<strong>Rating: </strong>5/5Rate this
Time Out saysEasy to pick holes in Huston's brave stab at Melville's masterpiece, which opens with breathtaking boldness as a solitary wanderer appears over the brow of a hill, comes to camera to proclaim his 'Call me...Ishmael', then leaves it to follow in the wake of his odyssey. Granted the great white whale is significantly less impressive when lifting bodily out of the sea to crush the Pequod than when first glimpsed one moonlit night, a dim white mass of menace lurking in a black sea. Granted, too, a lightweight Ahab (Peck) and a pitifully weak Starbuck (Genn). But there are marvellous things here: Ishmael's alarming initiation into the whaling community at the tavern; Father Mapple's sermon (superbly delivered by Welles); Queequeg's casting of the bones and his preparation for death; nearly all the whaling scenes. Lent a stout overall unity by Ray Bradbury's intelligent adaptation, by colour grading which gives the images the tonal quality of old whaling prints, and by the discreet use of a commentary drawn from Melville's text which imposes the resonance of legend, it is often staggeringly good.