26 user 17 critic

Noah's Ark (1928)

Passed | | Drama, War | 23 August 1929 (Ireland)
The Biblical story of Noah and the Great Flood, with a parallel story of soldiers in the First World War.


Michael Curtiz, Darryl F. Zanuck (uncredited)


Darryl F. Zanuck (story) (as Darryl Francis Zanuck), Anthony Coldeway (adaptation) (as Anthony Coldewey) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Dolores Costello ... Marie / Miriam
George O'Brien ... Travis / Japheth
Noah Beery ... Nickoloff / King Nephilim
Louise Fazenda ... Hilda / Tavern Maid
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Al / Ham (as Gwynn Williams)
Paul McAllister Paul McAllister ... Minister / Noah
Myrna Loy ... Dancer / Slave Girl
Anders Randolf ... The German / Leader of Soldiers
Armand Kaliz ... The Frenchman / Leader of the King's Guard
William V. Mong ... Innkeeper / Guard
Malcolm Waite ... The Balkan / Shem
Nigel De Brulier ... Soldier / High Priest
Noble Johnson ... Slave Broker
Otto Hoffman ... Investor with Gun / Trader
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rosita Delmar Rosita Delmar


After a short split prologue showing riches as the root of evil in ancient and modern times, the film settles into 1914 France, where the Orient Express is about to be wrecked when a bridge washes out. Among those on board are Al and Travis, Americans who are traveling Europe spending Travis' money, and Marie, a German girl. The boys save Marie after the wreck and Travis falls in love with her. When World War I breaks out Al wants to enlist, but Travis can't, feeling loyal to Marie, a German. By 1917 Al has enlisted, and Travis follows him shortly after marrying Marie. Accused of being a German spy by a Russian agent, she is sentenced to die but is recognized by Travis, who is part of the firing squad. The town they are in is shelled and they are all trapped underground, during which a minister makes a lengthy parallel to ancient times when the King of Akkad persecuted his subjects and defied Jehovah, who finally sends a flood to wipe out mankind, except for Noah and his family, whom ... Written by Ron Kerrigan <,mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Stupendous in Conception, Three Years in the Making, Cost Over $2,000,000. (Print Ad- Utica Observer-Dispatch, ((Utica, NY)) 8 December 1929) See more »


Drama | War


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The god Jaghuth, whom Noah's tormentors pray and sacrifice to, does not appear in the Judeo-Christian Bible but is mentioned in the Quran as a false god in the time of Noah. This is suspected to be anachronistic, as Jaghuth (or Yaghuth) was an Arabic deity worshiped in the time of Muhammad. See more »


During the flood sequence (1 hr. 29 min. approx.) Japheth (George O'Brien) is clearly repeatedly calling/mouthing "Maria" as he searches for Dolores Costello. Her name in the Biblical sequence is MIRIAM. (And even in the WW1 story, she is named Marie (Not Maria !).) See more »


Travis: Must be great to be a dog! Yuh don't have to go to war an' yuh don't have to obey orders!
See more »

Alternate Versions

This premiered at 135 minutes, then was immediately cut for subsequent roadshow engagements, and then the "popular" run. Over 30 minutes of footage was taken out, including all the talking scenes involving Noah. This version was 11-reels in length(about 102 minutes). Producer Robert Youngson supervised a 1957 re-release, eliminating all talking sequences and inserting a narration. This version is 75 minutes long. See more »


Follows Sodom und Gomorrha (1922) See more »


Flight of the Bumble Bee
(1900) (uncredited)
Music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Played during the ticker tape scene
See more »

User Reviews

Gripping flood scenes save Ark from being total wash out.
4 April 2011 | by st-shotSee all my reviews

Noah's Ark is an awkward fit of two earth shaking cataclysms ( the legendary animal cruise and the World War ) featuring the same actors in parallel roles and stories in this semi-silent that resembles Griffith's Intolerance. The problem is most of it deals with the contemporary story that never approaches the sublime but does attain the ridiculous with its absurd ending.

Al (Guinn Williams) and Travis (George O'Brien) rescue Mary (Dolores Costello) from a train wreck. Travis and Mary, a German, link up but when the Great War begins Al answers the call while Travis remains conflicted but eventually signs up. Mary meanwhile sings in a revue but is accused of being a spy and sentenced to be shot. The Ark segment has the same lovers in a similar predicament pursued by the same power abusing miscreant (Noah Beery).

O'Brien and Costello make a good pairing in both stories along with Beery's vile villain but the big star of the picture is the flood in which the callous Curtiz more than earned his slave driving reputation by drowning three extras and injuring dozens of others. It is evident from the force and amount of water that extras are struggling not acting in these scenes as they are tossed like rag dolls over the jagged scenery. They are visually astounding to watch but clearly cross the line with the endangerment posed and loss of life.

Ethics aside it is the far fetched contemporary story (handled far better in Ingram's Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Vidor's The Big Parade) that sinks Ark which uses it's plea for universal understanding as a slick excuse to project out of control cinematic mayhem.

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Release Date:

23 August 1929 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Noah's Ark See more »


Box Office


$1,005,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


| (re-release) (1957) | (1990s restoration)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Apparatus) (talking sequences, musical score and sound effects)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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