As movies battles television for the entertainmenty audience, theaters started showing movies so big that they couldn’t play the same on the small screen. Produced by Dino De Laurentiis and directed by John Huston, this was quite the project: make a movie of the first 22 chapters of the Biblical Book of Genesis from The Creation (of everything) and Adam and Eve to the binding of Isaac. It was written by Christopher Fry with contributions by Ivo Perilli, Jonathan Griffin, Mario Soldati, Vittorio Bonicelli and Orson Welles.
What got me watching this? Michael Parks is Adam! Who is the Creator, Tarantino? Anyways, his bride, Eve, is played by Ulla Bergryd, a Swedish anthropology student living who was discovered by a talent scout and on set in a few days. She was only in one other movie before leaving acting for a life in academics.
I mean, this movie is packed with people I love playing roles from the best selling book of all time. Richard Harris is Cain! Franco Nero, who was a still photographer on the set and had never acted before, is Abel! George C. Scott is Abraham, nearly sacrificing his children! Ava Garden was Sarah and she said, “It’s the only time in my life I actually enjoyed working — making that picture.” Stephen Boyd is Nimrod, great-grandson of Noah and not an X-Men villain! Peter O’Toole is an angel? Anna Orso from Day of Anger and Exterminators of the Year 3000 is Shem’s wife! Hagar is played by Zoe Sallis, who was Zoe Ishmail, until Huston decided that she should change her name because of its similarity to the name of Ishmael, her character’s son. Oh well, she was his wife. 1966 everyone. She’s also Angelica’s mother. Anyways, back to the people. Gabriele Ferzetti (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Psychic) is Lot! As the Garden of Eden, a botanical garden…
That said, they spend $3 million ($26 million today) on the five sets that make up the Ark. And who will play Noah? Well, after Alec Guinness and Charlie Chaplin turned him down, director John Huston did it. And he was an atheist.
Anyways, I gained new respect for O’Toole when I learned that he was arrested while making this movie. He was on a night out with Barbara Steele and punched a paparazzi.
They planned a whole bunch of these movies and even though it was a big movie in theaters, it cost so much that it still lost $1.5 million.