The Last Flight of Noah's Ark
|The Last Flight of Noah's Ark|
|Directed by||Charles Jarrott|
|Produced by||Ron Miller
|Written by||George Arthur Bloom
Steven W. Carabatsos
Ernest K. Gann (story)
|Music by||Richard Bowden
|Cinematography||Charles F. Wheeler|
|Edited by||Gordon D. Brenner|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
A jaded pilot named Noah Dugan (Gould) is unemployed and owes a large amount of money due to his gambling. He goes to an old friend, Stoney (Vincent Gardenia), who owns an airfield. He is offered a job flying a cargo of animals to a remote South Pacific island aboard a B-29 bomber, a large plane well past its prime (having born the brunt of U.S. combat against Japan decades earlier during World War II). Bernadette Lafleur (Bujold) is the prim missionary who accompanies him. Bernadette has raised the animals at an orphanage and is close to two of the orphans, Bobby and Julie (Schroder and Tammy Lauren).
Bobby is concerned about Dugan's treatment of the animals, and decides to stow away aboard the bomber as it prepares to taxi for takeoff so that he can make sure his special friends are properly cared for. Julie chooses to follow Bobby in sneaking onboard the plane. During the flight, the plane goes off course and Dugan is forced to crash land on an uncharted island that Bobby has spotted with his keen eyesight. While on the island, the group meets two elderly Japanese holdout soldiers who have lived there alone for 35 years. Dugan treats them as enemies, as the soldiers are unaware that World War II is over. However, Bernadette wins their friendship and trust. They are able to communicate because the mother of one of the soldiers had spent time in America, and she taught her son how to speak English. She even named him 'Cleveland', after her favorite place there.
The soldiers convince Dugan and Bernadette that there is no hope of rescue should they stay on the island, as the two had been there for decades with no one coming to repatriate them. They propose a plan to turn the plane into a boat to sail back to civilization. This requires flipping the plane upside-down, as this will be a more stable and water-tight configuration. Bernadette needs to construct a sail for the boat, and the soldiers give her their battle flag of the Japanese Empire which she uses as the primary fabric for the sail. She tells the soldiers that she will sew it in the top position as a symbol of respect.
Noah and Bernadette (or "Bernie", as he calls her) fall in love. The two had resented each other at first. Bernie paints the name "Noah's Ark" on the converted boat-plane. Dugan tells her that he does not like his first name, but as she starts to remove the paint, he says he is ok with it. The animals are also brought on board at Bobby's insistence. Bernadette keeps a Bible close to her. After many days at sea, she tells Dugan that she has been inspired by the story of Noah's ark in how a dove was sent to find sign of hope. They decide to send their duck to fly off with a message attached, telling of their need for rescue. The duck flies westward, away from the direction of Hawaii, and hope dwindles. Bobby has been resentful of Dugan (since his first mistreatment of the animals) but the two eventually develop a close bond, especially after Dugan saves Bobby's life when the boy falls overboard while fishing for sharks. During the treacherous sea voyage, the characters are rescued by a United States Coast Guard Cutter. The cutter has the duck. The boat-plane is towed to Oahu.
- Elliott Gould as Noah Dugan
- Geneviève Bujold as Bernadette Lafleur
- Ricky Schroder as Bobby
- Vincent Gardenia as Stoney
- Tammy Lauren as Julie
- John Fujioka as "Cleveland"
- Yuki Shimoda as Hiro
- Dana Elcar as Benchley
Background and production
Director Charles Jarrott had previously directed Geneviève Bujold in Anne of the Thousand Days. The main story for the film was written by Ernest K. Gann (who also wrote the classics The High and the Mighty and Fate Is the Hunter). Tammy Lauren was his stepdaughter.
Elliott Gould has said that this was the finest film he ever did and the one of which he was proudest.
Four B-29 airplanes were used in the film production.
The feature received a mixed reception from critics.
- "The Last Flight of Noah's Ark :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.SunTimes.com. Retrieved 2012-09-29.
- Official website
- The Last Flight of Noah's Ark at the Internet Movie Database
- The Last Flight of Noah's Ark at the TCM Movie Database
- Movie/DVD Review at UltimateDisney.com