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Moby Dick (1956)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama | 3 October 1956 (Portugal)
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.

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

Ray Bradbury (screenplay), John Huston (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Peck ... Captain Ahab
Richard Basehart ... Ishmael
Leo Genn ... Starbuck
James Robertson Justice ... Capt. Boomer
Harry Andrews ... Stubb
Bernard Miles ... The Manxman
Noel Purcell ... Ship's Carpenter
Edric Connor Edric Connor ... Daggoo
Mervyn Johns ... Peleg
Joseph Tomelty ... Peter Coffin
Francis De Wolff Francis De Wolff ... Capt. Gardiner
Philip Stainton Philip Stainton ... Bildad
Royal Dano ... 'Elijah'
Seamus Kelly Seamus Kelly ... Flask
Friedrich von Ledebur ... Queequeg (as Friedrich Ledebur)
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Storyline

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 <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Before the shark there was the whale (US rerelease 1976) See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 October 1956 (Portugal) See more »

Also Known As:

Herman Melville's Moby Dick See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$10,400,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Huston said that this was the most difficult movie he ever directed. See more »

Goofs

Just before Ishmael and Queequeg meet Elijah, they walk past a moored ship which has a Plimsoll mark painted on her hull. The scene takes place in 1841, but Plimsoll marks were not devised until the 1870's. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ishmael: [voiceover] Call me Ishmael.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film finishes with 'Finis' instead of the usual 'The End'. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Suits: Rewind (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Drummer
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Edric Connor
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Gotten Better With Age
31 January 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

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.


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