In Search of Noah's Ark (1976)
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So what was the point of all of this? I mean, if you are a "Bible-believing" Christian, why do you need proof of Noah's existance? We have to remember when this film was made; the mid-1970s saw a revival of Fundamentalist Christianity and TV shows about the paranormal were beginning to be shown. (In fact, the Leonard Nimoy hosted "In Search of.." first aired in 1976; I'm guessing Sunn ripped-off the title.) So Sunn both gets the Fundy family dollar AND wanna-be Forteans cash! This "film" deservedly has been out of print on VHS for some time; I was only able to rent through the best video store in San Diego. Avoid unless you want to giggle a lot.
As a child watching the movie, the documentary tone was interesting, but even then its "science" seemed backed up by people seeking to match a story to anything they could discover, rather than explain evidence they could find. If the movie was unconvincing to even me as a child, it didn't do its job as a documentary. The movie has nothing to prove -- a Bible literalist would believe the movie's claims before seeing it, and no one else would find the movie credible. It lacks even camp entertainment value.
You're thinking of George Jammal, who appeared in CBS's 'The Incredible Discovery of Noah's Ark' in 1993 - and, yes, ultimately proved to be a hoaxer.
Jammal wasn't in the 1976 film.
The 1976 film is still certainly worth a watch today...in fact, I wouldn't mind seeing a remake of it, re-examining the accounts of eyewitnesses sources from 1976 and investigating claims of sighting which have taken place over the past 25 years.
My dad was responsible for a lot of awful movies as a young child. It is amazing I grew up to love films after some of the things he dragged me to. Runners up include Pete's Dragon, and Popeye.
Curiously, I have kept an eye out for In Search of Noah's Ark, hoping to catch it out of the blue on television over the years. But, alas, no luck. I'm surprised there are so many people who remember this movie. Wow. Now I don't feel so alone.
Much of what was talked about in this movie is in fact "fact". Much of it of course is speculation, but as with science fiction, what was science fiction in the past is now fact. Archeology is the same way. Problem is, to may modern scientists choose to ignore the obvious, or choose to withhold from public view, anything that refutes their beliefs. Who knows what ancient mysteries the earth still holds!
I suppose this film is worthy for the undiscriminating, desperate Christian viewer, but all others should avoid unless a good laugh (a la "Plan 9 from Outer Space") is what you are looking for.
Of course, if you are the sort who still believes the Shroud of Turin is real, then you won't care.
This film needs to be categorized as "fiction."
I have no memory of the film's story (though presented as a documentary the bulk of it is about as factually based as your standard Godzilla movie) though certain visual images like the pathetic Ark model used bobbing around in a tank look familiar. No, the moment etched into my brain like battery acid was when some idiot playing an ancient explorer climbing Mount Ararat in search of the Ark takes a dive off a cliff.
The event both horrified me as a budding young outdoorsman, but was so patently obviously FAKE that my two brothers and I couldn't shut up talking about it and laughing about how stupid yet cool it was at the same time for the rest of the weekend -- A glorious bit of cognitive dissonance for a 9 year old mind to entertain. Then again Star Trek, the Six Million Dollar Man, cartoons, everything that was cool sort of had a dumb, fake side to it. The moment stuck with me for 34 years so it must have been impressive at 1:85:1 in a theater.
I never encountered the movie again until a buddy with a shared taste for the bizarre loaned me his long out of print tape. The movie itself is competently made but has all the overkill of a propaganda film, which is an apt way to describe the content. The film doesn't posit the theory that the Ark might be on Mount Ararat, the film regards it as a foregone conclusion with the actual location of the remains of the Ark simply being a formality yet to be dealt with. Eventually somebody will find it, you see, and then everyone will know. Uh huh.
There's also some shameless Bible-thumping going on, with what we would now regard as religious overtones to nearly every aspect of how this unlikely story is told, all of it narrated with grave authority by Brad Crandall, the voice of a number of these low budget pseudo-documentaries. As far as science or a study of history it's pretty absurd, but in terms of tapping in to a basic need within humans to be entertained by ridiculous garbage this movie has some legs. Put it on a double bill with CHARIOTS OF THE GODS in a little art house venue next to the medical marijuana store and it would sell out every night, likely to the same crowd every night. Pot heads eat this stuff up like Doritos.
It's all so sincere, so cloyingly convinced, so eager for its viewers to be swept up in rapt awe at what is essentially a hoax (another reader here comments on that aspect). But it's still entertaining with a sort of bizarre poker faced hamminess about it that only somebody really challenged by the mysteries of life would be tempted to take any of it seriously. Even as nine year olds, me and my brothers knew this was just too fake. Nice to find out we were right on the money.
Brad Crandall's distinctive voice(very deep and matter-of-fact) suits this film well, and it did hold my interest for the most part, though some re-enactments of Noah's escape from the flood may be viewed as hokey, I enjoyed the approach for the nostalgic value it provides.
Not yet on DVD, let's hope this can one day see release, perhaps paired with other such Schick Sunn Classic films.
As for the Shroud....anybody who actually knows what he's talking about...knows that the 'conclusive' tests have ALSO now been discredited....and done so by members of the very team that performed the Carbon test as well as the creator of test. This is a fact. They are waiting to re-do with a piece of the main Shroud. So, don't be so damn smug , ya jackass.
A must see movie
. There's so many different accounts in this movie.
You've just got to watch it.
I promise you'll never be the same.
But watch with an open mind.
Don't make a decision as to how real it is beforehand.
These people just wanted to see if there really is/was an ark and there IS. They even do this experiment trying to disprove that the ark would float but it shows it floated fine. I recommend it. Highly.
The article I read (maybe in Newsweek) said that the bogus ark wasn't built there to deceive anyone, but was done as an act of religious devotion. It makes a good deal of sense. As for the original Flood, the Mesopotamian region has flooded now and again with sufficient ferocity to support any sort of a Deluge story you'd care to write about.
The movie wasn't distributed through regular channels. The promoters simply chose a theater in each town and rented it out for a few nights. They ran the advertisements themselves.