Giovanna d’Arco Al Rogo
libretto by Paul Claudel
music by Arthur Honegger
I have suggested in my titles for this two-part piece on the roles of In grid Bergman that she played Joan twice. Actually she did so four times. Besides her film with Victor Fleming, discussed on my last blog, and this film with Roberto Rossellini, she appeared on Broadway in Maxwell Anderson’s Joan of Lorraine and in Europe on stage in this same oratorio, Joan of Arc at the Stake, also directed on stage) by Rossellini. And while the sleeve of this excellent print and transfer by Video Dimensions remarks,”The whole film is gloriously ambiguous.” — this is not really a film. It is a recording,essentially, of a staged performance of Claudel’s and Honegger’s oratorio, directed by Rossellini and starring Ingrid Bergman. And let’s be grateful to everyone involved that we have it.
Here the beautiful actress is six additional years beyond the film with Victor Fleming and the age of Joan. But she still makes us believe Joan’s innocence and passion and faith. She shines most when the camera is at sufficient distance to reveal how a theater audience would have seen her character and its youth expressed in her gestures and movements.
The sound on this DVD is more than adequate as it captures Honegger’s arresting score. This Joan is talky and sing-y, of course, but always interesting.
NEXT POST FRIDAY January 10.