Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yes. I KNOW! sheesh...

The celebration of the birthday of the stately matriarch of our little clan is approaching, and the one gift that I would never ever ever dream of getting my mom on her birthday -- or any other day -- is admission to the New Bedford Whaling Museum's Thirty-Fourth Whaling Symposium even if it does feature Vicki Ellen Szabo (author of Monstrous Fishes and the Mead-Dark Sea: Whaling in the Medieval North Atlantic) as she discusses the history of Viking whaling. And there's also a session entitled "Invention and History of the Onboard Tryworks." It's this weekend and it's only 170 bucks, but there's only so much excitement a gal can take.I bet that we could add three knots with this much extra sail!

(Mary Martin was supposed to conduct a brunch seminar on special sail handling in South Sea whaling.)
But, in other "whaling": Yes, a cabal of vainglorious Hollywoodenheads is filming yet another unnecessary version of Moby-Dick, this time for teevee, and I'm thankful that I've disengaged that entertainment capability. Moby-Dick is still one of my favorite books, no matter what backlash such an admission triggers or hairy eyeball it engenders. I liked it when I had to read it and I like it more when I read it for no particular reason.
I am, unlike some "scholars" and "sailors," not territorial about the thing. When I say that it is "one of my favorite books," the emphasis is not on the "my." I do not delude myself into thinking that Melville wrote it just for me, nor do I feel any irrepressible need to promote, defend, or mother it.
I will, however, complain when William Hurt and Donald Sutherland sign on to a version of the thing that inexplicably involves a "Mrs. Ahab" played by the always-misused Gillian Anderson.
It's under filmway in Malta and Nova Scotia. Not New Bedford. Never mind that we have Father Mapple's actual Seaman's Bethel, or that it's the city that is the setting for the only chapters that anyone ever gets through. It's New Befford, which doesn't like Moby-Dick attention and would prefer to do a screen adaptation of Down at the Docks because that would require getting turned down by the always-misused Gillian Anderson.
Anyway, according to everything that I've read, the new adaption doesn't seem to have a hyphen, so maybe New Bedford is better off without them.
And as long as they're in Lunenburg and Shelburne Nova Scotia, at least they're on the "South Coast" of something.

(This presentation features a photograph of Mary Martin.)


karie said...

Wow! I thought the famous "make a fancy dress using the drapes"-thing in "Gone With The Wind" was over the top. This lady has an outfit crafted from matress ticking...and it is GIGANITC. It is just not safe deckware, in my opinion.

Chuck said...

That patterning is intended to upset the depth perception of enemy gunners. "Run out the guns - and Mary too!"

LT said...

Saw pics of that "unnecessary" adaptation here:

Looks pretty damn good, and didn't even involve Hollywood money, but you already know better. William Hurt, Ethan Hawke, Gillian Anderson.You say "vainglorious", I say fine actors and a dream cast. Oh, and that "always misused" (what was that supposed to mean, by the way?) Gillian Anderson has as much in common with Hollywood as Michael Bay with ambitious cinema, but never mind, you already passed your verdict.

PJ said...

Thanks for rafting up, LT, and thanks also for the pictures link. In this entry, I have shared my first-blush impression -- not an indictment -- of the idea of a Moby-Dick miniseries. I spell it "teevee" in order to show my own disdain for the generally sloppy, puerile, derivative, unpoliced, illiterate, agitating, and equivocating product flung at viewers these days. (You might remember that I worked in television, and I'm still pals with my college roommate, a successful producer of infomercials. Funny that.)

A verdict" is an important determination -- a conclusion. One that I am not qualified to render on the project at this point since they're still filming it. I'm smug, but not stupid. My "verdict" on Gillian Anderson is my personal opinion. I'd like to see her do more comedy. I like her sense of timing.

When all is said and done, the Hurt/Hawke/Sutherland photoplay might end up shown in classrooms and lauded as "the definitive classic perfect contemporary understanding of that complex written work." (And I have enacted no personal edicts to dismiss, deny, or deride that opinion. Although I may not share it.)

As with any adaptation of Moby-Dick -- including the proposed Timur "Wanted" Bekmambetov big-screen one -- I hope that it encourages viewers to thoroughly experience (i.e."read") the original, and maybe discover some of the source material as well.