This relatively straightforward dramatic biography was one of two films commissioned to honor Joan of Arc on the 500th anniversary of her death, but it was soon undeservedly relegated to obscurity in favor of Carl Dreyer's triumphant 'La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc'. The comparison is unfair: Dreyer was an artist, but director Marco de Gastyne certainly proved himself a distinguished craftsman, and his emphasis on the Maid of Orléans early life in Domrémy serves as a picturesque, matching bookend to Dreyer's impassioned courtroom drama. Jeanne's entire biography, from devout farm girl to agent of God to her capture and execution by the English, is perhaps too long and complex to be contained in a single two-hour feature, and as a result the film tends to resemble a thumbnail sketch of highlights, skimming briskly over long periods of Joan's life with the help of lengthy title cards. Simone Genevois brings an attractive peasant vigor to her interpretation of the title character, never losing sight of her simple, backwoods origins and the often dislocating effects of her mysterious calling.
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