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In the Fifteenth Century, France is a defeated and ruined nation after the One Hundred Years War against England. The fourteen years old farm girl Joan of Arc claims to hear voices from Heaven asking her to lead God's Army against Orleans and crowning the weak Dauphin Charles VII as King of France. Joan gathers the people with her faith, forms an army and conquerors Orleans. When her army is ready to attack Paris, the corrupt Charles sells his country to England and dismiss the army. Joan is arrested, sold to the Burgundians England and submitted to a shameful political trial in Rouen castle. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
According to a recently published biography of director Victor Fleming, he and playwright Maxwell Anderson were both deeply dissatisfied with the finished film. For some reason, Fleming actually felt embarrassed by it, and Anderson was especially disappointed that the film did not retain the play-within-a-play structure of "Joan of Lorraine", the stage drama on which "Joan of Arc" was based. See more »
At 1:13:31, the hand position of the man on the right changes. See more »
Joan's prison guard:
You'll be burned, you'll be burned in the square. You'll die without knowing what it's like to be kissed. Look at me... look at me wench!
See more »
In the 100-minute edited version, only the first ten actors listed in the cast are given credit. Even actors who have very noticeable, if small roles, such as George Coulouris, Alan Napier, Jeff Corey, William Conrad, and George Zucco go unmentioned in the short version, as do Selena Royle and Robert Barrat, who play Joan's parents. In the complete 145-minute film, all of the actors mentioned above are listed, as are the characters they play, in addition to many other actors in the film who play small but significant roles. Only those with bit parts go unmentioned. See more »
Fleming himself said "It's a disaster, that picture"...
I haven't seen the DVD version. This commentary is based on the horrible VHS print I viewed and promptly tossed out. I now know that 45 minutes of the original film was missing and replaced by commentary that in no way made the story coherent.
But the shortened version contained dialog that sounded so theatrical and was delivered in non-credible fashion by a cast of professionals under Victor Fleming's uninspired direction.
This is clearly not one of Bergman's best performances. She is radiant in many of the close-ups although a little too old to be believable as the young Joan. The film betrays its stage origins and is much too talky for extended sequences. The only time the film embraces some action is during a poorly staged battle sequence.
Summing up: I suppose it's unfair to judge the film based on the print I saw--but even allowing for the bad editing, it is apparent that this was not a successful transition to the screen of what apparently was a marvelous stage role for Ingrid. Jose Ferrer gives the most interesting performance as the Dauphin but others are simply part of the scenery.
Costumes are beautiful and some of the sets look impressive but overall it has no cinema magic and leaves the viewer with a flat viewing experience. I'll have to watch the DVD version if I'm to change my opinion since the cinematography surely must look better on DVD.
P.S. - Have just read Michael Sragow's new book on Victor Fleming and even the great director himself said, "It's a disaster, that picture."
P.P.S. - TCM has just shown the fully restored version of JOAN OF ARC and it's a much better film than it appears to be in the edited print which I first saw on VHS. Furthermore, the sets are magnificent, the color restoration is excellent, and all technical issues are much better represented. But the script is too talky and leaves the film stage bound at points. Bergman looks incredibly radiant in all of her close-ups but it seems like a surface performance and one that is not that deeply felt.
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