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Saint Joan

Where to Watch Saint Joan

1957

Saint Joan is a 1957 history-centric drama film directed by the incomparable Otto Preminger, which is an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play of the same name. The film features a formidable cast, starring renowned actors Richard Widmark, Richard Todd, and Anton Walbrook. With the title role being played by an then-emergent star, Jean Seberg, this film brings forth the remarkable tale of Joan of Arc, blending the threads of faith, war, heresy, and martyrdom.

The film opens in the fascinating world of the 15th-century France, held in the gruesome grips of the Hundred Years' War. This chaotic socio-political landscape forms the backdrop against which, the story of a young farmer girl, Joan, unfolds, who claims divine revelation, demanding an authoritative place in an ancien régime in a deeply patriarchal society.

Richard Widmark plays the Dauphin, Charles VII, an initially underwhelming and rather timid prince who later ascends the throne becoming the King of France, with particular thanks to Joan’s unyielding conviction. Charles VII is portrayed as a complex character with vacillation and unsureness lurking behind his kingly demeanor, lending a sense of realism to the unfolding human drama.

In stark contrast to Widmark's hesitant Dauphin, Richard Todd plays Dunois, Bastard of Orleans, a military man brimming with grit and determination. Todd’s excellent acting skills brings out the nuances of this battle-hardened character seamlessly, which complements and, at times, contrasts with the other characters, adding depth and dynamism to the narrative.

Anton Walbrook plays the exigent role of the Duke of Warwick. As Joan's principal antagonist, Walbrook, with his riveting performance, gives life to a complex character marked by his subtle machinations and diplomatic prowess, showcasing the intricacies of power dynamics at play.

Jean Seberg, despite being a newcomer, makes an indelible impact as the protagonist, Joan. She beautifully captures the essence of an innocent farm girl and the firebrand saint, illuminating the screen with her unswerving faith and courage. Her portrayal of Joan's transition, as she moves through many layered emotions and states, ranging from ecstasy and distress to this growing sense of her own destiny, adds a compelling quality to this historic character.

The movie focuses not just on Joan’s heroism, but also delves into the reactions of those around her, touching upon themes of faith, skepticism, patriarchy, politics, and abuse of power. There's an ongoing tension between faith and doubt, prophecy and politics that accentuates the dramatic tenor of the film.

There's much to appreciate in the movie’s painstaking historical detail. The costumes and set designs aptly recreate the ambiance of the 15th century, bearing testimony to the time and effort invested in perfecting the aesthetics. The dialogue, peppered with archaisms, mirrors Shaw's original text, reflecting the language and flavor of the era. The film's cinematography enhances its grandeur as each scene is shot with meticulous care to capture the essence of the era.

Saint Joan is a movie that unfolds at the intersection of faith and politics, narrating the profound story of a saint who walked the earth many centuries ago. It stands out, not just for its historical significance, but also for the performances of its actors who breathe life into the characters they portray. It's a powerful film that explores the challenges Joan faced in her journey, offering a timeless story of resilience, faith, and the human spirit.

Despite some historical inaccuracies, the compelling tale of Joan’s life is well worth a watch for its remarkable storytelling and the masterful performances by its cast. Over and above a simple war-time story or a drama of religion and politics, Saint Joan pokes the viewer to question faith, to doubt orthodoxy, and ultimately, invites us to open our hearts and minds to the realms beyond mere human comprehension. Saint Joan is truly an artistic gem from the late 50s, deserving to be watched and appreciated by cinema lovers worldwide.

Saint Joan is a History, Drama movie released in 1957. It has a runtime of 110 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.4..

How to Watch Saint Joan

Where can I stream Saint Joan movie online? Saint Joan is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon, Google Play. Some platforms allow you to rent Saint Joan for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

6.4/10
Director
Otto Preminger
Stars
Jean Seberg, Richard Widmark, Richard Todd, Barry Jones, Anton Walbrook, John Gielgud, Felix Aylmer, Harry Andrews, Finlay Currie, Bernard Miles, Patrick Barr, Kenneth Haigh
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