This movie is based on the medieval legend of Pope Joan, who was made Pope for a brief period around 855 A.D. Although it is questionable that Pope Joan really did exist, this movie ... See full summary »
This movie is based on the medieval legend of Pope Joan, who was made Pope for a brief period around 855 A.D. Although it is questionable that Pope Joan really did exist, this movie presents her existence as fact, and portrays her relationships with other notables of the time. Written by
Mercifully, never received wide distribution in USA...
There is not much one can say about 'Pope Joan' except that it was a huge failure with critics and the public, opening in New York for a brief run of nine days before being yanked into oblivion. This is another of those all-star films popular in the '70s, totally wasting a talented cast--and again, you have to wonder if anyone really read the script before agreeing to do the film. Look at the cast...Liv Ullmann, Trevor Howard, Maximilian Schell, Keir Dullea, Olivia de Havilland, Lesley-Anne Down. The color photography is great and the choral music in the background score is impressive--but the notion that a credible story could be made based on an unfounded legend of a woman who briefly became Pope Joan in the 9th century, is one that would have defeated even the best screenwriter. Given limited release in Europe and only a few showings in the USA, let's hope this is one film that never gets a restoration. No one is seen to advantage--an embarrassment for all concerned. As noted by Tony Thomas in his book, "Films of Olivia de Havilland": "It is a pity to see so many fine actors wallowing in medieval mire."
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