Sunday, July 11, 2010

Call Me Ishmael...

I recorded the 1956 John Huston/Gregory Peck version of Moby Dick that was on TCM last week and watched it clandestinely since my wife hates the book and wasn't too interested in watching the movie. I don't remember much about the book from reading it in high school, so I'll respect her opinion, but I do like the movie.

Huston created a fantastic looking film with a limited budget as well as the limited effects technology of the day. He also put together a great cast. Although Peck got flack at the time for being too young and handsome to play Ahab, I thought he did a great job, especially in the finale when he faces the whale. Other actors may have played the part more broadly, but few could have brought more conviction to it. Friedrich von Ledebur, who played Queequeg, had an amazing face that, like Woody Strode's, looked like it was carved from marble. On top of all that, you had Orson Welles in the small part of Father Mapple, delivering a fiery sermon from a pulpit that looked like a ship's prow.

Now I'm going to have to re-read the book, dammit.

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