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Saint Joan (1957)

 -  Biography | Drama | History  -  8 May 1957 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 630 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 9 critic

Young Joan of Arc comes to the palace in France to make The Dauphin King of France and is appointed to head the French Army. After winning many battles she is not needed any longer and soon... See full summary »

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Title: Saint Joan (1957)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Anton Walbrook ...
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Felix Aylmer ...
Archie Duncan ...
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Margot Grahame ...
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Francis De Wolff ...
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Victor Maddern ...
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Master Executioner
David Oxley ...
Patrick Barr ...
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Storyline

Young Joan of Arc comes to the palace in France to make The Dauphin King of France and is appointed to head the French Army. After winning many battles she is not needed any longer and soon she is thought of as a witch. Written by McGinty <McGinty@aol.com>

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Release Date:

8 May 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die heilige Johanna  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter Graham Greene, a very famous author himself, added some lines to the original Shaw play when he adapted it for the film, such as Warwick's "She'll burn - before the Pope gets to hear of it!" See more »

Quotes

De Courcelles: Were you in a state of grace when you stole the Bishop's horse?
Cauchon: The devil take the Bishop's horse.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mr. Hoover and I (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Well-done Representation of the Political Undertones of Joan of Arc's death

Having seen the Peter O'Toole version recently, I was ready to be awed by the smart writing in this version. Little time is spent on the fighting, which I prefer. Instead, we are shown all the many motives underlying both the French and English (who held Normandy) politicos and priests who put her to death. Even the worst hypocrite of them all, the archbishop, leaves us with the thought that "Of course, she was innocent. The innocent have always had to suffer for the ambitions of the mighty. She had no idea what she was saying, no idea of the implications of blasphemy or going against the church. Unschooled, she had no idea of what the church's stand on such matters even was."

Preminger was true to the myths surrounding her death, and I appreciated the preview on the tape that showed the flames reaching up and burning her. Why? They used gas jets in the movie, and 2 of them were stopped up. Suddenly, the air pressure blew out the stoppage and the flames leaped up right on her. Thankfully for her, they didn't have to repeat the shot as it was SO realistic: she WAS being burned!! Pretty traumatic introduction for an Iowa girl to her new career of acting.

John Gielgud performed outstandingly. He is the English politico who is orchestrating the show. He also makes the point that once you condemn someone to death, you don't want to be around to watch them die. You might shrink from your 'duty' the next time...not that such delicacies bother the soul of our would-be president. We Christians, even the most anti-Semitic have no problem with falling back on the Old Testament when it comes to capital punishment, even though it was overridden by Jesus' words. Bring on public executions like this little girl's. Smelling burnt flesh might bring us respectable folks to our souls' senses.

The only little 'pick' I have about this film is that we are not shown why the priest who has been so adamantly urging her burning becomes so suddenly so contrite, even to the point of madness. There should have been more expansion of his character, more dialogue--as the sudden 'coming to his senses' doesn't make sense.

And, whether Graham Greene does this deliberately or not, St. Joan is such a self-assured little upstart, you almost but not quite, are glad she meets her come-uppance. And, when she turned down life in prison, for some reason I thought of Anne Sexton, the poet who accused Sylvia Plath of 'stealing her death' when she committed suicide ...knowing such an action guarantees immortality. You gotta wonder!!

If ever there was a good example of obsessive thought and logic-tight compartments, this is one. St. Joan should have turned Buddhist and quieted the 'voices in her mind'.


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