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 »
A man named Salem escapes from an insane asylum where he was confined for an axe-murder. Falsely convicted under a plea of "guilty due to insanity", he does not plan to let his sister and ... See full summary »
Joan Fisk, daughter of the American ambassador to France, is bored with entertaining the wives of visiting V.I.P.s and decides to conduct an experiment. She accepts a date with an American ... See full summary »
Olivia de Havilland,
In Germany, an old man attacks another old man and is arrested. The attacker refuses to speak. A female lawyer is appointed to him. She discovers that the attacker has numbers tattooed on his arm and the attacked man was a German officer.
Forty year old Norwegian-American divorcée Ann Stanley owns her own Manhattan based real estate agency specializing in upscale Manhattan apartments. She lives with her seventeen year old ... See full summary »
Searching for a doctor who can help him get his son to speak again--the boy hadn't uttered a word since he saw his mother die in the fire that burned down the family home--a Confederate ... See full summary »
Olivia de Havilland,
Set in a futuristic vision of the late 1980's, Ukrainian Archbishop Kiril Lakota is set free after two decades as a political prisoner in Siberia. He is brought to Rome by Fr. David ... See full summary »
Ambrosio (Franco Nero) is a monk who is sexually tempted by an emissary of the Devil, a young girl in monk's robes. After he has committed numerous crimes, it appears that he will be caught... See full summary »
The minister of the town has died and his son Chad has no tears for him. Sarah, who now calls herself Salome, is pregnant with Chad's baby, but Chad has no future, no job and no money. ... 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
The early 1970's was my favourite period in recent cinema history, classics such as Kubrick's Clockwork Orange, Skolimowsky's Deep End and Visconti's Death in Venice abound; but there are some, less than ringing endorsements of the era, this half-forgotten movie being one.
Liv Ullman, the embodiment of Scandinavian sang-froid, the epitome of ephemeral solemnity, plays Joan, a pious and youthful nun, who travels from a medieval convent, burnt down by Saxons, raping and pillaging, as if they misconstrued it for a set on a Ken Russell film, to Rome where disguised as a (rather attractive) young man, she wins her spurs, becomes a cardinal and eventually the first - and possibly last - female pope.
The trouble is, although Liv's performance is full of meaning and her fights against the alleged sin of lust, particularly enthralling, the editing, jumpiness and preposterousness of some scenes, leave an anxious viewer in need of redemption elsewhere.
True, it is interesting to see actors of the time - Lesley Anne Down, Maximillian Schell, Trevor Howard and Olivia de Havilland - giving robust performances, but a sandwich with an attractive filling is hardly worth eating if the bread is stale. And this is a stale mish mash, which ultimately fails to satisfy. It is a shame. The theme is interesting, whether the story is true or not. Given the current arguments amongst many religions on the role of women, it has significance for us in the 21st Century.
The scenery around Brasov, Romania, where it was filmed, which I visited post Ceausescu, is exemplary. Mind you, maybe the reason for the film's disjointed nature is just that - that the dictator, in his first flush of dictatorial youth, was in charge of production. There again, maybe Ceausescu was a woman. Now that would be a tale worth telling...
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