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The Passion of Joan of Arc (The Criterion Collection) (1928)

Maria Falconetti , Eugene Silvain , Carl Theodor Dreyer  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)

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The Passion of Joan of Arc (The Criterion Collection) + Einhorn: Voices of Light
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Product Details

  • Actors: Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley, Maurice Schutz, Antonin Artaud
  • Directors: Carl Theodor Dreyer
  • Writers: Carl Theodor Dreyer, Joseph Delteil
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dolby, NTSC, Surround Sound, Special Edition
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: October 19, 1999
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0780022343
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,157 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Passion of Joan of Arc (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • The film is accompanied by Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light, an original orchestral work inspired by the film and performed by renowned choral ensemble Anonymous 4, the Nederlands Radio Choir and the Nederlands Radio Philharmonic
  • Notes on Voices of Light, including interviews, essays, photographs and medieval texts used for the libretto
  • Interactive essay on the film's production and the life and trial of Joan of Arc
  • Multimedia history of the film's many versions
  • Restoration demonstration & extensive production design archive

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

With its stunning camerawork and striking compositions, Carl Th. Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc convinced the world that movies could be art. Renée Falconetti gives one of the greatest performances ever recorded on film, as the young maiden who died for God and France. Long thought to have been lost to fire, the original version was miraculously found in perfect condition in 1981-in a Norwegian mental institution. Criterion is proud to present this milestone of silent cinema in a new special edition featuring composer Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light, an original opera/oratorio inspired by the film.

Additional Features

Criterion's release of Carl Dreyer's landmark film The Passion of Joan of Arc is a definitive example of DVD restoration. Initially believed to be lost forever in a fire, this transfer was created at 24 frames per second from a negative of the rediscovered original version. For a film released in 1928, The Passion of Joan of Arc looks absolutely remarkable. As with most silent films, Dreyer's Joan was originally presented to audiences with different pieces of music. Criterion has chosen composer Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light for this edition. Inspired by the film, Einhorn's piece, presented in 5.1 surround sound, is a wonderful compliment to Dreyer's visual presentation. Notable extras include a history of the film's many versions and an audio interview with Renee Falconetti's daughter. However, by far the best "extra" is Dreyer scholar Casper Tybjerg's incredible commentary that informatively combines rich details of the film's importance and content with known historical elements of St. Joan's life, trial and death. --Rob Bracco

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
150 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the purchase price (details and specs below) September 5, 2003
"Passion of Joan of Arc" was beautiful. I put it on my list of essential DVDs after viewing the last part of it on Turner Classic Movies.
Other reviews have said that "Passion" was the best of the films of Joan of Arc, and after viewing this masterpiece directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer (cq), it's hard to think that something better could be out there.
Five stars across the board for the presentation, quality (sound and video) and for the film itself, which is one that demands the most caring team to make certain that a DVD presentation is of the best quality. This comes from the Criterion Collection, and make no mistake about it, they did what this archive in cinematic achievement demanded.
The DVD contains a digitally restored, black and white transfer from an original negative which was discovered in 1981 in a Norwegian mental institution (perhaps the person who hid this gem was not crazy, after all). Originally a silent movie, the film is accompanied by a digital stereo composition performed by Anonymous 4 with soloist Susan Narucki and the Radio Netherlands Philharmonic and Choir. The audio, which is optional to the viewing of "Passion" is GORGEOUS. The music alone is worth the price of admission.
Included with the DVD is a "Voices of Light" libretto booklet. Kudos to composer Richard Einhorn. If you're reading this, I'd love your autograph. This work is a "must have" in a serious collector of cinematic (and orchestral) genius, so if you're both, kill both birds with the same stone.
For the movie, I was stunned at the cinematic approach to filming "Passion." This is why I am certain that no one has come to within the state border of being close to the depth of passion that pours out of EVERY frame.
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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreyer and Einhorn - Perfect Together January 15, 2000
There's nothing to add to the chorus of high praise this masterpiece has already received, so I won't try. Just one point: the restored version features a new score, VOICES OF LIGHT. I'm not the biggest fan of grafting new music to vintage films - too often it's ill-fitting, adding nothing but a showy distraction to the narrative . Here it's a marriage made in Heaven. Absolutely the most moving and mesmerizing film score I've ever heard, greatly enhancing an already great movie. Viewers in 1928 were probably thunderstruck by Dreyer's vision and imagery, but Einhorn's score gives voice to Joan's inner devotion and faith, transforming this film of sexist persecution and religious hypocrisy into a true passion play of martyrdom. As for historical inaccuracies, remember that this is not a movie about Joan of Arc but about the Trial of Joan of Arc. It's not History but History refracted through slow glass for the purposes of Art.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalypse Now! August 19, 2004
Well, this is certainly a film that can't be argued with. The Amazon reviews of this film have used up about every superlative there is. If ever a film screamed "classic", it has to be this one. I mean, damn, at one point the film was thought destroyed by fire, like Joan herself, only to be discovered in the closet of lunatic asylum - and in pristine condition, no less. Just as though God himself had placed the thing there for safe keeping. I surrender. The film is blessed.

