NOAH’S ARK (1928)
Article 5349 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Michael Curtiz and Darryl F. Zanuck
Featuring Dolores Costello, George O’Brien, Noah Beery
What it is: Thinks it’s INTOLERANCE
An American soldier in Europe falls in love with a German woman from a theatrical troupe on the eve of WW1. When war comes, the man feels compelled to join the army, and is separated from his love, with whom he is now married. What will be their fates?
Yes, you’ve read that right – a movie about the Great Flood of the Bible is mostly a drama about World War 1. That’s because the movie has a conceit, and that is that WW1 was the modern (at that time) equivalent of the flood. If that conceit seems a bit forced, join the club; even by expanding the Noah story (which the movie eventually gets around to telling) with an elaborate sword-and-sandal style subplot, the parallel never quite gels, and the movie comes off as a bit of a head-scratcher. This is not to say that the movie doesn’t have its moments; there is some impressive spectacle here. Yet even this is marred by the fact that some of the spectacle was handled irresponsibly; huge amounts of water was dumped on many untrained and unprepared extras, and three actors were killed and many more were seriously injured. Eventually, this incident would lead to the drafting of new stunt safety regulations. Reportedly, two of the extras to survive the movie were John Wayne and Andy Devine, according to IMDB. My favorite scene is the one where God finally gets around to telling Noah to build the ark, giving him instructions in a huge rock book with burning letters. As corny as that sounds, it makes for an impressive visual feast in the movie; it’s certainly more impressive than just having a Twitter account.