Joan of Arc Film and TV Ranked from Smoking to Smoldering
On this day, May 30th, in the year 1431, a young peasant girl from Orleans, France was burned at the stake for heresy. Some centuries later, the Catholic church said "oops" and made her a Saint. Joan of Arc's story lives on in many forms, most notably, television and film.
If you didn't know this happened, you are not alone. Boasting a cast that included the likes of Powers Boothe, Neil Patrick Harris, and Jacqueline Bisset, the casting director of this three-part miniseries made the unfortunate decision to cast the unwatchable Leelee Sobieski in the title role. I get it, she was a rising star at the time, with what some called, "promise," but her absolutely stiff portrayal of The Maid of Orleans made the whole production feel jerky, like a teenager learning to drive stick. All the star power they had couldn't keep her from popping the clutch. As far as "smoking" or "smoldering," I'm giving this version of Joan's story a solid "less heat than a Bic lighter."
Hollywood was obsessed with bringing epic tales, both Biblical and historical, to life between 1945 and 1960, so of course, Joan got the star treatment in 1948 with Ingrid Bergman in the saddle. Even though film acting of that era is often overdone and doesn't seem to translate to today's standards, Bergman's performance stands the test of time. Her mixture of strength and sadness certainly solidified her cred in the industry. Maybe I have a soft spot for that period of Hollywood, but I think it's one of the best "classics", and a must-see for film buffs and history buffs alike. On the heat scale, I'm giving this one "a nice, even, slow burn."
Maybe it's because this is one of the most historically accurate portrayals of the period, or it's my unabashed platonic crush on Milla Jovovich, but The Messenger feels like both an action flick and sweeping historic romance. It's bloody, it's dark, and, if I'm being honest, it's long; at slightly over two-and-a-half hours, get comfy, and keep a snack within arms' reach. That having been said, nothing in the film seemed gratuitous or unnecessary, and you will be entertained from start to finish. And Jovovich is a joy, because, well, Jovovich. Heat level? "Inferno."