John Huston (1906-1987) and Typee
During the period when he was editing Moby Dick the director planned to follow it with Typee, another Melville project starring Gregory Peck, which would be filmed in Tahiti and British Samoa. There was much talk of Huston’s flying Peck to the islands in search of a beautiful native girl who would portray his wife—and a shooting date of July, 1956, had been tentatively assigned.
Nolan, William F. John Huston: King Rebel. Sherbourne Press, 1965. 149.
Huston to Make ‘Typee’ in Pastels
ONE FEATURE of the new version of “Moby Dick” (Astor) is the color, which is subdued, in harmony with the mood of the story. This effect, entirely new in movies, was obtained by printing the film in black and white over color. In the tragic ocean scenes, it is just barely color at all. Producer-director JOHN HUSTON saw those south seas in such hues when he voyaged there—seeking, not the great, white whale, like Captain Ahab, but realism.
Next, in “Typee,” Huston will try genuine pastel shades, pale colors of high brilliance, like those of the French artist GAUGUIN, who painted in Tahiti. For Typee is a velley and once was the name of a tribe, in the Marquesas. There HERMAN MELVILLE, author of “Typee” and of “Moby Dick,” was a prisoner of cannibals…One day he was about to be cooked for dinner; the next, he was being courted by the savage king’s daughter. So I was informed by GREGORY PECK, a student of Melville and a pupil of Huston.
Boston Sunday Advertiser. July 1, 1956: 7.
LOOKING AT HOLLYWOOD
Lucky Jockey Pearson
By HEDDA HOPPER
(Chicago Tribune-N. Y. News Syndicate)
HOLLYWOOD — Jockey Bill Pearson, $64,000 question prize winner, is still riding high with luck. John Huston told me Bill will have one of the top roles in “Typee.” He’ll play Toby Green, the pal of Herman Melville who jumped the whaler Asuchnet [sic] with him in the Marquesas where they lived among the annibals for over two months. Peck will play Melville.
When publishers questioned the authenticity of “Typee,” it was Toby who showed up unexpectedly to confirm the truth of their adventure. Huston took off over the week end to scout locations in Tahiti. The film will start this summer and meanwhile Pearson’s under orders to let his short cropped hair grow out.
Times-Picayune [New Orleans, LA]. May 16, 1956: 7 col 3.
Huston’s film version of Moby-Dick finally reached the screen in 1956, after well over a decade languishing in development. […] the cost of it all but bankrupted Moulin Productions, using up all the profits from Huston’s popular Toulouse-Lautrec biopic Moulin Rouge, and ended Huston’s intentions to film Typee.
Kim, Heidi. Invisible Subjects: Asian America in Postwar Literature. Oxford UP, 2016. 197 n. 33.
By LOUELLA PARSONS
HOLLYWOOD—You can imagine the shock Gregory Peck, John Huston and Allied Artists had when Ben Bogeaus announced that he is starting Herman Melville’s classic, “Typee,” in forty-five days, with Ray Milland as his star!
Allied has already spent half a million dollars preparing “Typee” and Greg was paid $250,000 in advance. Huston took a trip to the Fiji Islands to plan locations, and then decided to postpone “Typee” until later this year.
Bogeaus says he registered the title two years ago and that the Melville classic is in public domain. He also says he has a complete script by James Leicester and he has shot 35,000 feet of color film in the Fiji Islands using the natives. […]
Louella Parsons’ column is a regular feature of the Boston Sunday Advertiser.
Boston Evening American. June 8, 1957. 20 cols 1-2.