• The film which cemented versatile director Curtiz' reputation in Hollywood is a part-Talkie spectacular which, despite the title, is not entirely concerned with the famous holocaust depicted in the Old Testament. Rather, it purports to parallel the Deluge with the massive losses in human life incurred during the so-called Great War; in that respect, NOAH'S ARK survives not merely as a solid example of late 1920s film craftsmanship but also as a heartfelt morality play delineating the long-lasting effect of that particular combat upon society – pity that, for all its good intentions, a second (and infinitely harsher) World War would be waged in the space of just 11 years! Anyway, to get back to the topic at hand, I knew the film enjoyed a considerable reputation among epic productions of the Silent era but, aware of the fact that the Biblical tale was only illustrated in the form of a vision (lasting for about 40 of its 100 minutes) embedded within the main plot, I had expected to be disappointed by it. However, we open on a remarkably elaborate prologue (superbly-edited in the contemporary Soviet style) and the WWI sequences themselves are well done (featuring even a spectacular train crash early on) and prove surprisingly absorbing in their own right (especially the interaction between the four protagonists – Noah Beery, Dolores Costello, George O'Brien and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams). Incidentally, all four (and a few others) play additional roles in the Noah story; this section is done on a truly grand scale, in clear imitation of Cecil B. DeMille (with a couple of obvious nods to THE TEN COMMANDMENTS [1923] which, coincidentally, I watched 2 days later!) – with the flood itself still highly impressive after all these years and undoubtedly deserving to be ranked among the finest sequences in all of cinema (though controversy still rages about the apparent disregard for the consideration and safety of those involved – with three extras reportedly drowning and several more getting injured during its shooting)!