Monday, January 12, 2009

"Being an adaptation - for the most part in blank verse - of the novel by Herman Melville."


Moby Dick Rehearsed is the title of a play written and directed by Orson Welles. It was performed in London in 1955. A lost film of the play, directed by Welles, starred the original stage cast, most of whom went on to become big names of the stage and screen.

Welles's minimal stage design was possibly influenced by his long-term friend, Michael Macliammoir, and what he termed "anti-naturalist theater". The stage was bare, the actors appeared in contemporary street clothes, and the props were minimal. For example, brooms were used for oars, and a stick was used for a telescope. The actors provided the action, and the audience's imagination provided the ocean, costumes, and the whale.

In The Fabulous Orson Welles, by Peter Noble, cameraman Hilton Craig reveals, "it was by no means merely a photographed stage-play. On the contrary, it was shot largely in close-ups and looked very impressive on near-completion."

Because the film is lost, many people have speculated it was never created. However, evidence supporting the film was made can be found in the book, The Films Of Christopher Lee, by Pohle Jr. and Hart — Patrick McGoohan allegedly said in a 1986 interview that the excerpt of the film he saw while Welles was reviewing the rushes one day was fantastic.

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