So, did anyone catch "The Passion of Joan of Arc" on TCM last night?

I just managed not to miss this old silent film on TCM.

The Passion of Joan of Arc has a surprisingly graphic ending (for 1928). But really, as for Renee Falconetti’s performance being “the greatest ever in the history of film”? Even all performances after 1928? Nothing like being considered lost for decades to inflate the reputation.

Don’t get me wrong. She did a good, convincing job. I truly believe she could cry real tears on cue. But other than staring into the middle distance while weeping, what did she do that was so amazing?

Maybe I should start another thread: Movies that were Good, but Not as Good as You Expected.

Her expressiveness has far more power on the big screen than it will on your TV at home. It is a genuine classic but a definite YMMV film because of the unusual style. I prefer Dreyer’s Ordet three decades later.

Only saw it once and that was years ago. Thought it was certainly a good film but it didn’t live up to the hype for me. Still, I should probably watch it again some day as I’ve enjoyed several of Dryer’s other films.

I thought the Joan in the following film was hotter. :wink:

Watching it now, for the second time. Some of her bug-eyed stares go a little over the top, but the naturalistic style of most of her performance seems light years ahead of most performances of the era.

The emotion she can convey without dialogue amazes me. Hope, fear, resignation, confusion, defiance _ it’s all there in the flash of her eyes, the jut of her jaw, the tensing of her mouth. And her performance is virtually one long close-up. I can’t imagine many other actresses commanding our attention for so long using nothing but her face.

It’s an interesting film, for stylistic reasons… That was the first film with a substantial number of close-ups, something that really hadn’t been done before. Overall I enjoyed it, but the repetitious close-ups of her, from chin to top of her head, started to annoy me by the end. Still, not a bad flick!

Could someone describe the ending?

The movie shows Joan being burned. At first you see the smoke getting thicker, and Joan gradually being obscured, but then from a different angle you see what seems to be a real body burning, being shriveled and charred by the flames.

There’s an excited crowd around her, being held back by soldiers. One old man yells, “You have burned a saint!” The soldiers start attacking the crowd with maces. (Spiked iron balls on chains.) The crowd is eventually driven across a drawbridge, and the bridge is taken up.

There’s a couple of scenes of people laying around with their heads bashed open.
One is a mother with a crying child next to her.

Also before all this, as Joan is being burned, there’s an extreme close up of a toddler nursing on it mother’s breast. The baby turns away from the nipple, (suggesting the toddler is watching Joan burn.) The toddler then clamps his mouth back on the nipple.

That’s a flail.

Really? Then what’s a mace?

Really? Then what’s a mace?

Never mind. Looked it up on Wikipedia. I always heard the chain thing called a mace until now. Granted, the word doesn’t come up too often.

Now I have something to post under the “Things I was Wrong about for 20 Years” thread.