Weekly Writing Challenge: And Now For Something Completely Different


JOAN OF ARC starring Ingrid Bergman 
This 1948 movie about Joan of Arc is my favorite out of all the Joan of Arc movies because it stays closest to the established history. I especially like the way they incorporated so many of Joan’s most famous quotes into the script. Is it perfect, no, but then the perfect movie about Saint Joan has yet to be made and this one at least tries to stay close to the true story of Joan of Arc. 

The movie was made by several of Hollywood’s heavyweights of the era with Walter Wanger as the producer and Victor Fleming as the director. It was the intention of both men to create a large epic film similar to Fleming’s blockbuster success Gone with the Wind. Both men felt they had succeeded, however, circumstances surrounding the personal life of Ingrid Bergman seem to have sunk the film both commercially and in the Academy Awards. Walter Wanger refused an honorary Oscar for Joan of Arc because he felt the film should have at least been nominated for best picture. Go Here for more commentary about the commercial problems with 1948 Joan of Arc

Despite being in her thirties when the movie was made, Ingrid Bergman delivers a passionate and convincing performance as Saint Joan. Some have claimed that she was too beautiful to have played Joan, however, it was the ugliness of her personal life and therefore the lack of complete beauty that Saint Joan herself possessed that caused the movie to not receive the acclaim it deserved. 

The movie itself covers the entire life of Joan of Arc from the time when she first heard the call of God to her last words as she died at the stake. The only real deviation from history occurs in the middle after the crowning of Charles VII. They apparently used some poetic license to try to shorten the story and combine some events to jump forward to Joan’s capture and trial. All in all, it is a very good movie that both those with, and without, prior knowledge of the life of Joan of Arc should enjoy viewing. Most people are pleasantly surprised since they have never seen this movie listed among Hollywood’s best classic films and are unaware of its quality. Image