Title: Moby Dick
Length: 116 minutes
Director: John Huston
Writers: Ray Bradbury & John Huston, based on the novel by Herman Melville
Starring: Gregory Peck, Richard Basehart
With: Leo Genn, James Robertson Justice, Harry Andrews, Bernard Miles, Noel Purcell, Edric Connor, Mervyn Johns, Joseph Tomelty, Philip Stainton, Royal Dano, Seamus Kelly, Friedrich von Ledebur, Orson Welles
Music: Philip Sainton
Cinematography: Oswald Morris
Editing: Russell Lloyd
I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), a few days ago
Synopsis: whale hunters hunt a whale
Concept: As much as I dislike the book, it should be easy (if expensive) to make an excellent movie out of it.
Story: According to IMDb’s trivia, Ray Bradbury didn’t read the book. This is obvious.
Characters: One of the book’s only strengths is that, while it is horribly tedious in communicating its characters, it does have what are possibly the greatest characters in American literature. So, where are they?
Dialog: Early in the movie, there is lots of great dialog, taken directly from the book. Later, presumably as Bradbury gives up on reading, it becomes progressively more and more pointless and ineffective.
Pacing: Sadly, this is the only area in which this movie is faithful to the book: it’s interesting, well-written and promising in the beginning, but then after they set out to sea, it suddenly becomes impossibly tedious. Melville accomplishes this by writing essays; Bradbury achieves the same effect by being a boring, hack writer.
Special effects/design: The visuals start out great, but get worse and worse as things approach the climax. The quality of an effect is inversely proportional to its importance to the story.
Acting: Oh, Gregory Peck… what were you thinking? Worst. Casting. Ever.
Subjective Rating: 3/10 (Bad, ). I can think of a lot of criticisms for the book. (And I mean a lot of them; I spent more than three months forcing myself to get through that thing, and it was a harrowing experience.) But I have to say, never did I think, “I wish this was more like a Ray Bradbury story,” or, “I wish the whales were smaller and generally harmless,” or, “I wish Captain Ahab was younger and more charming.”
Objective Rating (Average):