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Saint Joan (1957)

Richard Widmark , Richard Todd , Otto Preminger  |  NR |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Widmark, Richard Todd, Anton Walbrook, Jean Seberg, John Gielgud
  • Directors: Otto Preminger
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: OTTO
  • DVD Release Date: May 28, 2010
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003ODIV0Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,349 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

"The story of Joan of Arc," historian Andre Maurois wrote, "is at once the most amazing miracle in history and the most logical sequence of political acts." But the church court trying the teenage girl saw neither divine intervention nor uncommon acumen in her astonishing triumphs. It saw heresy - and death by fire.
Seventeen-year-old Jean Seberg plays the visionary Maid of Orleans in Otto Preminger's production of Saint Joan, adapted from George Bernard Shaw's play by Graham Greene and cast with a company of bravura talents. Richard Widmark turns his tough-guy persona on its head to play a Dauphin more court jester than future king. And stately John Gielgud is the English commander who scoffs: "The angels may be on the side of the church - but I have 800 soldiers."

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth re-discovering June 19, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Otto Preminger's stagy retelling of the Joan of Arc history/legend was pilloried on its release, and Jean Seberg's performance roasted (no pun intended). Seen today, the film is a stylized, often uneven, but worthwhile experience. Seberg is rough around the edges, but contrary to popular myth, isn't the shameful embarrassment critics made her out to be. Much worse is Richard Widmark's Dauphin, a cringe-worthy contribution to an otherwise stately, literate, and entertaining adaptation of the George Bernard Shaw play. The movie feels much like a television production from the same era: the crispness of the black and white images and the curiously flat nature of the settings and costumes mark it as something less than the typical fifties wide-screen epic, and something more than the typical "Playhouse 90" offerings of the period. Fans of Seberg will want to see the film: this edition is from the "Warner Archive" DVD releases, and as such is given the bare-bones treatment: no commentaries, no "making of" features, and a print that appears cropped from the original (Cinemascope?) version seen in theaters. I've had some playable issues with other Warner Archive editions: this DVD played well on three players, without skipping or stopping. No masterpiece, but time has been kind to the film, and to Seberg's contribution. Interesting to compare this version to the silent, Dreyer version, and the oddball Technicolor Victor Fleming film (1948), with a too-old Ingrid Bergman. Joan's story is filled with contradictions, betrayals, and turnabouts, and this film version recreates most of them in a compelling, stylized, and sometimes clumsy way. Should you buy the DVD? Well, not if you've been holding out for a special edition with commentaries and documentaries, but the print is clean, and this may be the only way to see Preminger's film for a while.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A noble failure September 25, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Director Otto Preminger's stab at the George Bernard Shaw play was pilloried for the miscasting of Jean Seberg in the title role, but she's hardly the sole reason why this well-intentioned film version doesn't work. Richard Widmark gives one of his silliest screen performances as the Dauphin, and many of the smaller roles are quite hammily portrayed as well.
Still, this VHS version does include a very well-made behind-the-scenes featurette (for once, you don't have to have a DVD player to enjoy this sort of extra). SAINT JOAN is still worth seeing, if only to appreciate how much more confident an actress Seberg would become in BONJOUR TRISTESSE (also directed by Preminger) and, of course, in Godard's BREATHLESS.
(And if you're a fan of this movie or of Seberg in general, don't miss Mark Rappaport's amazing un-documentary FROM THE JOURNALS OF JEAN SEBERG.)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Otto's "Saint Joan" Classic February 9, 2011
Otto Preminger's "Saint Joan" was based upon George Bernard Shaw's play and adapted by Graham Greene and is indeed flawed but must be remembered for the highlights it does hold. His discovery after a much publicized search for a leading lady and the finding of Jean Seberg who is a stellar Joan. Others in the cast, John Gielgud, Richard Todd, Anton Walbrook, Harry Andrews and Richard Widmark (the critical lambasting he received is less that it doesn't work as he is integral to Otto's movie version) are fine. The times the movie seems inept (except for the costumes which look uncomfortable), the movie makes up for in genuinely rich vision. Otto keeps his love for Shaw's play in earnest. The fact that poor Jean Seberg was nearly seriously burnt when the initial igniting of the fires during her scene of being burned at the stake is again evidence of the hard work and impressive debut she gave. The music by Mischa Spoliansky is complementary and Saul Bass's titles are again a work of genius. But Otto the showman, (producer and director) (as a director Otto was always efficient, usually bringing in his pictures nearly under budget) provides another classic to a career of consistently fine films. It is my favorite depiction of St. Joan's story. (Mark Twain's "Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc" is another although unfilmed). I wish Otto were alive and working still. The Warner Archive DVD is as usual an excellent edition and well worth it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disagree with critics February 8, 2011
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
When Jean Seberg starred in Saint Joan, her first movie, the critics gave her thoroughly negative reviews. Being that this was her first movie and that Otto Preminger was a very demanding and harsh director to work with, I would have thought that the critics and the public would have been more sympathetic. I decided to view this movie with curiosity and some trepidation. I was pleasantly surprised. I believe Ms. Seberg did a very good job, considering she had no experience in movies. The fault I found with this picture was the script. I found it to be rather silly and immature, considering the subject matter.

