#42: MOBY DICK
"Speak not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me! Look ye, Starbuck, all visible objects are but as pasteboard masks. Some inscrutable yet reasoning thing puts forth the molding of their features. The white whale tasks me; he heaps me. Yet he is but a mask. 'Tis the thing behind the mask I chiefly hate; the malignant thing that has plagued mankind since time began; the thing that maws and mutilates our race, not killing us outright but letting us live on, with half a heart and half a lung!"
No MOBY DICK, no JAWS.
No MOBY DICK, no PINOCCHIO.
No MOBY DICK, no...GODZILLA.
Think I'm crazy? MOBY DICK was written by Herman Melville in 1851, and though tales of bitchin whales go back to The Book of JONAH, DICK was the first novel to feature a giant whale.
But even more importantly, MOBY DICK is the first great American monster novel. And at a time where movies didn't exist, that's pretty damn significant.
There are two great MOBY DICK things worth experiencing. Read the book, first of all, but if you don't have the patience for it (and with your Playstation addled brains, who can blame you?), do yourself a favor and rent the 1956 film version starring Gregory Peck.
Everything about that movie is incredible. It's directed by John Huston, and Ray F'N Bradbury wrote the script.
It's the ultimate man against monster movie. And every single film where someone is hunting down a giant monster owes a debt of gratitude to this tale.