Passion of Joan Of Arc, The (1928)

 

Isn't it nice that they let her touch the cross before burning her at the stake?
Isn't it nice that they let her touch the cross before burning her at the stake?

Genre: Silent Drama (France)

Starring: Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain

Directed By: Carl Theodor Dreyer (Gertrud Vampyr)

Overview: This is the story of the trial of Joan of Arc, as inspired (and directly quoted) from the actual transcript of her Trial Records.

Performance:

Maria could not have been better chosen. They were thinking of using Lillian Gish (Orphans of the Storm, Intolerance) but she never would have been anywhere as good. I'll give them this: she takes the cake and her supporting cast is equally kick-ass.
Rating: 9

Cinematography:

The 9 million Franc budget was considered insanely huge at the time. I haven't done the conversion, but think 1928. Carl decided to shoot everything super tight, to illustrate the close-combat Joan endured with the Church. Also Dryer shot everything in a surrealist style (popular at the time) so everything was white and the sets were very high. I didn't like this myself, but I know there was quite the effort and expenditure put into this production. The end is pretty good to look at, but overall, so-so.
Rating: 7

Script:

Every word Joan speaks is lifted right from the trial. That my friends is pretty neat. The questions were pretty hard and her responses were so perfect that they seemed scripted. Bright girl, let me tell you. Yeah, the writing was pretty awesome.
Rating: 8

Plot:

The story was history, and I like history. The whole twist of the riot at the end seemed odd, or rather unpredictable. As stories go, don't we all want to know more about Joan of Arc? Well I do, so there.
Rating: 8

Mood:

I'll tell you that I saw this in a Church, accompanied by a choir and an organist, who prepared their chorus around this film. I'm going to try to forget that, but I need you to understand that I don't know what the DVD version soundtrack would sound like, however, if I ever get a chance to see a show at a church again, I'm going, without a doubt. Oh right... Mood? Fine.
Rating: 7

The Church can be so cruel... Look how they dress her in mockery!
The Church can be so cruel... Look how they dress her in mockery!

Overall Rating: 78% (Passionate... Enough)
Aftertaste:

The fact that I saw this in a church is what did it for me. Sadly, I didn't find the movie to be all that great. I didn't like the surrealist style that Dreyer shot it in. Did I have a good time? How was the impact of the place I was in with the chorus and organ? Damn, what a sweet night.

Originally reviewed back in December 27th, 2006.

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The film, in my mind, was great for Falconetti's performance, as well as Dreyer's continuously innovative and creative shots and methods.  No makeup was a great and interesting decision.  So many interesting faces.

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