Noah's Ark was the attempt of young hard driving head of production at Warner Brothers Darryl F. Zanuck to produce a biblical spectacle that would out DeMille, DeMille. Like DeMille he took a Victorian era modern story and juxtaposed it with the biblical story of Noah's Ark. And like DeMille leavened his story with a little sex.
The leads are George O'Brien and Dolores Costello who play an American national and a German girl who make it to France as war is declared. They fall in love and are married, but her nationality is kept a secret lest she be detained and maybe executed as a spy. When the Yanks come Over There, O'Brien joins up, but Costello gets herself in a jackpot I won't go into except to say that it involves the lecherous Noah Beery. As they await their fate, they are comforted by a minister played by Paul McAllister who seems to pop up in the story in some odd places.
At that point McAllister tells them the story of Noah's Ark and the characters in the modern story become characters in the Bible. O'Brien becomes Japheth one of Noah's sons and Costello becomes Miriam, a hand maiden in the house of Noah and O'Brien's girlfriend. Noah Beery becomes the evil Mesopotamian king who demands a virginal sacrifice and guess who he has in mind. And of course McAllister is Noah.
The story gets quite a bit of embellishment spiritually as elements from different Bible stories get tossed into the plot. O'Brien like Samson is blinded and condemned to work a grist mill and Noah's sign from God to build the Ark is the burning bush. In addition God is called Jehovah and as we know God had no name until it was revealed to Moses many generations later. C.B. DeMille would have scolded Zanuck for being that bad on scholarship. But he would have applauded Zanuck for the use of scantily clad maidens to show Mesopotamia's decadence.
Which the modern minister McAllister and the titled narrative compare to modern times in the tradition of DeMille.
Myrna Loy has a role in both the modern and biblical story. If you look you might spot both John Wayne and Andy Devine as extras drowning in God's Flood. O'Brien and Costello make an earnest pair of young lovers who face the future with the hope that no more wars will happen after the Great War as World War One was then called. It should be remembered that the United States and France led many nations to sign the Kellogg-Briand pact around the same time, outlawing war. Just about every nation that signed it did go to war at some point thereafter, except maybe Switzerland. That would have resonated with 1928 audiences as well as the added sequences of dialog which Warner Brothers as the studio which introduced sound would be expected to include.
Noah's Ark is a rather dated film, but the special effects were state of the art for its time. It's a curiosity for today's viewers.
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