Filming Moby Dick At Elstree Film Studios And Ireland (1954)

 

“The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them” – Herman Melville, Moby Dick

 

1954, England, Elstree Film Studios, filming "Moby Dick" (b)

1954, England, Elstree Film Studios, filming “Moby Dick”, by Frank Horvat

 

John Houston’s thundering film version of Moby Dick stars Gregory Peck as hollow-cheeked Captain Ahab, a man consumed and agonised by a thrashing desire to possess the mystical white whale that broke his body in a previous encounter.

For the movie – this the third time Herman Melville’s saga had been filmed – Youghal, Co. Cork, Ireland, stood in for the novel’s New Bedford; a studio in Elstree was the rolling Pacific and the whale’s domain.

The huge whale was made by Dunlop in Stoke-on-Trent, England. The close-ups were built by a special effects man, August Lohman. The beast’s head was full size.

 

1954, England, Elstree Film Studios, filming "Moby Dick" (b)

1954, England, Elstree Film Studios, filming “Moby Dick” by Frank Horvat

 

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Gregory Peck's boat is held by the whale's jaws in a scene from the film 'Moby Dick', 1956. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)

Gregory Peck’s boat is held by the whale’s jaws in a scene from the film ‘Moby Dick’, 1956.

 

Gregory Peck holds a spear to the whale in a scene from the film 'Moby Dick', 1956. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)

Gregory Peck holds a spear to the whale in a scene from the film ‘Moby Dick’, 1956.

 

Gregory Peck (1916 - 2003), as Captain Ahab during the shooting of 'Moby Dick', on location at Youghal, County Cork, Ireland. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Gregory Peck (1916 – 2003), as Captain Ahab during the shooting of ‘Moby Dick’, on location at Youghal, County Cork, Ireland. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

 

The cast and crew of the Warner Brothers film 'Moby Dick' on location in Youghal, County Cork. Members include Richard Basehart, Gregory Peck (1916 - 2003) as Captain Ahab, Leo Genn (1905 - 1978) in the sailor's cap, and director John Huston (1906 - 1987) on the far right. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

The cast and crew of the Warner Brothers film ‘Moby Dick’ on location in Youghal, County Cork. Members include Richard Basehart, Gregory Peck (1916 – 2003) as Captain Ahab, Leo Genn (1905 – 1978) in the sailor’s cap, and director John Huston (1906 – 1987) on the far right. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)