In 1456, French King Charles VII recalls the story of how he met the seventeen-year-old peasant girl Joan of Arc, entrusted her with the command of the French Army, and ultimately burned her at the stake as a heretic.
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
Did she hear Saints telling her to go to war? Were we right to rig a trial and kill her?
Savaged when it came out, this film now looks handsome and sounds great. A feast of intelligent thoughtful acting, from Gielgud, Kenneth Haigh, Harry Andrews and especially Anton Walbrook,and a moving central performance from the beautiful and incredibly young Jean Seberg. Preminger doesn't jump around and show off- his long slow takes encourage you to listen and reflect, and Graham Greene's script condenses Shaw without sacrificing complexity.The piece has the look of a made for TV movie, and is certainly studio bound but none the worse for that. Too many contemporary movies on 'historical' themes cannot resist dumbing down. What would Mel Gibson have made of the Maid? Many drooling shots of her on the rack probably, then crisping up on the BBQ as the flames take hold. Preminger does none of this. The burning is shown mainly through a guilt-stricken reaction. There are a few weak performances, but not enough to cause any serious damage. I caught this movie on TV and was not expecting to watch it through, but I was gripped . In our age of religious fundamentalism and sacrifice, Joan's story has unexpected resonance.
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