This film is part of Free

The Tale of the Ark

Toy Story meets biblical epic in this pioneering stop-motion short from Arthur Melbourne-Cooper

Drama 1909 6 mins Silent


Over a century before Russell Crowe took on the role of Noah, a little wooden doll set the trail in this pint-sized biblical epic. Arthur Melbourne-Cooper was a pioneer figure in early British cinema in many ways, but particularly for his experiments in stop-motion animation. This 1909 film features some fantastic details, such as the ark rocked by waves, playful elephants, and tiny birds carried on almost invisible hairs.

Though some of the effects, such as the lightning, are effective in context, others are more revealing of the homemade nature of the production. Look out for the shadow of an arm holding a garden hose to prompt the downpour of somewhat less than biblical proportions.