In my home town of Youghal (Yawl), County Cork, Ireland, we have an annual Moby Dick literary festival, the reason being, it was there that director, John Huston shot many of the open air scenes from the film. Set in nineteenth century New England, the movie follows Captain Ahab, played by Gregory Peck, through his journey of revenge on Moby Dick, the whale that almost killed him. This inevitably leads to Ahab’s death and the demise of his crew, except for one survivor, young Ishmael, played by Richard Basehart.
It was in Paddy Linehan’s bar that Huston set up headquarters during filming, and subsequently, the name was changed to Moby Dick’s. It is still run by the Linehan family today and there you can have a drink surrounded by photographs of the cast and crew of the movie. The scene where Ahab’s ship, the Pequod, is sailing out from the harbor shows Linehan’s bar. As it heads out to sea, the ship passes the Youghal lighthouse, a local landmark. The actors, mostly women, standing on the pier are local people.
The book Moby Dick, or The Whale, was the work of Herman Melville an American writer, first published in 1851. He was born in 1819 in New York. After the death of his father, it was up to Melville to support the family and he did so through various jobs, which included teaching. At one time he was a sailor and in 1845 he was captured by the Typees (Polynesians) and kept as prisoner for several months. He eventually returned home, unharmed and wrote about his adventures.
Having given up his life at sea, Melville settled in the Berkshires with his wife Elizabeth, whom he married in 1847. Living nearby was the writer, Nathaniel Hawthorne, a recluse who became a close friend. Melville wrote several books, with only Redburn, a comedy, being financially successful. Even his masterpiece, Moby Dick, made little money.
Read more about Melvilles life here MARSocial
By Jean Reinhardt