“O GOD THAT MADE THIS BEAUTIFUL EARTH, WHEN WILL IT BE READY TO RECEIVE THY SAINTS? HOW LONG, O LORD, HOW LONG?”
Kritzerland is proud to present a new limited edition soundtrack CD:
Music Composed and Conducted by Mischa Spoliansky
Joan of Arc has served as inspiration to many filmmakers and actresses over the years – from Carl Theodore Dryer’s The Trial of Joan of Arc (starring Falconetti), to Joan of Arc (starring Ingrid Bergman), to Luc Besson’s The Messenger (starring Milla Jovovich), with many stops in between, the story of the girl who heard voices has been told in many different ways. Each approach – in style, storytelling and performance – was completely different.
Otto Preminger’s 1957 film of George Bernard Shaw’s play Saint Joan is probably his most maligned film (even more so than Skidoo) – the critical reaction was downbeat and downright nasty, and the film was a huge box-office disaster. Part of the reason for this is because he chose to go with a very young and completely unknown actress as Joan – the beautiful seventeen-year-old Jean Seberg. For critics and audiences she was not up to the demands of the role, especially in the company of such superb players as Richard Widmark, John Gielgud, Richard Todd, Kenneth Haigh, Harry Andrews, and Anton Walbrook. The film came and went quickly, and, over the years, has either been completely forgotten or counted as one of the director’s lesser films by all but a handful of people. The director himself said he realized that his film was a failure. Jean Seberg said, “I have two memories of Saint Joan. The first was being burned at the stake in the picture. The second was being burned at the stake by the critics. The latter hurt more. I was scared like a rabbit and it showed on the screen. It was not a good experience at all. I started where most actresses end up.”
But time is the great leveler and occasionally time is kind to certain films. Watching Saint Joan today, away from all the hullabaloo and critical brickbats, one finds a compelling film (with a screenplay by Graham Greene), beautifully acted and with, surprise of surprises, an incandescent performance by Jean Seberg.
For Saint Joan, Preminger hired Mischa Spoliansky, not exactly a film composer whose name was known to the public, even though he’d provided great scores for numerous films by then, including the scores for many high-profile films like The Private Life of Don Juan, Sanders of the River (starring Paul Robeson, and for which Spoliansky composed several songs), The Man Who Could Work Miracles, King Solomon’s Mines, Wanted for Murder, The Happiest Days of Our Lives, and many others. Spoliansky’s main theme for the film is astonishingly beautiful and evocative, and his dramatic scoring accompanies Preminger’s stately visuals masterfully. Every cue in the film helps underscore the characters’ many and varied emotions.
For this first ever CD release of Saint Joan, we used the original album masters housed in the Capitol/EMI vaults. The score was recorded and released in mono. For an LP presentation back then, it was quite long – over 38 minutes, and the album contained all of Spoliansky’s score. On the LP, cues were combined, and rather artfully so, so we’ve left our CD in the exact album configuration. The cover art is by the brilliant Saul Bass.
This release is limited to 1000 copies only. The price is $19.98 plus shipping
CD will ship by the second week of September – however, preorders placed directly through Kritzerland usually ship one to five weeks earlier (we’ve been averaging four weeks early).