In the 15th Century, France is a defeated and ruined nation after the One Hundred Years War against England. The fourteen years old farm girl Joan of Arc claims to hear voices from Heaven asking her to lead God's Army against Orleans and crowning the weak Dauphin Charles VII as King of France. Joan gathers the people with her faith, forms an army and conquers Orleans.
But if I had a hundred fathers and a hundred mothers, I could not go back. I must go forward now. In the Fifteenth Century, France is a defeated and ruined nation after the One Hundred Years War against England. Up steps a teenage farm girl who claims to hear voices from heaven telling her to lead God's army against Orleans and to crown the weak Dauphin Charles VII as the King of France. Joan gathers the people with her faith, forms an army and advances on Orleans - from here real history is formed in all its heroic and tragic glory... Savaged by some critics, cut by the studio to various run times, it really is a case of asking film fans to at least see the now readily available full 145 minute version to give it a fair trial. Starring Ingrid Bergman in the title role and directed by a clearly fawning Victor Fleming (he takes every single opportunity to focus on Bergman's natural beauty), it's unfortunately a mixture of a stirring historical epic with over theatrical stage bound theatricals. Bergman, although surrounded by a great array of superlative supporting players, carries the lead role with aplomb. She clearly dives into the role with a passion of some distinction and film lovers are rewarded with a performance of great depth and feeling, none more so with the sequences in the last tragic quarter of the pic. The screenplay by Maxwell Anderson and Andrew Holt (based on the play "Joan of Lorraine") is beautifully written, with dialogue passages that stir the blood whilst holding court. For some the literate passages may come off as long winded, even tedious, but in Bergman's hands they hopefully will entice the masses in the way that "The Maid of Orleans" actually did. 7.5/10