The story of Adam and Eve has been told and retold, interpreted, and analyzed but what the scripture and the analyses leave out is the juicy visuals. After all the loving couple was naked and unashamed. The following is a comparison of three movies about the biblical duo that do not shy away from “physicality” of their narrative, and if I hear any giggling, you are going straight to the principle’s office.
Adam and Eve: The First Love Story
This first film is Italian and let me say it is a lot harder to resist a snake when he is whispering in Italian, “Eva, perché non assaggiare il frutto più delizioso del paradiso.” It was directed by Enzo Doria and Luigi Russo in 1983. The film provides enough titillation for everyone. Eve is beautiful, Adam is boy-band dreamy and when he wrestles his muscular male rival (yes, there is a rival) they tussle in their skimpy loincloths for quite awhile. There’s romantic lovemaking to an Olivia Newton John sound-alike song. There’s frantic humping amidst the boulders, and there’s even some uncomfortably sensuous dog wrestling if that is what you’re into.
The first part of the film stays close to the source material but as soon as they leave the Garden things get wacky. Almost immediately they are attacked by a badly made pterodactyl. It seems to be made of papier-mâché. They tear it apart and use the wings for clothing. Next, come the grimy cannibals in imitation furs. After they attack, Eve asks “ Where did they come from?” Thus foreshadowing several millennia of confusion among Christian scholars and apologists. Later, The couple is beset by ogres and finally a man in a cheap bear costume. It’s a rough world outside the gated community of Eden.
As one might expect Eve is a bit flighty and gets herself into a lot of trouble. Adam comes off as a stable and righteous young man with full lips and a six-pack. After the expulsion, the two of them are separated and wander around aimlessly. Eve cheats on Adam with a man from a tribe that covers themselves in green mud and run around grunting. Eve doesn’t seem to mind that he doesn’t speak Italian, so she washes him off and has him right there by the river.
As Adam wanders the earth it becomes clear, in a long montage of lonesome wide shots, that he is in the Grand Canyon. I’m guessing the directors of the film were not Mormon, but the Church of Later Day Saints could certainly use this film for educational purposes. To be fair the Mormons believe that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri so Adam would have to wander quite a ways to end up in Arizona.
Adam and Eve eventually reunite, stroll through Sequoia National Park and end up in the arctic somewhere. Maybe things were different with plate movement and Pangea and all that. They build an igloo and then suddenly grainy stock footage of glacial ice tumbling into the sea starts making them scream. They run around and end up on a sunny beach somewhere. Eve gives birth to Abel, and the movie ends with the proud parents looking shaken but hopeful while Eve holds Able up to the sunrise.
The Sin of Adam and Eve
In the beginning, God created a lot of fuzzy stock footage of nature scenes. Then he dubbed in a solemn narrator reciting from Genesis. We are introduced to The Garden and find a very beefy Adam who is emerging from the dust. Adam springs to life and immediately takes a siesta (this is a Mexican production). His nap is marred by a nightmare in which he wrestles snakes and eagles and then it’s over to stock footage of lions fighting, shrews eating worms, and ants killing each other. Adam awakes from his slumber and invents English or at least an English dub track to lay over the Spanish one. Then he watches grainy stock footage of a sunrise.
This film takes itself a bit more seriously than Adam and Eve: The First Love Story. This production, The Sin of Adam and Eve, was made in Mexico by Miguel Zacarías in 1969. Spanish Catholicism was always a bit more dire than the Italian version. Check out these two crosses, one from Italy one from Mexico.
Back in the Garden of Eden, Adam is introduced to Eve. He shows her around the place and then teaches her to eat a banana, but not the paper Ray Comfort way. If you are not familiar with Mr. Comfort he was the guy who famously proved the existence of God with a banana. He simply held up the phallic fruit and showed how perfectly it fit into his hand, how easily it was peeled, and how it already pointed toward his mouth. This, he claimed was proof not only of intelligent design but of God’s love. Apparently, Ray had never seen a pineapple.
Then Eve takes her siesta and sees stock footage of a vicious fight between two horses. The narrator then says that she wakes “half satisfied.” I’m not sure what he means but Eve seems to be way ahead of Adam. She is vain, manipulative and kind of horny before an apple is even mentioned.
There’s a lot of nonsensical sayings mixed in with the narrated Bible passages. As Eve holds Adam’s eyes open so she can see her own reflection in them, the narrator explains “Man begins by loving woman and ends by loving love. Woman begins by loving love and ends by loving man.”
