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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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!
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.
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.