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Pope Joan (1972)

PG | | Drama, History | 25 October 1972 (UK)
In medieval Europe, a pious young woman becomes a scholar of theology, disguises herself as a man, rises through the Catholic Church hierarchy and is elected Pope.

Director:

Michael Anderson

Writer:

John Briley (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Liv Ullmann ... Pope Joan
Jeremy Kemp ... Joan's Father
Natasa Nicolescu Natasa Nicolescu ... Joan's Mother
Sharon Winter Sharon Winter ... Joan as a child
Margareta Pogonat Margareta Pogonat ... Village woman
Richard Bebb Richard Bebb ... Lord of Manor
Peter Arne ... Richard
Patrick Magee ... Elder monk
George Innes ... Monk
Nigel Havers ... Young monk
Lesley-Anne Down ... Cecilia
Susan Macready Susan Macready ... Sister Nunciata
Shelagh Wilcocks Shelagh Wilcocks ... Sister Louise
Olivia de Havilland ... Mother Superior
André Morell ... Emperor Louis
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Storyline

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 edk <laplaza@ccnet.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Heresy ... or history ? See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 October 1972 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Imposter See more »

Filming Locations:

Brasov, Romania See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original plan was to shoot on location in Italy but this proved too expensive so the film was made at Bray Studios outside London, home to the Hammer horror movies. Some location work was done in Romania and Cyprus. Shooting in Romania proved to be rather difficult, given that there was hardly anything of a native film industry and also because the country was very tightly controlled by the Communist regime. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the version shown on BBC TV on 22nd October 2005, the 20th-century bookend scenes are cut, Keir Dullea and Robert Beatty do not appear, and the film ends abruptly with the crowd descending on Joan. See more »

Connections

Version of Pope Joan (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Tu es Petrus
Sung by The Sistine Chapel Choir
Under the Direction of Domenico Bartolucci
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very good film although flawed
27 January 2007 | by madcardinalSee all my reviews

I found the film version of the Pope Joan story compelling viewing because it conveyed the force and importance of Joan's spiritual calling yet portrayed her as an breathing human being (this may be somewhat ironic since it is possible she is only a legend). Here is a woman who hears God's voice and the voice of carnal longing. She is neither the lowly whore nor the ethereal virgin. Also, it is refreshing to see films where spirituality and belief in God are taken seriously.

I found the performances to be excellent, especially those of Liv Ullman and Trevor Howard. Ullman is very good at portraying the vertical pull of spirituality and the wrenching ambiguity of living in the material world. Trevor Howard's performance was utterly convincing. Also, Susan Winter had a quiet presence about her in her brief performance as the young Joan, which impressed me. What a tenuous thing to be a young girl in the Medieval age - what a microcosm she is of all human existence.

This film has its flaws, most notably the disjointed editing and jarred pacing. I do not quibble, however, with the less than ideal sound quality of the dialog or the occasional white lines which momentarily appear on the screen now and again because when I watch a film, I accept the film on its own terms; I do not wish it was something it isn't - a film made on a modest budget in 1972 should not be expected to look and sound like a mega-budget blockbuster filmed in 2006. On the whole, this movie is a success.

Cautionary note: not a movie for kids.


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