Yesterday was a rainless, hot and humid day. The hours dragged forever making it a slow and long day. But not all was gloomy and fruitless yesterday. In fact it was a serendipitous day. By serendipitous I mean being lucky in making two unexpected and fortunate discoveries. As usual, I made my daily forays into the unfathomable depths of the Web to find themes for my blog. I found two; one was an unbelievable story of a nefarious British trader who brought the Barings Banks to its proverbial knees. His story was written for posterity in a book called Rogue Trader, and it was so successful, it was later adapted to the silver screen. But that’s another story for another day.
The second discovery was a classical motion picture produced by John Huston. The name of the picture is Moby Dick, a 1956 film adaptation of Herman’s Melville’s famous novel. It was directed by John Huston with a screenplay written by Ray Bradbury and the director. The film starred Gregory Peck, Richard Basehart, and Leo Genn. Orson Well had small part, but it was an eloquent part in which he played the character Father Mapple, who addressed a mesmerizing sermon about Jonah, the whale, and the mercy of Almighty God who listened to Jonah’s repentance and saved him from the fury of the beast.
As you are probably aware, I’m reading this great American novel, albeit it’s a difficult read. I turn the pages of dictionaries as much as I’m turning the pages of the novel itself. But that’s fine, I know that my English is rusty and needs to be augmented. Watching the movie will help me understand the book, plus I greatly enjoyed the brilliant performance of Gregory Peck and the rest of the cast. John Huston was a knack in the producing unforgettable motion pictures.
Below is an extract of the eloquent sermon addressed by Father Mapple on a Sunday morning to the churchgoers of New Bedford in 1841. It’s a magnificent example of exquisite English literature.
“Then God spake unto the fish; and from the shuddering cold and blackness of the sea, the whale came breeching up towards the warm and pleasant sun, and all the delights of air and earth; and ‘vomited out Jonah upon the dry land;’ when the word of the Lord came a second time; and Johah, bruised and beaten—his ears, like two sea-shells, still multitudinously murmuring of the ocean—Jonah did the Almighty’s bidding. And what was that, shipmates? To preach the Truth to the face of Falsehood! That was it!
Delight is to him; who gives no quarter in the truth, and kills, burn, and destroys all sin though he pluck it out from under the robes of Senators and Judges.”
Even though Norman Melville wrote Moby Dick in 1851, it’s still applicable today. His assertions of preaching the truth to the face of falsehood and plucking the sins from under the robes of Senators and Judges are true even to this day more than ever. I’m planning to write about this very subject when the ideas are clearer in my head. Lies, half-truths, and fabricated stories of alleged acts of corruption have become the standard of our journalists. The high standards of the journalism of ore are slowing fading away into oblivion.
If you have not seen the movie Moby Dick (YouTube), now is the moment to enjoy one of the finest motion pictures produced by John Huston based on one of the Great American Novels and a treasure of world literature. Au revoir!