In World War I an English officer is inspired to fulfill his mission when he finds the decayed sword of Joan of Arc who appears to him in a vision. The story goes back through her leadership of the French Army and her burning at the stake.
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The old story. "Peasant wench" turned lady messiah turned immolated witch. Joan remains my favorite human. I don't think of her as a martyr, because it is pretty clear she died for nothing save her own dignity. Demille sees it differently. He frames the thing in such a way as to suggest that we all die for our own sins, but Joan is w/ us in spirit. I like how political power is here associated w/ evil occult shit.
This is the kind of crap that gives Silent Cinema a bad reputation. And this is one of the many, many bad Joan of Arc films. There are a few great ones, like Theodore Dreyer's "Passion of Joan of Arc". DeMille's film making is dreadful and the Hollywood actors are awful. DeMille lowered the bar for a whole future of Hollywood garbage. Shockingly, the lead actress is obviously 34 years old; Joan of Arc was a teenager!
While it lacks the visual flourishes of more sophisticated silent cinema, this film is still vastly ahead of its time in story structure, and theme. It sidesteps the a lot (but not all) of the melodrama of most of its peers, and instead opts for a story told in equal parts whimsy and passion.