Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 7. 30th May, 1957

Unable to Master Part

Unable to Master Part

Part of Huston's fault lies in his star. Gregory Peck, to begin with, lacks the hoary and grim aspect of Melville's old Ahab. His voice is too refined and it lacks depth and sublety. No actor has ever received such a build-up nor has he been given such a dramatic entrance. But when Gregory Peck appears he doesn't fill us with awe, nor can we believe that there is some inner crucifixion and woe in his face, as the commentary tells us.

Peck sabotages Huston's more significant moments with his crew. They struggle manfully to reflect the disquietude of their master and add an apprehensiveness of their own. The chorus of "Moby Dick" perform their task vigorously and with as much sublety as they are allowed. But aren't they a little too clean? Where are the mongrel renegades, the castaways and the cannibals?

On the credit side is the way Huston overcomes the hackneyed conventions of the screen sea-stories. There is a new vigour and the three mates are able to give at least a hint of characterisation, even if they are not the momentous men that the novel describes. Harry Andrews as Stubb is the most successful. Although not physically quite right, I liked the Quaker Starbuck of Leo Genn. Huston and his scriptwriter, however, don't do justice to Flask.