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Film / The Bible (1966)

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The Bible (in some places The Bible: In the Beginning...) is a 1966 Biblical Epic directed by John Huston, produced by Dino de Laurentiis and with an All-Star Cast and thousands of extras. One of the last of the great Biblical Epics, it retells the most famous episodes from the Book of Genesis, divided into a number of episodes or chapters.

  1. The Creation: The Creation of the world by God (voiced by John Huston), Adam (Michael Parks) and Eve, Cain (Richard Harris) and Abel (Franco Nero) and the first murder.
  2. The Flood: Noah (Huston) is told by God (Huston again) to build the Ark before God floods the world. Featuring a boatload of animals and even a little good-natured Slapstick, it's a relatively Lighter and Softer episode, and featured one of the largest interior sets ever built at the time for the Ark.
  3. The Tower of Babel: Nimrod (Stephen Boyd) orders the building of a tower to Heaven, so for his arrogance God strikes down the tower and confuses the speech of man.
  4. Abraham: The longest section chronicles the life of Abraham (George C. Scott) and Sarah (Ava Gardner), including his calling by God, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by three angels (all Peter O'Toole), and God's test of his faith by ordering him to sacrifice his son Isaac.
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It was filmed in Dimension-150, one of only two films (the other was Patton) to do so. The score, by Toshiro Mayuzumi and an uncredited Ennio Morricone, was nominated for an Academy Award, but lost to Born Free.


Tropes:

  • Adaptational Jerkass: Hagar. Once made baby-momma, she praises herself and mocks Sarah over her barrenness. She also demands Abraham to abandon any hope of Sarah bearing a child and instead bless Ishmael as his heir. The film omits several scriptural scenes of her woobiness (Sarah abusing her; her running away).
  • Adaptational Villainy: Following traditions, Nimrod the Hunter becomes chief mastermind in the building of the Tower of Babel, rebellious of God.
  • Guttural Growler: George Scott's Abraham.
  • Hollywood Costuming: The film is overall very careful with regards of costumes, but some modern details still slipped through:
    • At the end of an early dialog between Sarah and her handmaid Hagar, Hagar stands up and turns around heading for the door, at which point it can be seen that the back of her tight dress is held together with a modern-day zipper.
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    • Before they get into the Ark, one of Noah's daughters-in-law can be seen with a modern bra under her tunic.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: George C. Scott gets to use his gravelly voice to full effect when he rages against God about having to sacrifice Isaac.
  • Same Language Dub: Franco Nero was dubbed by an uncredited actor in this film. It is possible, though not confirmed, that several of the other Italian actors were dubbed as well, although the actors themselves can be seen mouthing the words.
  • Scenery Porn: Massive sets, desert landscapes and windswept mountains on widescreen cinematography.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: The Noah’s Ark segment had a number of them such as blackbuck, sarus cranes, sloth bears, sun bears, Asiatic black bears, wallabies, marabous and miniature zebu cattle. One of the camels was a F1 hybrid between a dromedary and a Bactrian.
  • Sword & Sandal: Obviously, though with relatively less "sword" this time.
  • Symbolically Broken Object: Sarah fears the meaning when she sees Ishmael happily smash a ceremonial doll (symbolizing her son Isaac) and burying the pieces, suggesting what he might do to Isaac.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Averted. Abraham is ready to sacrifice Issac for God, but is prevented.

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