Joan the Woman
Joan the Woman (Cardinal Film Corporation, 1916) was Cecil B. DeMille's first great spectacle. In keeping with theatrical tradition, DeMille sought a more formal and stylized mode of acting from stars Geraldine Farrar and Wallace Reid - a technique he continued in his late historical films. Wilfred Buckland's art direction is outstanding, and DeMille's social comments are subtle but biting. The film also features a dramatic hand-colored climax utilizing the Handschiegl stencil-color process.
The film became a prototype for DeMille's later spectacles. His handling of the large battle scenes (with the aid of seventeen cameras and a small army of assistant directors, including William deMille, George Melford and Donald Crisp) was exceptional - equal to D.W. Griffith's work in The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance. The real strength of the picture, however, is found in the director's provocatively compelling images:
Ultimately, in an effort to get more performances per day, the picture was drastically cut very early in the run. This DVD release offers DeMille's director's cut and the original hand-colored climax. William Furst's original 1916 score is performed by Christian Elliott at the J. Ross Reed Wurlitzer, Sexson Auditorium, Pasadena, California.
(Abridged from an essay by Robert S. Birchard)
Produced for DVD by David Shepard