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“Revenge upon a Dumb Brute”: Casting the Whale in Film Adaptations of Moby-Dick

“Revenge upon a Dumb Brute”: Casting the Whale in Film Adaptations of Moby-Dick “Revenge upon a Dumb Brute”: Casting the Whale in Film Adaptations of Moby-Dick david dowling upon the 2011 announcement of the dis­ Questioning the whale’s capacity for revenge covery of the sunken antebellum ship The Two threatens the core of the legend—largely perpe­ Brothers, a rash of Wikipedia pages instantly trated by the tendency to turn Moby-Dick into broke out, opening up new dialogue about the an action­ adventure film—that whales are natu­ previous voyage of its captain George Pollard Jr. ral enemies to humans and will seek out and on the whaleship Essex. The discussion gravi­ attack ships at sea. To problematize the agency tated toward Pollard’s link to the fictional char­ of the whale in film versions of Melville’s novel acter Ahab in Herman Melville’s novel Moby- not only threatens to defuse the tension at the Dick; the Essex, like Ahab’s Pequod, sunk in the core of Melville’s narrative, which bloggers But did aftermath of a hull­ shattering collision. desperately wanted to revive in their discus­ the whale intentionally ram the ship’s hull? Is it sion of Pollard. Such questions also deflate the in the nature of this essentially docile creature drama of conventional cinematic storytelling to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Film and Video University of Illinois Press

“Revenge upon a Dumb Brute”: Casting the Whale in Film Adaptations of Moby-Dick

Journal of Film and Video , Volume 66 (4) – Nov 27, 2014

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
ISSN
1934-6018

Abstract

“Revenge upon a Dumb Brute”: Casting the Whale in Film Adaptations of Moby-Dick david dowling upon the 2011 announcement of the dis­ Questioning the whale’s capacity for revenge covery of the sunken antebellum ship The Two threatens the core of the legend—largely perpe­ Brothers, a rash of Wikipedia pages instantly trated by the tendency to turn Moby-Dick into broke out, opening up new dialogue about the an action­ adventure film—that whales are natu­ previous voyage of its captain George Pollard Jr. ral enemies to humans and will seek out and on the whaleship Essex. The discussion gravi­ attack ships at sea. To problematize the agency tated toward Pollard’s link to the fictional char­ of the whale in film versions of Melville’s novel acter Ahab in Herman Melville’s novel Moby- not only threatens to defuse the tension at the Dick; the Essex, like Ahab’s Pequod, sunk in the core of Melville’s narrative, which bloggers But did aftermath of a hull­ shattering collision. desperately wanted to revive in their discus­ the whale intentionally ram the ship’s hull? Is it sion of Pollard. Such questions also deflate the in the nature of this essentially docile creature drama of conventional cinematic storytelling to

Journal

Journal of Film and VideoUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Nov 27, 2014

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