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.
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 <email@example.com>
One of the myths circulating about this film is that it was "filmed on location". While there is plenty of location work on it (Canary Islands, Irish Seas, Youghal, Ireland), over 2/3 the film was shot at Shepperton and Elstree Studios in England. These include the Spouter's Inn tavern scenes, Father Mapple's sermon, Ahab's first speech on the deck of the Pequod (note the painted sky background), the typhoon, and Ahab's dialogue on the whale's back. While there are a few shots of the sixty foot Moby Dick on the open sea, most of the whale appearing in the finished film are various-sized miniatures and selected body parts (jaws, body cylinders, eyes) which were co-ordinated by art director Stephen B. Grimes. See more »
When Captain Ahab repeatedly plunges his harpoon into Moby Dick, and pivots it back and forth freely at the surface of the whale's back, it is clear that there is nothing but empty space beneath the surface of the prop "whale", rather than the blubber, muscle and bone that would prevent the harpoon from pivoting freely. See more »
If you have ever read the Herman Melville story of Moby Dick, then you will know how hard it must have been for John Huston to turn it into film. Thanks to Ray Bradbury's screenplay and great acting, this film became a classic. That it is not in the top 250 IMDB rated films is a shame. I hope that this is due to it's limited showings and therefore not being seen by many of this site's users. From the start to the finish the film is well paced. The casting of Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab was wise. He commands the role well. Orson Welles appearance as the minister is also a treat to behold. Welles shows that he can add so much to a film whether it be a small role or a large one. Special effects are the only thing that could have been a bit better done. However, in 1956, depicting a great white whale with an attitude was not an easy accomplishment film making wise. This film does go into the relationship between man and God, so some folks will no doubt be prejudiced against the film. Keep in mind the story's time period and locale. The seafaring men of New England really did once hold God close to their heart. Melville's use of a whale to depict the struggle was good. Huston getting it onto film was even better. Sorry, I like the film better than the book. MM
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