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      The Bible

      MGM/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 167 mins . G . PAL


      Think of the following synopsis as being written by two people. The first is a devout Christian, the second by a viewer with no strong religious convictions (he'll be writing in bold). Okay? Then we'll begin...

      The Bible is a 1966 epic cut from the same cloth as The Ten Commandments and Samson and Delilah - that is, it's a big-budget, lavishly made epic filled with immense sets, beautifully shot landscapes, and a cast of thousands. But unlike those other epics, this film is more of an anthology, piecing together several unconnected stories from the book of Genesis.

      The Bible is a really old and really, really dull adaption of several stories from the Old Testament.

      Director John Huston tells the stories of Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel, Noah, Sodom & Gomorrah and Abraham & Isaac over the course of 167 minutes. He adopts a serious, reverent tone throughout, taking his time to tell the story without resorting to short cuts or forced humourous asides.

      There's no real narrative focus (the stories never last long enough to truly engage). The pace is deathly slow. It's loooong. And the lethargic tone is made all the more unbearable due to the utter lack of humour.

      A fine cast, including George C.Scott (Abraham), Ava Gardner (Sarah), Peter O'Toole (an Angel) and Huston himself (as Noah), lend dignity and power to their respective roles.

      A bunch of old actors take turns at trying to out-ham each other. And it's so dull...

      The Bible is a worthy and respectful adaption of these classic tales, and is deserving of a place on any film lover's shelf.



      The film was shot in 1966, so we're not expecting perfection. And, though we sure don't get it, the image suffices. It's a widescreen, 16x9 enhanced presentation. During the latter half of the Adam and Eve segment, there's a terrible shimmer in the centre of the screen. There's also occasional aliasing, but otherwise the picture is sharp and vibrant.


      The 4.0 Surround soundtrack is crisp and clear. Toshirô Mayuzumi's score sounds suitably majestic, and is one of the high points of the film.


      We get a grainy, but watchable theatrical trailer, as dry and bombastic as the movie itself. No other extras, move along now.


      Viewers with religious convictions will enjoy The Bible, but it certainly won't win over any converts. It's a ponderous film with flashes of majesty (the opening scene - the creation of the world - is powerful stuff), but ultimately too humourless, too bland, and waaay too long.

    • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1319
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        And I quote...
      "It's a ponderous film with flashes of majesty, but ultimately too humourless, too bland, and waaay too long..."
      - Terry Oberg
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