Saint Joan (1957) - Rotten Tomatoes

Saint Joan (1957)

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Movie Info

After an extensive talent search, producer-director Otto Preminger selected a 17-year-old unknown from Iowa, Jean Seberg, to play Joan of Arc, a role traditionally portrayed by actresses twice to three times Seberg's age. Seberg is cast opposite such venerable pros as Richard Todd (as Dunois), Anton Walbrook (the Bishop of Beauvais), John Gielgud (Earl of Warwick) and Felix Aylmer (The Inquisitor). Cast as the vacillating Dauphin is Richard Widmark. Graham Greene's screenplay refashions the original Shaw text in the form of a flashback. Seberg eventually became an accomplished actress by virtue of her appearances in such nouvelle vague films as Breathless, but it was too late to salvage Saint Joan, which was figuratively burned at the stake by critics and filmgoers alike. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Cast

Jean Seberg
as Joan of Arc
Richard Widmark
as Charles the Dauphin
John Gielgud
as Earl of Warwick
Richard Todd
as Dunois, Bastard of Orleans
Felix Aylmer
as The Inquisitor
Harry Andrews
as John de Stognumber
Barry Jones
as De Courcelles
Finlay Currie
as The Archbishop of Rheims
Bernard Miles
as The Master Executioner
Patrick Barr
as Capt. Le Hire
Kenneth Haigh
as Brother Martin Ladvenu
Archie Duncan
as Robert de Baudricourt
Margot Grahame
as Duchesse de la Tremouille
Francis De Wolff
as La Tremouille
Victor Maddern
as English Soldier
David Oxley
as Gilles de Rais/'Bluebeard'
Sydney Bromley
as Baudricourt's Steward
David Langton
as Captain of Warwick's Guard
David Hemmings
as Minor Role (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for Saint Joan

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (3)

Mr. Preminger, his scenarist and his cast, who obviously were serious in tackling an important drama, have only fashioned a series of dissertations on an important theme.

March 25, 2006 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Even hardcore Preminger fans number this stage adaptation among his lesser works.

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

One of Otto Preminger's most underrated features.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

The endless talk is of institution vs. individual, Church vs. the girl's "heretical" voices-visions, France vs. Burgundy vs. England, at the molasses pace of a celluloid lecture.

May 22, 2016 | Full Review…

A work about Seberg -- a document on a restless, rebellious performer who, like her character, found herself trapped in a role

April 1, 2010 | Full Review…

The fervor of the child-soldier is lost on the screen; she appears to be sweet and naive, not the calculating personality Shaw intended and wrote of in the play's prolog.

October 23, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Saint Joan

½

Even though I couldn't understand much of it (because of my non-existing historical knowledge about Joan of Arc), I found this one pretty suspenseful and enjoyably. Great acting, photography and music.

Stefan P
Stefan P

Super Reviewer

½

This version of Joan of Arc is adapted from the George Bernard Shaw play, unfortunantely it doesn't work 100% in it's adaption to the screen. Jean Seberg takes the role of Joan. Seberg looks great and does a fare job seeing as she has little action to work with. The story is told in flash back and basically consists of two acts (based on the original acts of the play). The first act being the events of crowning the Dauphin and leading the French army at Orleans, and the second Joan's trial and execution. The main problem I found with this is that there is so little action, just when you think that something exciting is going to happen, like the battle at Orleans, it fades to black and switches to scenes after the event. This is a fairly enjoyable film, with a good cast, but there are superior movie versions of the story.

Emily B.
Emily B.

Super Reviewer

½

[font=Century Gothic]In "Saint Joan," Joan(Jean Seberg) is a 17-year old peasant who calmly informs the local official, Baudricourt(Archie Duncan), that she has been receiving instructions from saints telling her to dress like a soldier, lift the siege of Orleans from the English and that the Dauphin(Richard Widmark) be crowned king. Sensing that they have nothing to lose, he sends her off with a letter of introduction to the royal court. They hesitate in admitting her until she accurately predicts a soldier's death. And picking the Dauphin out of a crowd does not hurt either...[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]Written by Graham Greene(based on the play by George Bernard Shaw) and directed by Otto Preminger, "Saint Joan" is a very intelligent movie with excellent performances from John Gielgud and Richard Widmark, who is cast so far against type that it made my head spin. The movie has a surfeit of ideas but stints on the drama which takes away from understanding Joan's appeal and spirituality. Plus, there are no battle scenes, even with the infamous burning scene as the climax of the film. [/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]The central conflict is one of faith versus religion and how they are not always the same thing. And there is a very interesting conversation about torture which is relevant especially in these times. Speaking of an idea ahead of its time, Joan is adamant in dressing as a man and wanting to be a solider, instead of a wife and mother, one of the offenses she is indicted for.[/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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