I would recommend this movie to any Jean Seberg fan.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than its reputation would suggest September 19, 2011
There have been many adaptations of the story of Joan Of Arc in film thru out the years from the sublime (Carl Dreyer's PASSIONE DE JEANNE D'ARC) to the ridiculous (Luc Besson's THE MESSENGER). Otto Preminger's film of the George Bernard Shaw play doesn't attempt to expand or rejuvenate or take a revisionist view of the historic Joan as we know her. Shaw's play suggests that Joan's trial was more political than religious (not exactly an earth shattering theory) and Preminger's narrative follows, like the play, a straight forward line with very few concessions to cinema. Poor Jean Seberg whose performance as Joan as been much maligned and truth to tell, one can see her struggling terribly with the part which is beyond her abilities but she brings a genuine (meaning unactressy) simplicity to the part that is refreshing enough that you find yourself rooting for her. A horribly miscast Richard Widmark gives what may be his one bad performance but the other actors are quite good: John Gielgud, Richard Todd, Anton Walbrook, Harry Andrews and Felix Aylmer. There's a moving underscore courtesy of Mischa Spoliansky.

The Warners Archive MOD is a good looking wide screen (1.85) transfer
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars not a accurate version, whimsical
not my favorite version, too whimsical
Published 6 days ago by Leroy S Marion
5.0 out of 5 stars I grew up in "Saint Joan's" hometown so knew some ...
I grew up in "Saint Joan's" hometown so knew some family members and remember when Otto Preminger made his big search for his new teen age Joan. Read more
Published 1 month ago by 1oldowl
3.0 out of 5 stars Respectable but no more; no-frills DVD gives less than the VHS...
The performances aren't universally good, but this is the only cinematic treatment of one of Shaw's most engaging plays and so is worth the time spent. Read more
Published 2 months ago by R.L. Holly
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good movie but not realistico
Published 2 months ago by Charles Bellon
4.0 out of 5 stars good classic for the christian collection
yeah I collect these for Sabbath viewing and are usually all very good with good Christian points in them, thanks.
Published 6 months ago by jacki
5.0 out of 5 stars Saint Joan -- Five Star Movie
I believe in this story. There are many versions, in both fiction and non-fiction. This one is absolutely essential. You won't go wrong.
Published 6 months ago by Seestheday
4.0 out of 5 stars An Underrated Gem
The year is 1957. Even before the release of "Saint Joan," Otto Preminger's adaptation of the play by George Bernard Shaw, this film was shrouded in publicity. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Joe Vee
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the better versions of Joan of Arc
The movie is pretty old and can't compare to the one with Leelee Sobieski as Joan of Ark........ but, the acting was very good, the roles were well casted, and it held my... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Denise Spors
4.0 out of 5 stars Young Seberg the saint
Jean Seberg is incredibly sweet and endearing. This film is reasonably accurate historically, for anyone who's taken time to read biographies about Joan. Read more
Published 11 months ago by lmmontfort
5.0 out of 5 stars oldie but goodie
everything I expected and thrilled to be able to add it to our collection, service beyond our expectations, thank u
Published 19 months ago by Kenneth Lehmann
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