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Hamlet Lives in HollywoodJohn Barrymore and the Acting Tradition Onscreen$
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Murray Pomerance and Steven Rybin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474411394

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474411394.001.0001

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“Keep Back your Pity”: The Wounded Barrymore of The Sea Beast (1926) and Moby Dick (1930)

“Keep Back your Pity”: The Wounded Barrymore of The Sea Beast (1926) and Moby Dick (1930)

(p.59) Chapter 5 “Keep Back your Pity”: The Wounded Barrymore of The Sea Beast (1926) and Moby Dick (1930)
Hamlet Lives in Hollywood

Dominic Lennard

Edinburgh University Press

In the aftermath of the Great War, Moby-Dick experienced a resurgence, and two loose adaptations traded on the novel’s increasing prestige, The Sea Beast (1926) and Moby Dick (1930), both starring John Barrymore as Captain Ahab. This chapter examines Barrymore’s role as early interpreter of Melville’s work onscreen. Differing substantially from the source text, these films prioritize the maiming of a young and heroic Ahab, whose status as possessor of a confident, desirable masculinity is radically compromised by his injury – a situation with special and tragic resonance to the interwar period.

Keywords:   Moby Dick, John Barrymore, Herman Melville

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