Starring John Barrymore
March 1926

To the thousands who have been thrilled by Herman Melville's "Moby Dick," the story of a white whale, this screen translation will be eminently satisfying. Those who have not read the book have in store for them a motion picture that the Warners can conscientiously call a classic.

The outstanding feature of the film play is the exquisite love story of Ahab and Esther, beautifully played by John Barrymore and Dolores Costello. The flowering of their romance, the sweet agony of their parting when Ahab goes to sea, the anguish caused by the misunderstanding that separates the lovers -- are some of the most poignant moments ever pictured on the screen.

John Barrymore gives his usual finished performance. His agony is almost too realistic in the scene wherein the sailors cauterize the bloody stump of the leg torn off by the sea beast. It's too gruemsome for the sensitive souls. And later, too, when he burns the tattooed name of "Esther" off his arm.

Dolores Costello's beauty is a delight to behold, and her acting is unbelievably good for a comparative newcomer. The scene in which she first sees the havoc wrought upon her lover by the white whale reaches artistic heights that leave one treambling. And the scene is perfect pictorially.

Thrilling moments are provided in the sequences wherein Ahab drives his ship through the waterspout in his mad chase for vengeance on Moby Dick, the whale; and again where he fights to the death his villainous brother.

George O'Hara as the scheming brother performs very well and looks startlingly like John Barrymor in many scenes.

Director Millard Webb has put strenghth and beauty into the telling of his tale. A light criticism might tbe offered, however, that he story does not get started soon enough.

Starring John Barrymore
March, 1926

"The Sea Beast" (Warner Brothers) does not come up to expectations, principally because its story turns out to be quite preposterous -- and John Barrymore attempts to do another Jekyll-and-Hyde. It suggests a first-rate atmosphere in its ship scenes and the detail surrounding the New Bedford wharf, but in its action it falters with incident that cannot be called real.

For instance, the young whaler is shoved off the small boat as Moby Dick, the white whale, is pursued. He is rescued -- minus his leg -- and no mention is made of the villainous act. Certainly, the hero would have had some idea that he didn't accidentally fall into the water.

There are some moments of eloquence in the picture -- particularly in a storm at sea, but most of it rings artificial because Barrymore insists upon stressing the emotions. He undergoes a complete metamorphosis when his half-brother's treachery leads him to believe his sweetheart unfaithful. And the acting is far too dramatic.

If the pruning-shears were used upon the picture to trim it to five reels, it would carry much more suspense. As it is, it doesn't represent itself as much of anything except a vehicle for Barrymore to scale the emotions. The whaling episodes are not authentic, and while the action is vigorous enough it lacks reality and charm.

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