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Western Animation / Noah's Ark

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Noah's Ark is a 1959 animated short film (20 minutes) from Disney, directed by Bill Justice.

It is, you guessed it, the story of Noah's Ark. It seems that in ancient times there was a lot of "fussin' and fightin' and sinnin'", so God got ticked off and decided to annihilate all life on Earth...or most of it, anyway. He picks one godly man, Noah, and has him build "the first boat". On this boat Noah is to take his family, as well as two of each animal on the earth. The boat is built, the animals are loaded on board, and then they go on a pleasure cruise as it rains for forty days and forty nights.



  • Anachronism Stew: This film is loaded with a bunch of them, combining ancient times with present-day items that would be non-existent thousands of years ago (like macaroni, bologna, salami, pastrami, peach pie...). One example is a frame that says "Home Sweet Arque" hanging on a wall.
  • The Ark: Like the story, Noah builds a great big boat to take two of each animal.
  • Break-Up Song: Played with in "Don't Mention His Name to Me", in which a female hippo thinks that her husband Harry is cheating on her by dancing with other female animals, and that she is considering breaking up with him when she tells Noah not to mention Harry to her. Noah convinces her otherwise that Harry is still thinking of her and still loves her.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: One scene apparently meant to be in the interior of the arc has two of Noah's sons wandering around, with only their eyes visible against otherwise total darkness.
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  • The Casanova: Harry the Hippo appears to be this when he dances with every female animal, leaving his wife brokenhearted when she thinks he is cheating on her. Noah convinces her otherwise, that deep down, Harry is still thinking of her when he talks to every female animal, who responds with a "Who, me?"
  • The Great Flood: God makes it rain for forty days and forty nights, flooding the world. Because this is a silly Disney cartoon not much thought is given to the near-extermination of humanity.
  • Hand Wave: There's a winking nod to the problem of the Adam and Eve Plot at the end, when as the animals get off the boat the singer says "The families all grew larger, somehow."
  • Hard-Work Montage: Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, building an ark. In one scene they fall down on each other and bring the whole structure crashing to the ground.
  • High-Class Glass: The male penguin is shown as wearing top hat and tails, with a monocle to complete the fancy look.
  • The Musical: Seven songs are crammed into a 20-minute short.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Mrs. Noah actually says "Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast" when Noah gets worried about the animals going stir crazy and fighting. His sons then put on a concert.
  • Narrator: A narrator tells the story of Noah in a cheerful, upbeat manner.
  • Noah's Story Arc: An adaptation of the trope namer, as Noah and his family build an ark and put two of each animal on it. (Not the ducks, though.)
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Even the dialogue that is spoken instead of sung still rhymes.
    God: Now, Noah, you must build an ark, and these dimensions you will mark: three hundred cubits for the length. To cut such logs will take some strength.
  • Something Completely Different: This is the first stop-motion cartoon Disney ever made, and one of only a very few stop motion films ever made by in-house Disney animators (as opposed to films merely distributed by Disney such as The Nightmare Before Christmas). The studio was experimenting with a different format as The Golden Age of Animation came to an end. In style and technique this film looks much more like 1960s Rankin-Bass films like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer than it does a Disney cartoon.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Noah and his family seem to communicate with the animals when they urged them to get onto the ark. This is also evident when Noah speaks to the brokenhearted wife of Harry the Hippo on how her husband still thinks of her.
  • Stop Motion: A very rare example of a Disney stop-motion cartoon. Uniquely, the animals in the film are made out of common ordinary objects. The hippos are made out of corks. A moose is made out of a bottle, pipe stems, and sporks forming his antlers. The rhino's horns are made out of golf tees.
  • The Voice: God is only a voice from above, along with a light flashing in the clouds.
  • Wingding Eyes: Noah's eyes temporarily turn into spirals when God tells him to hurry up and start building an ark.
    • Also, when a female bear hits her husband with a heavy sack, he has stars in his eyes before he collapses onto the floor.

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