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The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966) Poster

Trivia

One of the first mainstream American films to feature male and female nudity (albeit artfully filmed in a light-and-shadow style) in the Garden of Eden sequences. Reportedly, neither Michael Parks nor Ulla Bergryd used body doubles for these scenes.
Dino De Laurentiis originally announced that this would be the first in a series of feature films based on the books of the Bible. However, as the film lost Twentieth Century Fox $1.5 million, plans for any sequels were abandoned.
Alec Guinness was offered the role of Noah.
John Huston was a self-professed atheist.
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Filming ended in December 1964, but the film was not released until September 1966.
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Unusually, there are no opening credits save for the title of the film. While this is standard practice for blockbusters today, it was very rarely deployed in the 60s.
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When God talks to Noah, that's actually the voice of John Huston speaking to the actor John Huston.
It was John Huston's original idea to have Charles Chaplin play Noah. However, Chaplin didn't much like the idea of appearing in a picture directed by someone else, and Huston wound up playing the role himself. Similarly, Huston wanted Igor Stravinsky to score the film. For unspecified reasons, this was never done, either.
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Franco Nero was dubbed by an uncredited actor in this film. It is possible, though not confirmed, that several of the other Italian actors were dubbed as well, although the actors themselves can be seen mouthing the words.
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As with many epics of the 1950s and 1960s Paul Francis Webster was called in to supply promotional lyrics to the main theme. The song was entitled "Song of the Bible" and Webster devised the following lyrics to fit Mayuzumi's opening theme music: "A long, long time ago / There was no earth, there was no sea / In all the endless dark, no star, no tree / And then it came to pass / Jehovah said "Let there be light" / And as the thunder rolled / He made the day and then the night."
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Filming of The Tower of Babel sequence was disrupted when Egyptian extras staged a rock-throwing riot.
Richard Harris and Franco Nero play brothers-turned-enemies Cain and Abel, and later played friends-turned-enemies Arthur and Lancelot in Camelot (1967).
When cast as Abel, Franco Nero could not speak or understand any English. Although his voice was dubbed by another American actor, John Huston helped Nero understand English by giving him audio recordings of William Shakespeare's plays to study.
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It took John Huston five years to complete the film.
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French director Robert Bresson was hired in 1964 by producer Dino De Laurentiis as director. When he shot his first scene - the deluge - he requested the use of all the animals in Rome city zoo. The producers complied, but upon checking the daily rushes saw that the only thing Bresson filmed was the tracks of the animals upon a sandy beach. They were furious and Bresson was fired, John Huston took over the project, delaying production a further six months.
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This film contains three Irish actors - Peter O'Toole, Richard Harris and Stephen Boyd. However, although O'Toole claimed to have been born in Ireland, the birth records show he was actually born in Leeds in England. John Huston got Irish citizenship in 1964 and held until his death in 1987.
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In her memoirs, Ava Gardner wrote that she hated having to speak the stilted dialogue as it felt unnatural. Her director, John Huston, told her that she would speak them and make them sound convincing.
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Ava Gardner and George C. Scott had a brief, but stormy affair during the making of this movie. At one point, he even kicked down the door of her hotel suite in a drunken rage.
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Richard Burton was originally considered for the role of King Nimrod which was eventually played by Stephen Boyd. Ironically Burton had replaced Boyd on the much troubled Cleopatra (1963) shoot.
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In some cities (such as Atlanta, GA) this film, which was shot in Dimension 150, a "curved screen" process, was not shown on a curved screen during its first run, despite the fact that there existed Cinerama theaters in those cities. This did not happen with the second and last film released in Dimension 150, the much more successful Patton (1970).
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The title is a bit of a misnomer as the film only covers the first 22 chapters of the first book of Genesis.
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While filming The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) at Dinocitta in Rome in 1964, Dino De Laurentiis offered Charlton Heston an unspecified role in The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966).
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Despite the fact that they were the same nationality and the best of friends, this was the only movie that Peter O'Toole and Richard Harris appeared in, and they don't even have any scenes together.
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It is one of the first films to feature male nudity, along with Planet of the Apes (1968).
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Animals that are featured in both the Garden of Eden and Noah's Ark scenes were delivered from a German zoological park.
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This was the first film shot in the Dimension 150 process. This process was credited as simply "D-150".
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Promo material for the US release listed the title as "The Bible...in the Beginning." The actual on-screen title is "THE BIBLE in the Beginning..."
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In his 2008 autobiography "My Word Is My Bond", Roger Moore said he was considered for a role in the film but turned it down.
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Producer Dino De Laurentiis first announced that this would be a portmanteau project and that each book of the old testament would be directed by a major director. Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Robert Bresson, Luchino Visconti and Orson Welles were all approached but in the end this proved too ambitious and expensive. Instead this just concentrates on the book of Genesis.
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Despite the fact that John Huston and Peter O'Toole lived only 100kms from each other in County Galway in the West of Ireland, this was the only time they worked together. Huston lived in a fine mansion in Craughwell and O'Toole had a cottage in Clifden, both of which would have been very remote in the 1960s. Huston also wanted O'Toole and Richard Burton for his "Waterloo" for "The Bible" producer Dino De Laurentiis, and for his long cherished "The Man Who Would be King", but this did not happen.
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When Adam and Eve are driven from the Garden of Eden, as a storm rages, the musical soundtrack, composed by Toshirô Mayuzumi, plays a quotation of the Roman Catholic hymn Dies Irae (Day of Wrath). It is a popular musical quotation, most familiar from its use in Hector Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique (1830, fifth movement, "Dream of the Witch's Sabbath,"), and as heard in the opening scene of Stanley Kubrick's film, The Shining (1980).
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When Orson Welles was hired to direct the Abraham segment, he had discussed a role with Michael Caine.
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In August 1963, Dino De Laurentiis signed a contract with MJ Frankovich and Leo Jaffe of Columbia Pictures to distribute this picture worldwide. The deal, reputedly worth $20m, eventually fell through.
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This film reveals that Adam has a navel. The real Adam was not born of a woman, so he did not have a navel. Eve, whose midsection is concealed in this film, did not have a navel either.
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Ennio Morricone composed a score for this movie which was rejected by John Huston.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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