffin and some of the Pequod's crew, notably Stubb, who goodnaturedly challenges Ishmael's seagoing ambition and, when convinced that he is authentic, introduces him to the inn's customs and celebration. And the unforgettable, wonderful and strange Queequeg with his head. Who wouldn't want to join a whaling voyage with this lot?! Peck's Ahab is one of the most compelling and memorable characters ever portrayed on film, and the transformation of the crew to carry out Ahab's obsessive search for the White Whale even against their better judgement was wonderfully portrayed and is the singular most important element of the story & of this script.

It is absurd to describe what happens in this film, and I will not. Suffice to say that this is a great film, one I can watch from time to time with almost the same frequency as 'Casablanca'.


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