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Ishmael sees his dream of a whaling voyage come true when he joins the crew of the Pequod, a sailing vessel leaving port in Nantucket. Unbeknownst to Ishmael and the mates, the Pequod s monomaniacal Captain Ahab is taking them all on a mad and personal mission to slay the great whale Moby Dick, an obsession that will open their eyes to the wonder and spectacle of man, of beast, and the inescapable nature of both.
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Not worth the time if you're looking for a modern version of Moby Dick, move on because it will not be found here!
To me 'Gregory Peck's' version was #1; every aspect , Incredible. Seems truest to Melville's book too. The Peck version was directed by John Huston, written by Ray Bradbury and envisioned with all the elements of whale hunting in the early 1800's; it's incredibly vivid, powerful and complex beyond words. Except, maybe Masterpiece. Of course no surprise with the talents involved.
(Orson Wells was to be Ahab; here he's cast as a spell-binding pulpit pounder preaching to those whose lives are hard,
precarious and harsh. One of a great cast, BaseHart and Leo Glenn also reflect that age and its sensibilities.
(I read MOBY DICK an eon ago; based on dimming memories I suggest every reader read it. Masterpiece.) Melvilles books are sold used, often 'like new' in Amazon MarketPlace. Too-good-to-be- true prices will surprise you. Look for books with seven of
HM's best stories compiled; they offer a few bucks per title.) :
For this 1956 rendition, here're subjective notes;
I saw the Peck version on laser; softer, far less sharp than today's digital purity. There's a phrase creatives use: "charming artlessness". The film seemed like we are there. The scruffy crew real, angry ocean scary, the White Whale awesome. So I
of course prefer it to today's slickness.
This 'John Hurt' version in this maybe last version is oaky-good, but feels only like fishing
today. Complete with contemporary sound, music and ultra-sharp cinematography effects.
Hurt's rendition of Ahab grates on me - Hurt, always good, but scripted words and actions don't jive with my reading of Moby D.
His Ahab giggles and laughs and sings and seems not at all like a compulsive crazy whaler captain. And he's entirely too into the sub-teen cabin boy. And there's a melodramatic flavor to all scenes and the plot, abridged from Melville's pages seems somehow con temporized. And he smiles and mugs while his eyes sparkle. A confused, confusing Ahab.
The same's true with Hawke's 1st Mate. Too much the devout hawk, he's both too strong and too weak by turns.
While throughout the crew sings hauling line nearly like a broadway chorus. They seemed pretty-well cleaned up, too.