• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


    Monday, June 11, 2007

    Father Noah's Ark (1933)

    Evan Almighty is being released at the end of this month in the US (22nd June), although not until the 3rd August here in the UK. Just in case some people have heard about this film yet, it's the sequel to Bruce Almighty, and, according to the trailer at least, Bruce's nemesis from the first film, Evan Baxter, is commissioned by God to build an ark.

    It's obvious from the trailer that this will very much be a modern re-telling of the Noah story, with a few ideas borrowed from other films including the original and The Santa Clause. Given the official website is also encouragin people to give money to plant trees, I suppose I may be able to add An Inconvenient Truth to that list. We will have to see whether the flood is divine or human in origin.

    As a result, I thought it would be a good idea to run a series of posts looking at films featuring Noah. I have previously written an article on films based on Genesis, but I plan here to touch on some films I didn't cover in that article, and to re-visit some of the others in more detail. I've been aided in my quest by a friend who has very kindly passed me a couple of films about Noah that I'd not had the chance to see previously, one of which I'm going to talk about in the remainder of this post.


    Father Noah's Ark is an 8 minute animated short by Disney using human characters to play Noah and his family. The only dialogue occurs in a couple of brief choruses so the narrative relies heavily on the visuals. That said, those who are unfamiliar with the story would struggle to really understand what is going. When this was released almost 75 years ago, the film-makers perhaps thought they could rely on the audience's biblical literacy to fill in the gaps. I can't help but wonder what proportion of people would watch this today without really grasping what was going on.

    I found it interesting that Noah's sons Shem, Ham and Japheth had blond, dark and red hair respectively. I do recall some tradition about Japheth having red hair, but I haven't found any reference to it on the internet so far. Japheth is, however, often referred to as being the father of Europeans. Noah's daughters-in-law also had the same colour hair as their husbands. I suppose it would make it easy to keep tabs on the grandchildren!

    I also noticed how Noah's red coat, jolly disposition, size and big white beard made him look fairly similar to Father Christmas (FWIW the story that Santa Claus' red suit came about because of a Coke ad campaign is an urban myth). This would, no doubt, make the cartoon more appealing to children, and throws up a couple of interesting associations.

    The film itself is very enjoyable. There are a host of visual jokes, especially in the way that traits of various animals are used in building the ark. So a hippopotamus bites holes in wood, a trail of hedgehogs form a conveyor belt etc. did feel sorry for some of the animals who seemed to be happily giving their labour blissfully unaware that only two of their kind would actually make it onto the ark.

    Overall this is an enjoyable telling of the story. and particularly suitable for children. By relying so heavily on the visuals and omitting to show humans who are not part of Noah's family, the story is particularly child friendly, although I would have thought that all ages will enjoy the film's inventive humour.

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    • At 2:34 am, July 11, 2007, Blogger All Sufficiency Ministries ....... ( © A.D. MMXII ) said…

      Hi, Matt. Did you know about the Noah's Flood story covered in the Marcello Baldi film known on DVD as GENESIS (a bonus within the set), as described in Item #4 on my Listmania! list at the first link below? The second link below allows purchase of the UK version. There is some ambiguity about the film's title, as it seems that some sites lump this film together with JACOB THE MAN WHO FOUGHT WITH GOD, but it may have been separately known in Germany as DIE ARCHE NOAH, or in Italy as I PATRIARCHI covering stories of Adam to Noah to Abraham to Jacob (see third link below). I am disappointed that the DVD does not list the actor who played Noah; perhaps you can research this for us, please. Thank you for your interesting reviews and analyses! God bless you!




    • At 4:11 pm, August 18, 2018, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Bit late(!), but yes you can see it here:



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