Ava Gardner stars in the largest segment of the epic film, John Huston’s directed film, The Bible: In the Beginning. Gardner plays Sarah, Abraham’s wife, and in my opinion she was very well cast and gives an emotional performance. The film is separated into five different segments: The Creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah’s Ark, and the story of Abraham.
I absolutely loved Toshirô Mayuzumi’s orchestral score for the film, which not only supported the more serious parts of the film, but also provided a more light-hearted atmosphere during the movement of the animals onto the ark in the Noah’s Ark section of the film.
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The Bible: In the Beginning was directed by John Huston who also directed The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), and Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) and was produced by Dino De Laurentiis.
Also starring in The Bible: In the Beginning: Michael Parks, Ulla Bergryd, Richard Harris, John Huston, Stephen Boyd, George C. Scott, Peter O’Toole, Zoe Sallis, Gabriele Ferzetti, Eleonora Rossi Drago, Franco Nero, Pupella Maggio, Robert Rietty, Peter Heinze.
The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Music Score by Toshirô Mayuzumi.
I was interested to learn that John Huston himself was an atheist. Huston also played the part of Noah, and the voice of God.
The film was released in 1966, but filming wrapped up at the end of 1964.
Ava Gardner and the married George C. Scott had an on again off again affair during the making of the film. Scott had a drinking problem, and prior to meeting Ava had gone t-total. The affair with Ava had Scott drinking again, and a nasty incident occurred one night which turned violent. Ava forgave Scott after a while but he turned nasty and violent again, which at one point looked as if it were going to ruin the whole picture when he was taken to hospital and given tranquilizers.
Ava loved working for John Huston, who she called her ‘favorite and only director’. Huston also directed Ava in the brilliant film The Night of the Iguana (1964).
It was originally discussed that Orson Welles would direct the Abraham segment of the film.
The film lost 1.5 million dollars, however was the highest grossing film of 1966.
The film opens with the first segment, The Creation, followed by the creation of Adam (Michael Parks) and Eve (Ulla Bergryd). The film then moves onto the story of Cain (Richard Harris) and his murdering of his brother Abel (Franco Nero). The fourth segment concerns Noah (John Huston) and the Ark.
The fifth and final segment concerns the story of Abraham (George C. Scott). Abraham along with his wife Sarah (Ava Gardner) start life in a new land after Abraham hears the voice of God. His wife Sarah is unable to bear children, and so she offers her hand maiden Hagar (Zoe Sallis) to Abraham so a child may be born to them.
To begin with Sarah believes this is the right thing to do, however as time goes on and Hagar’s bump starts to show, Sarah becomes resentful of the situation, and becomes angry with Hagar for her insensitive words.
As the years go by Sarah gives up all hope of bearing a child to Abraham. But at the age of ninety, God blesses her with a child which they name Isaac. After witnessing the mocking behaviour of Hagar and Isaac’s half-brother Ishmael during a feast held for Isaac, Sarah asks Abraham to send them away which he does.
The film concludes with Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice Isaac. But as God can see that Abraham was willing to do so, he speaks once more to Abraham, telling him not to lay a hand on the boy, as he can see Abraham’s fear of God, and offers a ram for the sacrifice instead.
In my opinion The Bible: In the Beginning is a film worth watching even if you aren’t a follower of the Bible. The film was amazingly put together and I was very impressed by the work which went into making this epic. Once again, a film was made which really showed what Ava Gardner was capable of, and is one for all fans to add to their collection.