I'd like know what people here think of the film. Though it is certainly a meeting of two major talents (one mights say "geniuses"), and Ray talks and writes so fondly about the experience, personally, I think they missed the mark. What do you all think?
Posts: 8 | Location: Antioch | Registered: 12 May 2002
I think it is a very fine film, given the length of Melville's novel and the need to compress that lengthy book into an approximate two-hour running time. As for Ray talking and writing "so fondly about the experience", I agree it is an experience he treasures, and that he feels it opened many doors for him and gave him many wonderful ideas for stories about Ireland (my personal favorite is "Banshee"). But if anyone has heard him talk about Huston's unpleasant treatment of Ray while in Ireland (or read GREEN SHADOWS, WHITE WHALE, or seen the filmed biography of Ray, RAY BRADBURY: AN AMERICAN ICON), you realize that there is a definite love/hate feeling there regarding the famed director. Moreover, even after the writing was over, Houston continued to make trouble. Houston apparently had little, if anything, to do with writing the screenplay, but added him name to the screenplay credits without first telling Ray and also put his name first in the credits. After going through an arbitration process, Houston was awarded the right to include his name in the screenwriting credits (a result Ray strongly feels was unwarranted by the evidence and which came about only as a result of Houston's fame as a director), but his name was relegated to appearing after Ray's.
The following incident may reflect Ray's feelings about the matter. Ray appeared in Chicago for a signing at a local bookstore in the 1990's. I took to have signed by him my beautiful, linen-backed one-sheet poster for the 1956 film MOBY DICK. I proudly unrolled it and asked Ray if he would sign it. He looked at it and simply said "OK." He signed his autograph by his name. He then took his pen, struck through Houston's name where it appeared by the screenwriting credit on the poster, and wrote above it, "S.O.B." (!!!). That signed movie poster is one of my favorite items in my collection!
It is an ok movie. And after reading Green Shadows, White Whale I like it less. I didn't like Huston's Maltese Falcon either. As for mystery classics I'd go with Bogey in The Big Sleep. I would love to see Bradbury's Death is a Lonely Business on film though. One of my favorites of Bradbury's and of the mystery genre.
I am reviving this thread to post the below link to an article about Ray Bradbury, John Houston and the film MOBY DICK that appeared in THE IRISH TIMES last year. It was written by a college professor who was a young boy living in Ireland at the time the film was made, and contains several photos from the filming I had not seen before. And when I read my post above from 2003 about how Ray signed my MOBY DICK movie poster, I realize all the years that have passed since I first visited this Board!
Dolph Sharp was a California writer. He was also a close friend of Ray Bradbury. For many years, Ray regularly attended writing sessions that Mr. Sharp would hold, gatherings where writers would meet to discuss and critique each other's work. Mr. Sharp's daughter, E.E. King, has a website where she has posted a letter that Ray wrote to her father in October 23, 1953 from the Royal Hibernian Hotel in Dublin, where Ray was at work on the screenplay of MOBY DICK for director John Houston. It's a fine letter, and shows the great affection that Ray had for both Mr. Sharp and the country of Ireland. You can read that letter by clicking on the link below:
The 1956 film version of MOBY DICK, directed by John Houston and scripted by Ray Bradbury, is now available for viewing (for free!) on YouTube. For those who have never seen this excellent movie before, you're in for a treat. It features a great cast, including Gregory Peck, Richard Basehart, Leo Genn, and Orson Welles. Ray's troubles, and his love/hate relationship, with director Houston, including what Ray strongly felt was Houston's unwarranted screenplay credit, are well known. (Just read my much earlier posting above, and how Ray signed my MOBY DICK film poster!) To view the film, just click on the link below: