Mansplaining Joan of Arc

cover of A Joan for All Seasons by Maeve Maddox, a film guide to six Joan of Arc moviesThere’s the historical Joan of Arc and there are the mansplained versions given in six films that have shaped the thinking of several generations of movie-goers.

A Joan for All Seasons: Joan of Arc in Hisory and the Movies, is my film guide to the following well known productions:

Joan the Woman (1917)—Directed by Cecil B. DeMille, starring Geraldine Farrar

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)—Directed by Theodore Dreyer, starring Renée Falconetti

Joan of Arc (1948)—Directed by Victor Fleming, starring Ingrid Bergman

Saint Joan (1957)—Directed by Otto Preminger, starring Jean Seberg

Joan of Arc (1999)—Directed by Christian Duguay, starrng LeeLee Sobieski

The Messenger (1999)—Directed by Luc Besson, starring Milla Jovovich

My provocative film guide shows how six twentieth-century directors manipulate fact and legend to portray the woman who was a genuine military leader as a weak, erratic female. The ultimate message of each film seems to be, “a woman who challenges prevailing gender roles will deservedly come to a bad end.”

The twenty-first century has yet to produce a feature film about Joan of Arc. I’d love to hear readers’ views as to why Joan is no longer appealing to filmmakers.

Available in both print and digital editions.

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