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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
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 »
I have seen the DVD, full length version--a very flawed film with some redeeming aspects
A very poor film translation of a stage play--rather than being tailored to the movie medium, this is very stagy, overly talky. The dialogue is arty and artificial. Everyone is obviously acting, giving a performance, though Bergman is radiant and her performance is passionate and sincere.
All of the exteriors (outdoor shots) which feature close ups of the lead actors are obviously shot on a sound stage. Some beautiful outdoor footage is used occasionally for establishing shots or transitions between scenes, but Bergman never leaves the soundstage.
On the positive side, the film is beautifully photographed, many individual shots are works of art, masterfully lit and composed. However, the camera moves only when necessary to follow the actors, the shots are static, adding to the staginess of the production. Which reminds me of CB DeMille; you could get a good idea of this film by saying it's like a DeMille film, only with more high art pretensions and less spectacle (no cast of thousands here).
The most outstanding aspect of 'Joan of Arc' is the music, it's prominently featured, good and loud, and it deserves to be--it's gorgeous.
The DVD has no extras at all, though the image and sound are excellent--a very good restoration job. A commentary track would have been very welcome; my guess is this was a challenging production, possibly with a long production period (three cinematographers are listed). It was a commercial failure, at least in part because of public condemnation of Bergman's personal life. I believe director Victor Flemming died soon after production. Lots of meat here for an interesting commentary or two.
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