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John Trent, a World War I British officer, finds an ancient sword in his trench bunker just prior to volunteering for what will amount to a suicide mission the next day. That night he is visited by the spirit of Joan of Arc and is transported back to the 15th Century. Joan's career begins when, as a peasant girl, she meets Trent's ancestor, also an English soldier, fighting for the Burgundians. After Trent is captured, Joan is brought to the attention of the beleaguered Dauphin, heir to the French throne, who cannot be crowned because the English hold the royal city of Orleans. The weak Dauphin is impressed by her vision and apparently heaven-sent powers which border on the supernatural and ultimately gives her command of the armies. She is victorious at Orleans and the new King is crowned. Joan resists Trent's entreaties of love and continues her struggle to free the rest of her country from English occupation. Sinister forces, both English and French, conspire against her and she is... Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
When the film began its road-show run in major cities it was 12 reels long, but, over director Cecil B. DeMille's objections, was quickly shortened to 10 reels. See more »
When Trent discovers the sword, he holds the hilt in his right hand. In the insert close-up the hilt is in his left hand. In the cutback, it has returned to the right. (In fact, the insert shot has been spliced in upside-down.) See more »
Englishman, there is room in each heart but for one love - mine is for France!
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All the Demille trademarks are here - huge crowd scenes, wild orgies, torture - but there is also a beauty and imagination here that is lacking in some of his later work. The use of double exposures for Joan's visions, the magnificent use of lighting and colour tinting, reveal a film-maker of greater depth than we might expect.
Opera diva Geraldine Farrar seems a little old and hefty for Joan of Arc, but once you get past that she truly gives an excellent performance. And Wallace Reid as her English lover lends strong support.
The camera is a little static and the "spectacular" battle scene is really just hundreds of people running around waving sticks in the air and falling backwards off walls (and I think very little attention was paid to the safety of the extras and the horses), but this is still a very rewarding and innovative film. And we get the original 1916 score performed on a Wurlitzer.
The historical story is framed by a World War 1 (then currently raging in Europe) scene, which adds poignancy to the piece, but does make the central thesis of the story (that God takes sides in wars) a little harder to take. Ramon Novarro's in this somewhere - can you find him?
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