BrianRxm Coins in Movies 67/115
Moby Dick (1956)
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The 1956 Warner Brothers film "Moby Dick" has a famous scene where the captain of a whaling ship
nails a gold coin to the mast as a reward for the seaman who first spots a "special" whale.
 
The film is based on Herman Melville's famous 1851 novel about an 1840's whaling voyage
commanded by a Captain Ahab who is obsessed with pursuing and killing a white whale named "Moby Dick".
The story is narrated by Ishmael, a young man who signs aboard the ship looking for adventure.
The film is set in 1841 and 1842.
It stars Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab and Richard Basehart as Ishmael.
 
At one point Captain Ahab nails a gold coin to the ship's mast as a reward for the first man
who spots the whale.
Moby Dick
1. Title
 
Moby Dick
2. Ishmael and Queequeg arrive at the ship 'Pequod'
 
Ishmael meet Queequeg at a New Bedford, Massachusetts lodge.
Queequeg is a heavily tattooed South Sea islander rumored to have been a cannibal.
 
Moby Dick
3. Captain Ahab with the gold doubloon
 
He nails it to the ships' mast as a reward for the first seaman who spots the white whale.
 
Moby Dick
4. The gold doubloon nailed to the mast
 
The coin is an Ecuador Republic gold eight escudos or "doubloon".
These particular types were minted from 1838 to 1843 in Quito, Ecuador.
 
Although the captain calls the coin an "ounce", it is actually around 8/10 of an ounce of gold,
worth then around $16 US dollars.
 
The coin in the film is no doubt a prop coin, possibly minted on one side only.
 
Real coins of this type sell for $10,000 to over $20,000, they are sometimes called
"Moby Dick coins" due to their mention in the book.
 
Moby Dick
5. The 'Pequod' sailing
 
A classic sailing ship of the period.
 
Moby Dick
6. Doubloon glowing
 
At one point there is no wind and the ship is stuck in a very warm place.
Crewmen look up at the coin which appears to be glowing.
One man suggests throwing the coin into the sea as a 'reward'.
 
Moby Dick
7. Another view at the coin
 
The coin reads "REPUBLICA DEL ECUADOR / QUITO / M.V."
 
Later a seaman does sight the whale.
 
Moby Dick
8. Captain pays the seaman
 
Captain Ahab hands the coin over to the seaman who spotted the whale.
 
Moby Dick
9. The White Whale appears
 
The whale appears, covered with ropes and harpoons from previous attempts on it.
 
After a battle between the ship's crew and the whale, the captain harpoons the whale
and becomes entangled in the ropes.
 
Moby Dick
10. Captain Ahab tied to the whale
 
The enraged whale attacks the ship's boats and then the ship itself, sinking it.
 
Moby Dick
11. Ship sinking
 
Ishmael survives the sinking and lives to tell the story.
Notes:
 
Cast:
Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab
Richard Basehart as Ishmael
Friedrich Ledebur as Queequeg
 
Director: John Huston
Writers: Ray Bradbury, John Huston
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