Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Noah's Ark (1928)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Noah's Ark (1928)

In this melodramatic epic, a silent film (and part-talkie) directed by Michael Curtiz - told in parallel narratives with both a modern-day story (set in 1914) and a Biblical story, using the same actors in similar roles, and with primitive (but deadly) special effects - the parallel intercutting in the film was reminiscent of D.W. Griffith's Intolerance (1916), with actors playing roles in both sections - in its original premiere form, it was about 135 minutes in length, although later shortened by about a half-hour. The surviving prints are about 108 minutes long:

  • the intercut sequences of the Biblical story of the 'Great Flood', with a climactic flood sequence - that mixed minatures, double-exposures, and the full-scale destruction of actual sets
  • the early religious epic about Biblical times and the sins of mankind was intercut with a parallel melodramatic romance story about soldiers in the Great War (WWI) - with moralizing about the hedonistic sins of the Jazz Age and Wall Street speculation
  • in the Biblical segment, a scene reminiscent of Cecil B. DeMille's earlier epic The Ten Commandments (1923), Noah (Paul McAllister) (a Moses figure) went on a mountain trek where, in a dramatic scene, he experienced a Burning Bush and the creation of two giant stone tablets on a mountainside with flaming letters (written by lightning) warning of a giant flood; he was commissioned by God to build an Ark to escape: ("And behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of water upon the Earth to destroy all flesh - Make thee an Ark of gopher wood and thou shalt come into the Ark, thou and thy sons and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee - And of every living thing of all flesh two of every sort shalt thou bring into the Ark")
Three Flaming Tablets - Noah Commanded to Build Ark
  • just before the flood, virginal Miriam (Dolores Costello), Noah's handmaiden (betrothed to Noah's youngest son Japheth (George O'Brien)) was randomly chosen to be sacrificed by King Nephilim (Noah Beery) of Akkad to his God Jaghuth - as the high priest's archer drew back his bow and arrow to execute her high upon an altar, he was struck by lightning, and Miriam was saved from execution
Archer Struck by Lightning
Miriam Atop Altar
  • the flood commenced with a fierce storm; another lightning bolt destroyed the temple and torrents of water caused a massive flood that ravaged everything
  • the imprisoned but now-freed (but blinded) Japheth heard Miriam's cries for help as she was threatened with being swept away in the currents; he rescued her from the water by picking her up to save her from drowning; with the water flowing down his face, his blindness was miraculously cured, as he brought her to the Ark on the outskirts of the city
Brought Into Ark
Miriam's Thankfulness
  • those pagans that were still alive clamored to enter the Ark as it slowly floated away; King Nephilim's attempt failed when the door slammed onto his hand; all others were unsuccessful "and all living things - PERISHED!"
The Great Flood: Storms and Torrents of Water

Noah (Paul McAllister) on Mountain

The Building of the Ark

Animals in Pairs Entered Ark

The Destruction of the Temple

Miriam Rescued by Japheth From Flood Waters

King Nephilim's Vain Attempt to Enter Ark


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