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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

A Forgotten Classic ?




Hitchcock's Vertigo has apparently ousted Orson Welles's Citizen Kane as the greatest film of all time.

According to the learned "critics" of Sight & Sound magazine

But at Number 9 of the new listing is a silent  film made in 1927: The Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc)

The film has a curious history as can be seen from the Wikipedia entry and from here

It cost nine million francs to make - a fortune in those days. It was acclaimed when first exhibited in France. But it was banned in England because of the portrayal of English soldiers. 

It was long thought that the film had been lost to fire, the original version was miraculously found in perfect condition in 1981—in a janitor`s room in a Norwegian mental institution.

The film was directed by the Dane, Carl Theodor Dreyer

Renee (Maria) Falconetti (1892-1946), the actress who plays Jeanne, was a popular star of the French stage, Some critics have thought that Falconetti's Jeanne may be the finest performance ever recorded on film

Here is the scene where Jeanne is harried by the judges and she is told that she is to suffer death by burning at the stake. 

In this small clip one can see that the praise is not just idle hype:



The full film (1 hour 20 minutes) can be seen on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epE7X3WO2-E