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Orson Welles’ “Moby Dick” Debuts in Toronto

Nov. 2, 1962 - Orson Welles’s theatrical adaptation of the Herman Melville novel “Moby Dick” won an enthusiastic reception tonight from a packed theater and two out of three Toronto critics. Herbert Whittaker of The Globe and Mail called the play “a production of classic proportions” in which Rod Steiger, as Captain Ahab, “achieves magnificence.” Ronald Evans in The Telegram judges it “a grim, powerful, and stirring chunk of theatricality, built around one towering, memorable character.” Nathan Cohen of The Daily Star, however, found little to praise in the production. His judgment is summarized in his opening sentence: “A whale of a novel has been turned into a flounder of a play.”


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