Gregory Peck triumphs in his starring role as the obsessed Capt. Ahab in this big-screen version of Herman Melville's classic novel. Ahab longs to hunt down and kill Moby Dick, the great white whale who tore off Ahab's leg years ago. Unfortunately, his maniacal fixation spreads to the crew and ultimately leads to disaster. The legendary John Huston directed this faithful adaptation, which racked up numerous critics' awards.
The strangest, most impenetrable, most lyrical, and most gonzo novel in the English language could never be made into a movie, and yet in 1956, it was. After struggling through 31 CDs of the audio book, I appreciate the movie even more. Somehow it manages to hit the high points of the narrative and at least touch on what I think I understood to be the central theme of man's helplessness in the face of the natural and supernatural worlds.
The acting is generally fine, especially in some of the supporting roles. If this were remade I'm sure they would do a better job of casting Queequeg (Friedrich von Ledebur), but he's a perfectly fine actor, just the wrong ethnicity. Special effects are tolerable and at least spooky in places. Of course its not a real whale, but neither was Moby Dick. It does seem past time for a theater remake with modern CGI, but I'm not sure who I would trust to do it.