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Moby Dick (1956)

Moby Dick (1956) - video artwork

Sleeve Sypnosis:
Moby Dick now looms like a live volcano in the career of director John Huston. It spews forth vivid imagery that, quite apart from the technical virtuosity involved, is breath-taking. Maybe Huston has substituted a cinematographer's directness for the allegorical masterpiece of Herman Melville's original novel. But taken on its own terms, the film's energy has only gained in the perspective of the years since 1956. The story of a 19th century whaling skipper's obsessive journeyings across the world's oceans to avenge himself on Moby Dick, 'the gliding great demon of the seas of life', the huge white whale that took off his leg; it combines an epic adventure yarn with the turbulent undercurrents of the myth of the Superman acting in hell-bent defiance of his God. As Huston himself said, 'Moby Dick is the story of Noah in reverse'. To suggest the look of the 1840's, Huston and photographer Oswald Morris found a way of mating a black and white with a Technicolour negative to produce the hard-edged yet somber lights of old whaling prints. For its ambitions alone, the film deserves respect. But its achievements are considerable too. As the demon-haunted Captain-Ahab, Gregory Peck's handling of the stylised dialogue created by Huston and co-writer Ray Bradbury possesses an oracular power few Hollywood players could then approach. From a measured start in the Massachusetts port of New Bedford - actually the Irish fishing town of Youghal - the action builds systematically through colossal storms and weird Colerdigean calms to the final maelstrom of destructiveness - a stunning sequence, unsurpassed at a later date even by Jaws. The cast have vintage diversity. Outstanding are Richard Basehart as the narrator Ishmael, Friedrich Ledebur as Queequeg the tattooed cannibal-turned harpoonist, and Orson Welles delivering from a pulpit like a ship's poop a sermon on Man's duty to submit to God - a duty the rest of the film rejects with an illustrative power that is emotionally battering.

Director: John Huston

Cast: Gregory Peck, Richard Basehart, Leo Genn, Orson Welles, James Robertson Justice, Harry Andrews, Bernard Miles, Noel Purcell, Edric Connor, Mervyn Johns, Joseph Tomelty

Genre: Drama, Action and Adventure

Moby Dick (1956)

Cat No:
* N/A or Unknown

Slipcase - Rental Tape


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Moby Dick (1956)
Moby Dick (1956)

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