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Pope Joan

8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Disc New condition No scratches in original case. No insert art work, ships next business day in bubble wrap with conformation..

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Liv Ullmann, Jeremy Kemp, Natasa Nicolescu, Sharon Winter, Margareta Pogonat
  • Directors: Michael Anderson
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Platinum Disc
  • DVD Release Date: August 12, 2003
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000C23HX
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,629 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Pope Joan" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Allen Eaton on October 30, 2004
Format: DVD
I have just rented this title from Neflix. The storyline they advertise is that of a 20th Century woman who feels that she resembles the legendary Pope Joan of the 9th Century. Through a visit to a psycharist, she manages to time-travel to Joan's world.

The actual movie, however, has nothing to do with the 20th century. No visit to a psycharist, no time-travel in her mind. This is a costume drama, a straight-forward bio pic of a woman who pretended to be a man (in order to save her life in those savage times) and was elected Pope (a story vigoriously denied by the Catholic Church).

While supporting actors Maximillian Schell (as a monk/painter), Franco Nero (as the Emperor) and Trevor Howard (as an aging pope) turn in convincing performances, it is Liv Ullman who steals the show (she is in practically every scene). Her face is the perfect actor's mask. Her transformation into Father John is so convincing that I found myself saying that, if I had just met him, either as priest or Pontiff, I'd believe she was a man. The actress does this entirely with her face, the mark of a true creative artist.

The set and costume designs easily transport you back in time. Maurice Jarre's music score is lovely, although it often tends to dominate rather than support the action. This is also a European production, so that the editing seems jarring at times, as if you are getting a cut-down version for international distribution. Also the sound has a thin, hallow quality, not well balanced as in Hollywood productions. This can also be digitally corrected (enhanced) for today's DVDs.

Unfortunately, all the efforts of the filmmakers are undercut by the horrific film/negative elements used in the DVD transfer.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By the masked reviewer VINE VOICE on October 9, 2008
Format: DVD
Many are called. Few are chosen. You've probably heard that message before, but the way it's imparted in the 1972 gem POPE JOAN, it's not about the few souls called to true Christian salvation, it's about the few foreign actresses -- those Danish pastries and Roma tomatoes -- who've ever come within emoting distance of being the "new" Greta Garbo or the "next" Ingrid Bergman. One of the least likely crossover wannabes of all time was Norwegian dish Liv Ullmann, who, after a string of fine performances for Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, flew her Scandinavian coop to demonstrate that, in English, she couldn't act her way out of a paper bag. Intent on displaying a broad range of mediocrity, Ullmann failed at comedies (40 CARATS), musicals (LOST HORIZON), royal epics (THE ABDICATION), war flicks (A BRIDGE TOO FAR), Westerns (ZANDY'S BRIDE) and action movies (COLD SWEAT) -- there was nothing she could not not do. But POPE JOAN ranks as our absolute favorite Liv-And-Let-Liv trash classic.

We first see Ullmann done up in hideous Pippi Longstocking pigtails, presumably the look du jour for ninth-century teen messengers of God. When both her parents die, orphaned Ullmann announces her intention to go to a nunnery. Her father's randy monk pals won't hear of it, however. As one of them puts it, "You weren't meant for a nunnery, Joan!" And to prove the point, they all gang-rape her. In a response that would suggest she has more than a passing fancy for medieval religious practice, Ullmann LIKES IT.

Sticking with her plan, Ullmann enters the convent Our Lady of Deceptively Meek Overactors. Things heat up quickly when the emperor Charlemagne stops by one night for dinner, bringing along his grandson, Franco Nero.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 29, 2007
Format: DVD
There may be a good movie somewhere in Pope Joan, but they certainly didn't find it in the cut 112-minute version that was shorn of some 22 minutes after its disastrous opening. This late entry in the medieval biopic stakes certainly attracted a fairly interesting if eclectic cast - Liv Ullman, Maximilian Schell, Trevor Howard, Franco Nero, Olivia De Havilland among them - to its tale of the woman who may have become Pope in the 9th Century before being torn to pieces by an angry mob when she gave birth during a Papal procession. John Briley's script isn't terrible but the original mixture of sporadic miscasting and ineffectual direction from the usually rather more capable Michael Anderson was probably enough to cripple the film long before the shears came out. The editing of the first half of the film is among the very worst I've ever seen, as if someone had run over the film with a lawnmower and put the few unshredded bits back together in a hurry in before anyone noticed, with Maurice Jarre's uninspired score often cutting off mid-note as a consequence to inadvertently mark the deletions. Joan herself seems virtually a piece of driftwood, moving to and fro as circumstances and the men around her decide, but there's little sense of her as a person or as a remarkable preacher, not helped by some very uncomfortable performances from the likes of Jeremy Kemp and Patrick Magee that tell you more about the actors' embarrassment on the set than the characters. Things pick up once Ullman reaches the Vatican and gets taken under pragmatic Pope Trevor Howard's wing, but it's hard to see just what the point of it all is, either as an examination of faith or feminism. As it stands, in the short version it's a hurried mess with a few moments of minor interest to offset the embarrassing ones, and the fact that this is clumsily panned-and-scanned from the original widescreen ratio only makes matters worse.
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