Visions of the Maid
Representations of Joan of Arc have been used in the United States for the past twohundred years, appearing in advertising, cartoons, popular song, art, criticism, and propaganda. Thepresence of the fifteenth-century French heroine in the cinema is particularly intriguing inrelation to the role of women during wartime. Robin Blaetz argues that a mythic Joan of Arc was usedduring the First World War to cast a medieval glow over an unpopular war, but that she only appearedafter the Second World War to encourage women to abandon their wartime jobs and return to thehome.In Visions of the Maid, Blaetz examines three pivotal films-Cecil B. DeMille's 1916 Joan the Woman, Victor Fleming's 1948 Joan of Arc, and Otto Preminger's 1957 SaintJoan-as well as addressing a broad array of popular culture references and every other filmabout the heroine made or distributed in the United States. Blaetz is particularly concerned withissues of gender and the ways in which Joan of Arc's androgyny, virginity, and sacrificialvictimhood were evoked in relation to the evolving roles of women during war throughout thetwentieth century.
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