Trivia: Moby-Dick

The Novel (1851)

  • Science Marches On: While the author was very knowledgeable about cetology, some "facts" he used have since been proven to be inaccurate.
    "Be it known that, waiving all argument, I take the good old fashioned ground that the whale is a fish."
    • More of a case of definitions march on. "Fish" originally just meant "animal that lives exclusively in water". Melville recognises that whales are warm-blooded, breathe air, and bear live young, but just doesn't think that a sufficient reason to redefine what "fish" means.
    • He also mentions phrenology and physiognomy, both now considered pseudosciences.
    • Chapter 105 poo-poohs the notion that whaling might endanger the whale population.

Film Version (1956)

  • Orson Welles was actually battling depression at the time of filming, and had to be coached through his lines by director John Huston
  • Playing Against Type: The primary reason that the 1956 version wasn't well-receieved initially was that audiences weren't comfortable seeing Gregory Peck as a villainous character (albeit an Anti-Villain). Patrick Stewart and William Hurt faced no such problems.
  • What Could Have Been: William Holden and Robert Mitchum were both pitched as possible alternatives to play Ahab, as they didn't think Gregory Peck was capable of playing a villainous character. Interestingly enough, Peck himself thought that director John Huston would have made the perfect Ahab.

TV Version (1998)

TV Version (2011)