Joan of Arc (1948)

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Joan of Arc is a 1948 American hagiographic epic film directed by Victor Fleming, and starring Ingrid Bergman as the French religious icon and war heroine. It was produced by Walter Wanger. It is based on Maxwell Anderson's successful Broadway play Joan of Lorraine, which also starred Bergman, and was adapted for the screen by Anderson himself, in collaboration with Andrew Solt. It is the only film of an Anderson play for which the author himself wrote the film script (at least partially).

Bergman had been lobbying to play Joan for many years, and this film was considered a dream project for her. It received mixed reviews and lower-than-expected box office, though it clearly was not a "financial disaster" as is often claimed. Donald Spoto, in a biography of Ingrid Bergman, even claims that "the critics' denunciations notwithstanding, the film earned back its investment with a sturdy profit".

The movie is considered by some to mark the start of a low period in the actress's career that would last until she made Anastasia in 1956. In April 1949, five months after the release of the film, and before it had gone out on general release, the revelation of Bergman's extramarital relationship with Italian director Roberto Rossellini brought her American screen career to a temporary halt. The nearly two-and-a-half hour film was subsequently drastically edited for its general release, and was not restored to its original length for nearly fifty years.

Bergman and co-star Jose Ferrer (making his first film appearance and playing the Dauphin) received Academy Award nominations for their performances. The film was director Victor Fleming's last project - he died only two months after its release.

In Michael Sragow's 2008 biography of the director, he claims that Fleming, who was, according to Sragrow, romantically involved with Ingrid Bergman at the time, was deeply unhappy with the finished product, and even wept upon seeing it for the first time. Sragrow speculates that the disappointment of the failed relationship and the failure of the film may have led to Fleming's fatal heart attack, but there is no real evidence to support this.

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