After they are cast out of the garden it gets really boring. Adam and Eve are separated and they just wander around all muddy and forlorn yelling each other’s name. Eventually, they find each and the movie ends.
It’s not easy working with the Bible as source material. If you try to fit the story of Adam and Eve into a typical hero’s journey structure it doesn’t work very well. Imagine if a typical hero’s journey film like Harry Potter tried to incorporate the same structure as Genesis. Dumbledore tells Harry not to go into the Forbidden Forest. Harry goes in anyway and so Dumbledore expels Harry from Hogwarts and damns all humankind to an eternity of suffering, the end. It just doesn’t have the same appeal. The sequel would be where Harry and Ginny repopulate the earth with their progeny only to have Dumbledore wipe them all out in a worldwide flood.
Adam and The Six Eves
The last entry into this comparison avoids all these difficult plot points by seemly disregarding the source material entirely. The premise for this film, if you can call it a premise, or a film, is that a man named Adam is wandering through the desert looking for gold. He is accompanied by his wise crackin’ donkey who narrates the whole thing. Only the audience hears the narration and it is a nonstop onslaught of horrible one-liners. Folksy treasures like, “The only thing his head was good for was somethin’ to hang his face on.” Or “It was so hot that the gophers were goin’ around with their coats unbuttoned” Some of them were just strange, “He didn’t get that fat from eatin’ he must of run into the wind with a funnel in his mouth.”
This is actually part of a nudie cutie staple. For the uninitiated, a “nudie cutie” is a softer version of the soft-core sexploitation genre. There’s no sex in a “nudie cutie” just lots of nude ladies prancing around to a paper-thin plot. My personal favorite of the genre is Nude On The Moon from 1961 where astronauts find a beautiful country club full of happy naked moon-people who happen to be identical to humans, well some humans, young California humans, with some silicone thrown in. Basically, the “nudie cutie” films were glorified stripteases. Ed Wood made one where each stripper was a zombie performing an interpretive dance about how she died, great stuff.
Without a plot some of these sort of films incorporated Z-list comedians doing stand up to fill in for the lack of a script. The question here is whether you prefer the donkey’s jokes like “We should have named him Sputnik since he was always running in circles” or silence.
So what does all this have to do with Adam and Eve? Not much, until a strange sort of subtext starts to surface. While wandering in the desert Adam stumbles across an oasis inhabited by six scantily clad beauties. The donkey comments, “I don’t know who designed their outfits, but he should have been put in charge of government spending.”
They dance for Adam and feed him dates but he is torn between them and the gold. Adam seems to have an almost childlike innocence. He watches the girls tempting dances but just smiles. He makes no advances. He watches for a while and then renews his search for the gold. Again the Donkey comments, “What got me mad was the way Adam would quit work to chase the girls but then when he caught them he forgot what he was chasin’ them for.”
It’s a curious reworking of Genesis. Adam is distracted from temptation by another temptation. Will it be sex or money? Lust or loot? One by one each woman tries to seduce him but while he smiles and enjoys their beauty, he just giggles and waves. Could it be a meditation on the impotence of capitalism where the desire for human connection is subverted by greed? Seems doubtful, but for all its puerile stupidity Adam and the Six Eves manages to stumble onto larger issues.
The “film was made by John Wallis in 1962. The original was in 3D which explains the close-up shots of boobs that lean into the camera.
The sexual politics of the three films is a little more varied than one might expect. As for the male gaze in the first two films, it is certainly present but the naked and eroticized body of Adam is given equal time on screen. The narratives presented by the first two contain the same misogyny as the original text. Eve is a maladjusted, immature, woman who is poor Adam’s downfall. However in the last film, even with a hefty dose of the male gaze, Adam is depicted as a fool unable to keep up with the cunning wisdom of the Eves. Adam is the alienated every-man unable to navigate a pornographic society that offers him conflicting modes of gratification but nothing of substance. He is so beset by the illusion of plenty generated by society he is stupefied into inaction. Its the stupidest of all three films but Adam And The Six Eves resonates with modern economics and social theory in a way that the other two films do not.
If the producers of these films wanted to really titillate their audiences, the next section of the Bible could have easily been made into raging, XXX, porn, sequel. Its page after page of begetting. “Come see Mahalaleel beget Sarah in more ways than one! Hold on tight while Enoch and Lamech steam up the garden!”
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