Saint Joan (1957)

Not Rated   |    |  Biography, Drama, History


Saint Joan (1957) Poster

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.


6.4/10
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  • Jean Seberg in Saint Joan (1957)
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Cast & Crew

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Director:

Otto Preminger

Writers:

Graham Greene, George Bernard Shaw (play)

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User Reviews


28 February 2005 | gelman@attglobal.net
This is Shaw, NOT Who have you
Most of the comments made on this film suggest that the writers have neither read nor seen the George Bernard Shaw play on which it is based. Shaw in "St. Joan," as in every single one of his plays, is all about talk. It's impossible to make an action movie out of a Shaw play without doing it irremediable violence. "St. Joan" is a play about Nationalism and Protestantism, ideas that did not even exist in the period when the play is set. Shaw's St. Joan IS a French nationalist, which is what makes her an anathema to the British. Shaw's St. Joan IS a Protestant, inspired directly by the spirit of God, un-mediated by the Church, and that is why she is an anathema to the Catholic authorities. Preminger's "St. Joan" is an adaptation of the play and, because the play (in important respects) utterly defies film conventions, the movie is mediocre. Anyone who wants to understand "St. Joan" as Shaw conceived her needs either to read or see the play, preferably both. Unfortunately, "St. Joan" is rarely performed these days, partly because Shaw has fallen out of fashion but also because it takes an extraordinary young actress to perform convincingly as Shaw's Maid, a warrior child whose voices speak common sense to her, , and there aren't too many of those around. If a director wishes to make another FILM about Jean d'Arc, as someone, somewhere, some time will undoubtedly want to do, Shaw's play is not the place to look. It belongs to the stage or the page, not the movies.

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