The whale is feeling Peckish
John Huston’s legendary telling of Herman Melville’s classic story of blubber and metaphors lands on a Twilight Time Blu-ray, which, of course, means that by the time you read this all available copies will have long since left retail, only to be later found somewhere buried deep within the submerged catacombs of Oak Island.
You know the story: Ishmael is the lone survivor of a lost whaling vessel. He brings back with him the unbelievable story of a violent encounter with an ill-tempered white whale–as well as the saga of pathological, one-legged vengeance in the form of Captain Ahab (Gregory Peck).
Through storms and whale hunting and oil boiling and blubber harvesting the crew of the Pequod power through, willing to follow their maniacal captain to the gates of watery Hell. They, of course, get their wish eventually as Ahab leads them right into the teeth of the fearsome Moby Dick.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Moby Dick, but this one holds up well. The sense of adventure on the high seas is present and accounted for, even if it is obvious that much of the whale-on-man action was filmed with miniatures in a water tank. But, hey, there’s something cool about this practical, nuts-and-bolts movie-making. And the final confrontation with the great whale still manages to be a thriller (even if it’s obvious it’s dolls in a tub).
Of course, it’s all about Gregory Peck, who brings a gravitas and a half to the role of Captain Ahab. The guy cuts a mean figure with his pegleg and nautical beard and unbridled desire deliver all of his dialogue with a salty, guttural bellow. His final descent into madness in the final battle is still a sight to behold.
Solid presentation from Twilight Time: 1.66:1, 1080p and a 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio are joined by a featurette on the creation of Moby Dick (the whale), an isolated score track, a film historians commentary.
Thar she blows. Not Guilty.