Joan of Arc [from the play, Joan of Lorraine, by Maxwell Anderson] is a big picture in every respect. It has size, color, pageantry, a bold, historic bas-relief. It has authority, conviction, an appeal to faith and a dedication to a cause that leaves little wanting. And then, of course, Joan of Arc has Ingrid Bergman and a dream supporting cast.

Joan of Arc [from the play, Joan of Lorraine, by Maxwell Anderson] is a big picture in every respect. It has size, color, pageantry, a bold, historic bas-relief. It has authority, conviction, an appeal to faith and a dedication to a cause that leaves little wanting. And then, of course, Joan of Arc has Ingrid Bergman and a dream supporting cast.

Fleming has done an exciting job in blending the symbolism, the medieval warfront heroics, and the basic dramatic elements into a generally well-sustained whole.

There are certain misfires and false keynotes which militate against the desired consistency, such as Jose Ferrer’s tiptop impersonation of the Dauphin, later to become the King of France, who makes his characterization so much the complete nitwit that the audience may well wonder at the complete obeisance of Joan to this weakling sovereign, regardless of the fact he is a symbol of the realm. The churchly gradations are also script shortcomings.

The majesty of the earlier sequences is compelling almost all the way. When Joan edicts that ‘our strength is in our faith’, when she leads her army in the Battle of Orleans, when she is betrayed by the Burgundians in calumny with the English, when in the earlier scenes she wins the grudging alliance of the Governor of Vaucouleurs and the courtiers at Chinon, Bergman makes Joan a vivid albeit spiritual personality.

The color by Technicolor is magnificent. The production is lavish and looks every bit of its $4 million-plus.

1948: Best Color Cinematography, Color Costume Design.

Nominations: Best Actress (Ingrid Bergman), Supp. Actor (Jose Ferrer), Color Art Direction, Editing, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

Joan of Arc

Production

RKO/Sierra. Director Victor Fleming; Producer Walter Wanger; Screenplay Maxwell Anderson, Andrew Solt; Camera Joseph Valentine; Editor Frank Sullivan; Music Hugo Friedhofer; Art Director Richard Day

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1948. Running time: 150 MIN.

With

Ingrid Bergman Jose Ferrer Ward Bond Francis L. Sullivan Cecil Kellaway
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