Noah’s Ark (1928) 35mm – Secret Sundays
NOAH’S ARK (1957 re-release of 1928 original)
dir. Michael Curtiz
“A bare description makes Noah’s Ark sound like a really bad idea for a movie, but in execution it has a giddy simplicity that’s difficult to shake off. Seemingly based as much on silent Italian super-productions as anything from the Bible, it remains an eye-opening spectacle. The flood scenes look dangerous because they were dangerous: cameraman Hal Mohr quit the film when he saw inadequate preparations for the safety of the hundreds of extras. The movie carries the 1928 equivalent of top star power: Dolores Costello is a timeless beauty who could easily be a star today, and George O’Brien has the heroic physique of a Cinecittà muscleman. Just getting started in Hollywood, Michael Curtiz’s direction is both exciting and artful. The film flaunts more than its share of “did you see that?” spectacle, and nurtures a tidy romance at its center. Actually, two tidy romances, between the same two actors.
Darryl Francis Zanuck devised the trick plotline, which could have been invented by Singin’ in the Rain’s Cosmo Brown. The story is split between the well-known account of Noah’s Ark (with romantic embellishments) and a drama that plays out over five years in WW1, which in 1928 was still considered by some to be “the war to end all wars”. ” – Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
Before the feature we will also screen the new piece from Dallas Filmmaker Michael Morris called ARK. ARK is a film made from 35mm prints held in the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection’s archive. The film was made by taking individual films into the dark room, and creating new contact printed strips of film. The film is based on the rare version of the 1928 silent epic Noah’s Ark which makes use of optical sound added in the 1950s, along with a number of other films. The Ark depicted in the film is intended as a stand-in for the archive, a holding place to preserve films from the passage of time and a refuge from which to repopulate the world with images.
Secret Sundays ticket sales benefit the G. William Jones Film and Video Archive and the Top Ten Records project. This series at Texas Theatre showcases the vast array of genre films from original sources stored in the archive vault under the SMU campus.