It would be impossible to make a movie that came up to the standard of the novel "Moby-Dick", but this film does a fine job of capturing some of the most important themes, and of telling a selection of the key parts of the story in an interesting way. It would be a temptation for any film-maker to put the focus on the action and the special effects, and thus ruin the heart of the book by downplaying its themes, as so many recent films have done with other classic material. Instead, John Huston's version concentrates on bringing out many of the complex internal and external conflicts of Captain Ahab, in sketching the crew members and their reactions to Ahab's monomania, and in portraying the atmosphere of frequent tedium, growing tension, and occasional dread aboard the 'Pequod'. Richard Basehart's mild, pleasant demeanor makes Ishmael an appropriate mirror for the events and characters on the ship. Gregory Peck does rather well in the very challenging role of Ahab. Ahab is one of the most carefully-designed and demanding characters in literature, and lesser actors would simply be an embarrassment in the part. On screen, there is much to Ahab that just does not come across, and Peck's performance has to be judged with that in mind. Leo Genn makes his scenes as Starbuck count, and several of the other crew members are portrayed well, albeit in much smaller parts. As Father Mapple, Orson Welles has only one scene, but it is an important one, in that it sets up some of the vital themes of the story ahead. Welles was an ideal choice, and his scene in the church is one scene that does come up to the high standard of Melville's novel. While there may indeed be some areas in which this version falls short, and it's fair to point them out, it would be pretty difficult to improve on it in a cinema version of the story. And if taken on its own, it fits together well, making generally good choices as to what material would fit together and would work on screen, and in using the photography and settings to create the right atmosphere. For those who appreciate the depth of the original story, this has more than enough to make it worth watching.
Moby Dick (1956) 1080p YIFY Movie
Moby Dick (1956) 1080p
Moby Dick is a movie starring Gregory Peck, Richard Basehart, and Leo Genn. 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.
IMDB: 7.44 Likes
The Synopsis for Moby Dick (1956) 1080p
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.
The Director and Players for Moby Dick (1956) 1080p
The Reviews for Moby Dick (1956) 1080p
A Fine Job of Filming a Challenging NovelReviewed bySnow LeopardVote: 5/10
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.
I enjoyed the heck out of this movie. It's an honest attempt to bring the great novel to the screen, and there is no reworking or Hollywoodizing of it. The story progresses and the characters are believable.
There is, however, a continuing flaw in many movies when an actor of the wrong age is cast for a particular part. This gives us things like a 22-year-old kid playing Superman and 70-year-old Robert Mitchum playing a World War Two Navy captain. (Captains are typically in their early 40s.) That happens here. Gregory Peck effectively conveys the obsessive madness of Ahab, but he is just plain WAY too young. Melville's Ahab is 58, which was considered old in the middle of the 19th century. Peck himself is said to have noted he was not right for the role and that it demanded more than he had in him at that age.
Here's a thought.
This happens in reverse in another superb seagoing film, "The Caine Mutiny" (1954). Humphrey Bogart, then over 50, plays a 30-something Navy LCDR. Again - Bogie nails the part, but he's just plain WAY too old.
What if we go back in time and have Bogart play Ahab and Peck play Queeg? Bogie would be marvelous as the mad, obsessive Ahab, and Peck could bring off the dark, disturbed, unbalanced Queeg just right.
Both are marvelous movies with terrific lead characters - but both stars are twenty years wrong in age.
Get the DVDs and view both and see what you think.