I'll just add this for the perspective buyer that may be a bit intimidated by the bombast of the reviews: please don't assume this film will be like going to a required class. It truly is thrilling. The final scene, when Joan is burned, is one of the most gripping pieces of film-making I've ever scene. It builds and builds with quick edits, the camera suddenly moving like the eye of a terrified child, each image a bit more twisted and seared than the last, until finally you realize you are watching something mankind should not witness - the apocalypse descending on earth. As Kurtz would say, "The horror. The horror."

Worth the price of admission, wouldn't you say? --Mykal Banta
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Masterpiece. July 23, 2001
"The Passion Of Joan Of Arc" is undeniably one of the greatest of all films. It is a masterpiece not only of the silent era, but of powerful filmmaking as a whole. It proves that great art does not lose its effect or value with age. It stands with works like Luis Buñuel's "Un Chien Andalou" and F.W. Murnau's "Nosferatu" and Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" as one of the principle and important films of the silent era. Carl Dreyer's brilliant directing creates a claustrophobic intensity as we feel the pressure on Joan as the tribunal of priests decide her fate. Maria Falconetti gives one of the greatest performances on film of all time, if not the best, looking at her here is seeing eyes that will never leave your memory. She completely lets us FEEL this character, this mystic woman who is being judged. The editing and camera work create a visceral experience filled with true emotions. And the addition of the "Voices Of Light" score is brilliant because it adds to the film's hypnotic effect. "The Passion Of Joan Of Arc" also feels incredibly real and does actually serve as a breathing, living document. It is a marvelous work of art, filled with moments you will not forget. Any film enthusiast, anyone who truly has a deep appreciation for the cinema should, must see it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Just as described
Published 25 days ago by Issac
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by GH
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Maria IS Joan of Arc.. riveting.. and shows convincingly the
mystery of sanctity
Published 2 months ago by tosca
5.0 out of 5 stars A Different and Moving Experience
I loved this silent film. At first, it surprised me that it had no original soundtrack. This is because the director, Carl Theodore Dreyer didn't believe in soundtrack. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Elvin Ortiz
5.0 out of 5 stars a timeless classic
This is acting. Possibly one of the greatest performances in the history of film. I never get tired of watching this timeless classic.
Published 6 months ago by TheGoodDrLaura
5.0 out of 5 stars instantly put it on my personal list of all-time great films. I...
I lived in Berkeley 1961-69, where I was lucky enough to be educated in world cinema at 2 or 3 local theatres; hard to find such theatres anywhere today, at least in northern... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Theodore Richard Salisbury
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Moving Video
This is a very moving video that I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in Joan of Arc!
Published 8 months ago by David H. Fisher Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of Joan of Arc
The sufferings of martyr Joan of Arc (Jeanne D `Arc (1412-1431) is brilliantly portrayed in this movie and French actress Maria Falconetti offers a splendid performance to bring... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Rama Rao
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreyer's Joan of Arc
Great Movie by a great director. The history of the movie is very interesting: IIRC the film was believed lost until a print was found in a janitors' closet in Norway. Read more
Published 11 months ago by R. Larson
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful double treat
an extraordinary performance by Falconetti, enhanced by the silent medium, which will not date. I chose this version because I wanted the Richard Einhorn musical score as... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mrs. M. C. Williams
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