Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Saint Joan...Up from the Ashes

For completion's sake, I have just finished watching Otto Preminger's 1957 film version of Shaw's 'Saint Joan'.  Adapted by Graham Greene, it has some changes, notably in the use of the epilogue to act as a frame for the tale, but the fundamentals are there.  I didn't have too much of a problem with Jean Seberg in the role.  She emphasised Joan's frailty far more than the strength that comes across in the play, but I don't doubt the sincerity of her interpretation.  I would have liked to see the more definitively Shavian Wendy Hiller in the role, but sadly that can never (and even in 1957 could never) be.  Richard Widmark may over play the buffoon as the King, but again, to be fair, the role calls for such a comical performance.  Generally it isn't a bad interpretation.  To Seberg's credit she showed me some of the more subtle possibilities of the role.  Hiller would have been perfect for it though.  Think of her in 'I Know Where I'm Going!'  And apparently Hiller originated the role of Catherine Sloper on Broadway in 'The Heiress' (playing opposite Basil Rathbone as her father! What a production that must have been).  She could do weak and strong.  Anyhow whatever about what might have been, Preminger's take is a good deal better than cinders.

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