The Bible: In the Beginning...



IMDb Rating 6.3 10 4337


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February 24, 2019 at 10:10 PM



Franco Nero as Abel
Peter O'Toole as The Three Angels
Ava Gardner as Sarah
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1.46 GB
23.976 fps
2hr 54 min
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2.8 GB
23.976 fps
2hr 54 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Randwulf 9 / 10

The End of an Era, a Beginning for Me

This film was released in September of 1966, which placed it at the close of a long tradition of Hollywood Biblical epics. I was around ten years old and had a vinyl LP of its great musical score which I played over and over before I finally saw the movie on the big screen of a theater. Our family was not particularly religious, but this film was one of those that had a profound influence on me and made me interested in knowing more about the Bible.

Looking at it today, I see more depth. The opening footage from all over the world of the days of the Creation is still breathtaking. As a child I felt uncomfortable with the partially nude scenes of Adam and Eve, and even now I believe nudity needs to be implied. Otherwise my mind stops focusing on the story and thinks "I just saw a naked actor!". Also, a theory of some Bible commentators is that animals are clothed with feathers or fur, and Adam and Eve were clothed with a glow of light emanating from within them. When they sinned that glow disappeared and they were then totally naked before they hit on the idea of fig leaves. (This interpretation would not likely have been known to John Huston). Beyond that, the film rolls on quite nicely through the first twenty-two chapters of Genesis. The cinematography is rich and beautiful. I do think a few too many scenes were interpreted as desert settings, since many of the Bible lands were lush and only outskirted by desert as a result of the climatology of the region being somewhat different more than 4,000 years ago (though of course that's controversial). Either way the storyline still follows the episodes of salvation history. One reviewer said it looks like they just kept shooting until they ran out of film and decided to call it quits. To me it was essential they kept going until they climaxed the film with the sacrifice of Isaac, which pointed forward to the day when God would inaugurate a new creation. Thus there is a great arc of theme in the epic from "In the Beginning" to "The New Beginning".

Overall the movie looks like a live-action version of Sunday School art. By that I mean most of the scenes are like pictures I've seen in religious artworks. For example, Adam and Eve are portrayed by clean-shaven white people. Cain bashes Abel over the head instead of slitting his throat (like the sacrifices he'd watched - see I John 3:12 in the original Jerusalem Bible [1966], not the New Jerusalem Bible [1985]). This Tower of Babel somewhat rightly resembles a Sumerian ziggurat, yet more resembles Renaissance paintings of it. Modern researchers have discovered that Noah could have been a king, and the ark was actually a huge flat barge shaped like a giant shoebox to ride the tidal waves of the Flood. The movie pictures things like I've seen them all my life: a peasant Noah, and a rounded boat with a house on top (and that shape would capsize in no time). The only thing they didn't have was a giraffe sticking out of the window.

Nevertheless, you may enjoy these traditional depictions. I'm just preferring literal Biblical research combined with the look of what has been discovered in archaeology. Yet, for me the overall effect of this film is still profound and quite moving. It's been said that George C. Scott's portrayal of Abraham was the low point of the movie, but I thought his crusty performance was inspiring! (I was also thankful they didn't picture Abraham like Santa Claus). For the most part, watching this film was an enjoyable and uplifting experience. Any Biblical movie should give us a taste of what things were like, and then we should always go back and read the Book. There we will find the authentic atmosphere of the actual words. Still, one line the scriptwriters put in the mouth of Abraham is not found in the Bible, yet it does reflect what the Bible says of him. It has helped me with my faith. It is the line where Abraham asks, "Shall the Lord speak, and Abraham not believe?"

Reviewed by artemis_5 6 / 10

Decent Telling of the Book of Genesis (Spoiler for those who do not know the Bible)

"La Bibbia" or "The Bible" is director John Huston's attempt to bring the stories of the book of Genesis to life. His movie, while not compelling, is interesting and holds the viewers attention. Many big names, including Huston himself, are featured. The movie begins where the bible begins, with the creation of the world. Michael Parks and Ulla Bergryd exude child-like innocence as Adam and Eve. After their fall and banishment from Eden, they are cursed by God to suffer for their disobedience, although it quickly becomes clear that they have not been abandoned by him. They have children, Cain and Abel. Richard Harris and Franco Nero play the famous brothers (they would go on to play best friends a year later in "Camelot"), although it is Harris who steals the scene by quickly dispatching his brother. Stephen Boyd brings his signature good looks and booming voice to the role of Nimrod, although the story of the building of the Tower of Babel is fairly short, and Boyd's role limited.

By far the most charming part of the film features Huston as Noah. Huston brings humor to his role, and the segment is a delight for any animal lover.

The movie concludes suitably with the story of Abraham and Sarah, the biblical patriarch and matriarch of the nation of Israel, although there is a detour to cover the story of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah by the Angel of God. The legendary figures of Abraham and Sarah are played appropriately enough by two legendary actors, George C. Scott and Ava Gardner. Of the two, Scott offers the more compelling performance, although Gardner holds her own. They are visited by Peter O'Toole, whose appearance in the film is more along the lines of a cameo.

An honorable mention must go out to little Alberto Lucantoni, who injects feeling into his role as Isaac, particularly in the last scene of the sacrifice. This is quite a feat for a child actor.

In conclusion, although this is not the best biblical film I have seen, it is by far not the worse, and worth at least a rental from your local video store.

Reviewed by kayaker36 6 / 10

A Few Gems Amid the Burlap

Just a year after his triumph in "Becket", Peter O'Toole is almost unrecognizable but does high class work as the Angel of the Lord--he's **trium in uno**--opposite Abraham and Sarah as portrayed by Ava Gardner and George C. Scott. These two great but very different actors play wonderfully off one another--Scott's earthy energy against the elegant tones and sorrowful eyes of O'Toole--who is on his way to destroy the sin cities of Sodom and Gommorah with all their inhabitants.

The other fine portrayal is of Nimrod, "a mighty hunter before the Lord", by the late actor Steven Boyd. In a single, four minutes scene he captures all the kingly hubris of this biblical figure-- the first in the book of Genesis who does not represent a nation. He who built the Tower of Babel, and saw it destroyed.

Children would be entertained by the carnival of the animals sequence depicting Noah and the Ark.

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