John Trent, a World War I British officer, finds an ancient sword in his trench bunker just prior to volunteering for what will amount to a suicide mission the next day. That night he is visited by the spirit of Joan of Arc and is transported back to the 15th Century. Joan's career begins when, as a peasant girl, she meets Trent's ancestor, also an English soldier, fighting for the Burgundians. After Trent is captured, Joan is brought to the attention of the beleaguered Dauphin, heir to the French throne, who cannot be crowned because the English hold the royal city of Orleans. The weak Dauphin is impressed by her vision and apparently heaven-sent powers which border on the supernatural and ultimately gives her command of the armies. She is victorious at Orleans and the new King is crowned. Joan resists Trent's entreaties of love and continues her struggle to free the rest of her country from English occupation. Sinister forces, both English and French, conspire against her and she is...Written by
Gabe Taverney (email@example.com)
When the film began its road-show run in major cities it was 12 reels long, but, over director Cecil B. DeMille's objections, was quickly shortened to 10 reels. See more »
When Eric Trent woos Joan of Arc, he takes a flower from underneath the cross and holds it in his right hand. However, when he kneels down and kisses Joan's hand, the flower has disappeared. See more »
Englishman, there is room in each heart but for one love - mine is for France!
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I'm convinced that one of the reasons that Joan The Woman was filmed by Cecil B. DeMille was to bolster the Allied cause and the cause of France in World War I. We were not yet in the war but that very issue was the main issue in the campaign for president in 1916.
It's hard to imagine an opera star being an entertainment idol in this day and age. But Geraldine Farrar was just that. With that in mind DeMille got Famous Players-Lasky to sign Farrar who was an opera soprano known for her acting ability as well as singing. Silent films afforded her a great opportunity to use the same kind of histrionics used on an opera stage that for the silent screen was essential.
Why DeMille didn't opt for just a retelling of Joan Of Arc's story is beyond me. The whole ploy with Wallace Reid playing a contemporary British soldier in the trenches and his ancestor fighting in France against the French in the Hundred Years War was both ludicrous and doesn't wear well with age. I suppose possibly the message was that France and England enemies before were now allies in a great cause as great as the one Joan gave her life for.
Reid finds a sword that belonged to the Maid of Orleans and he uses it as a talisman of sorts to communicate with the long dead maid. Then we go back in time to the struggle for France to liberate and unite as a people against the English conquerors. Where Reid meets the Maid on two occasions and his life is saved. Unfortunately he can't reciprocate when her time comes.
Farrar is a find Joan Of Arc. DeMille knew what he was doing in bringing her to Hollywood, her operatic training was what was needed for the silent screen believe it or not. She did the same in another DeMille production of one of her leading roles, Carmen.
Raymond Hatton is fine as the feckless King Charles VII who also let Joan down in the crunch. Theodore Roberts another DeMille favorite was chillingly evil as the Bishop Of Cauchon the one who tried her and judged her a witch and a heretic.
It's hardly historically accurate, but other than Reid's grafted in role it's not a bad film. Joan The Woman has the kind of spectacle and special effects that made the reputation of Cecil B. DeMille.
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