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Joan of Arc


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Okay, this will be a short review. Feel free to say you love this film, even though I'm panning it, since I believe in total freedom of speech.


I'd seen it before, but a long time ago. Even then I had an aversion to it, since the nuns in my all girls high school made us do a production of the play, with an all female cast. Yes, the Inquisitors and all the assorted male religious figures were played by women. Joan was chosen by the nuns, based on a fellow classmate's very short hair. Good criteria, right?


Admittedly, since my classmates had first suggested doing the play, "Gypsy" which even in a suggestion the nuns found appalling, we were forced to do their bidding, and audiences were slim mostly only the parents and family of acting participants.


So, I can say that the Preminger version was superior to our production, but not by much. In spite of an impressive cast, I just would start laughing every time Richard Widmark was on the screen. I love him and he is one of my favorite actors usually, but in this film he acts like Tommy Udo under the influence of crack and makes the whole proceedings hilarious. Every time that John Gielgud would bring things back down to normalcy and dignity, Richard would act the fool again and get me laughing.


Watching this film, only made me more impressed than ever with the Dreyer version which brings the right amount of seriousness to the subject matter. The Preminger version even appeared to be trying to show a bit of romantic attraction between Seberg and Richard Todd, which seemed ridiculous. My guess is that Shaw was turning over in his grave at how his play had been rearranged.


Love it or hate it, it is always good to see Gielgud in anything!

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