Monday, October 19, 2015

The Bible, In The Beginning... (1966)

I remember seeing this movie when it came out and that was long enough ago that it wasn't history, but "current events."  Parts of it I remembered with startling accuracy; other parts were entirely new to me.  Based on what I would have to call a fundamentalist literal reading of Genesis, it occasionally uses King James Version text (with John Huston, who directed, providing the voice of God and playing Noah.

It is still a bit of a visual treat when you consider what filmmakers were having to do for special effects back then.

When Satan tempts Eve, he is a shadowy, semihominid in the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, only transformed into a serpent as punishment.

Noah, loading the ark is a riotously funny sequence as he loads beasts two by two.  Of course, if you have read Genesis recently, you remember it isn't just single pairs:
The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.
 Why?  Genetic diversity.   There is some reason to think human populations shrank dramatically because of the Toba supervolcano eruption about 75,000 years ago creating a bottleneck.

The sequence with Lot leaving Sodom before God destroys it is a reminder that cultural expressions of homosexuality seem to be remarkably stable.  The Sodomites are dressed and act rather like the debris from someone firing a collection of extras from Cruising (1980) through a Castro District Halloween party.  Clearly, the screenwriter had not been seduced by the now popular belief that the sin of Sodom was inhospitality.

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