A few words about…™ Joan of Arc — in Blu-ray

Where the image is cohesive, especially in close-ups, the color can be magnificent. 4 Stars

Victor Fleming’s 1948 Technicolor Joan of Arc is an interesting film.

Produced with a very large budget, and with three superb cinematographers at the helm, it’s a gorgeous film to look at.

As a production, it’s big on process and small on heart, as (at least for me) Miss Bergman’s performance never takes you where one should be taken.

Again, from a personal perspective, I’d add it to library based upon cinematography alone.

Winton Hoch (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Quiet Man, The Searchers), William Skall (Northwest Passage, Reap the Wild Wind, Kim), and Joseph Valentine (The Wolf Man, Shadow of a Doubt, Rope) have over one hundred years experience combined.

If there is a problem with the presentation of the cinematography, it comes down to budgets and analogue tools, as portions, shots of the film are heavily out of registration. While correctable in the digital world, not so much when one is working on a strict budget, and has only analogue tools. The film might also have had a few more hour of digital clean-up.

Where the image is cohesive, especially in close-ups, the color can be magnificent.

That point made, sit back far enough, and you’ll not notice a thing.

Jose Ferrer’s first appearance on film.

Look for Rand Brooks, John Ireland, Henry Brandon, Hurd Hatfield, Alan Napier, William Conrad, George Zucco, George Coulouris, Ray Teal, all in smaller roles.

Based upon the play by Maxwell Anderson.

Image – 3.5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Yes

Recommended (caveats noted)

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

23 Comments

  1. I've been waiting for this Blu-Ray for a long time. While the only way I would be able to sit at a distance from my widescreen tv (as my apartment is roughly 10 feet wide) is to go outside and watch the monitor through the windows with binoculars, I think that it will be just fine.

  2. I don't watch many movies set in a historical period. It's pretty much just the current day for me more often than not (Albeit, the current day, circa 1935-1965 or so when most of my favorites were produced).

    But I did watch this one thanks to being an Ingrid Bergman fan, and thought it was excellent. I don't see rewatching it too often, but if I ever see it on sale, I'd happily add it to my collection.

  3. Oh, I was expecting this to be the review of the '28 version. Any idea why both Joan of Arc movies are being released simultaneously from different labels? Is there an anniversary involved? Perhaps Joan's 600th birthday. 😮

  4. Mark-P

    Oh, I was expecting this to be the review of the '28 version. Any idea why both Joan of Arc movies are being released simultaneously from different labels? Is there an anniversary involved? Perhaps Joan's 600th birthday. 😮

    587th Anniversary of her trial (?)
    "Initially the trial was held in public, but it went private when Joan of Arc bettered her accusers. Between February 21 and March 24, 1431,"

    Spoiler
  5. noel aguirre

    I prefer Jean Seberg/Otto Preminger’s Joan but to each his own

    Might as well throw the Maria Falconetti/Carl Theodor Dreyer version in the mix. Criterion release is tomorrow.

  6. tns49

    Might as well throw the Maria Falconetti/Carl Theodor Dreyer version in the mix. Criterion release is tomorrow.

    I was going to wait until the next B&N sale…but got talked into a pre-order at Amazon's current pricing. 😀

  7. Mike Frezon

    I was going to wait until the next B&N sale…but got talked into a pre-order at Amazon's current pricing. 😀

    I forgot I had pre-ordered it at that price! It's really a masterpiece and you won't be sorry.

  8. Undoubtedly , this is a fascinating film , but very problematic. This version though restored to its original length seems disjointed and missing material. Some actors are barely on screen before they disappear(i.e. Rand Brooks). I think that this was planned as a longer film in the mode of Fleming’s GWTW (hence the scrolling credits at the start) but somehow in post production it was edited down to its current length. So we are left wanting.
    UCLA archives who restored it has material on this film that would make great supplements (such as the widescreen release in the 50s)
    Also the reedited version at 100 minutes should have been included as it has some unique material l worth seeing(i.e. added narration, music changes,etc.)It was included on the French Blu-ray release. But Kino Lorber never seems to go the extra mile to make their releases more appealing to collectors.

  9. philip*eric

    Undoubtedly , this is a fascinating film , but very problematic. This version though restored to its original length seems disjointed and missing material. Some actors are barely on screen before they disappear(i.e. Rand Brooks). I think that this was planned as a longer film in the mode of Fleming's GWTW (hence the scrolling credits at the start) but somehow in post production it was edited down to its current length. So we are left wanting.
    UCLA archives who restored it has material on this film that would make great supplements (such as the widescreen release in the 50s)
    Also the reedited version at 100 minutes should have been included as it has some unique material l worth seeing(i.e. added narration, music changes,etc.)It was included on the French Blu-ray release. But Kino Lorber never seems to go the extra mile to make their releases more appealing to collectors.

    Did a bit of research concerning the film and stumbled upon a Joan of Arc website with a section devoted to Ingrid’s portrayal of Joan. On this website, there are stills that confirm that there are at least two scenes that are not in the restored version. The first is a longer version of the scene of Joan surveying the carnage following the Siege of the Tourelles, showing her comforting a dying English soldier. The other scene is one of Joan being visited by her family either before or after the coronation of Charles VII (versions of both scenes turn up in Mark Twain’s book about Joan. Here are the pages where the stills are featured:

    http://www.stjoan-center.com/Ingrid/part10.html

    http://www.stjoan-center.com/Ingrid/part11.html

  10. I watched this one tonight. For the most part, I thought it looked very good and sometimes stunning. Yes, there should have been more clean-up especially during the first half of the film.

    For me, the biggest problem with Bergman's portrayal is that she never for one second convinces that she's a teenager. Her acting is passionate and deeply felt (she won a Tony for her Broadway performance of this in verse form), but she's no young maiden. Still, the array of fantastic character actors sometimes in roles that are seconds long is astounding, and it's always great fun trying to spot everybody who was even a little bit well known.

    One of the Oscars that the film won was for costume design for a color film. I'll never forget the terribly sour grapes comment Edith Head made when she lost this first-ever Oscar for costumes (she was nominated for The Emperor Waltz) saying that her beautiful gowns had unfairly lost to Karinska's armor. Obviously, she hadn't seen the movie since it sported 15th century peasant costumes and elaborate royal garb for the French court in addition to the scads of armor used in the battle sequences. And she won the next year for The Heiress and seven other times after that.

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