Young Ishmael sets sail on the Pequod to hunt whales. When the whaling ship is on the high seas, Capt. Ahab promises a gold doubloon to the first person who sights Moby Dick, the gigantic white whale which had mutilated him. The epic hunt begins.
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Surprised to find that this oft-maligned film is quite a bit better than its reputation. (But it's John Huston, right? Despite those damned Cahiers du cinema kids and American lackeys Andrew Sarris etc dubbing him a non-auteur, one of the major American film directors). Seen in a sparkling copy that really shows off that black-grey-beige-white palette helps enormously. Just a beauty.
John Huston's robust adaptation packs all the passion and adventure of Herman Melville's classic, crafted into a fast-paced feature epic by screenwriter Ray Bradbury. An authentic period atmosphere (unusual for Hollywood films from this era) thanks to the lavish production designer and revolutionary cinematography, and even the vintage special effects are often impressive. A classic.
This is the best way to discover Herman Melville's lengthy novel about a whale and the man hunting him. John Huston delivers a grand adaptation and Gregory Peck gives a stellar performance as Captain Ahab.
Decent adaptation of a ridiculously unfilmable book. Those who love the novel might be frustrated by the fact that Ishmael's psychological journey is merely hinted at (for goodness' sake, it is pretty much the point of the novel!), but that's a testament to the book's greatness rather than the film's weakness.
Great cast, but the best part is the cinematography / color palette.
3.5 stars. Walter Huston, if he had been alive, would have made a much better Ahab than Gregory Peck, who tries hard but fails to convince. That said, it is still an amazing film. So many good moments and fine performances.