By Ron VandenBoom
On Friday, Nov. 12, the movie "The Messenger -- The Story of Joan of Arc" will arrive in movie theaters around the country.
The story revolves around the life of one of the best documented characters of the 15th century -- a peasant girl who claimed to here the voices of three saints who told her to deliver the French people from English domination during the 100 Years War.
Very few, if any, historical figures from this time period are as well documented as Joan of Arc. This is due mostly to the trial transcripts from her trial in England in 1431 and subsequent transcripts from the trial 25 years later that cleared her of the charges leveled against her during the first trial.
The story of Joan of Arc is one of the most extraordinary in history. A poor peasant girl as young as 10 claims to hear the voices of Saint Michael, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret. As she matured, she came to believe she was destined to lead French troops into victory over the English and by the age of 16 was leading armies into battle. After accomplishing much of what she said was her mission, Joan was captured by the English and placed on trial.
Accused of witchcraft and heresy, she was eventually burned at the stake in the center of the Old Market Place at Rouen. She was made a saint in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.
Trailers from the new movie depicting the story of Joan are available at numerous websites on the Internet, but one of my favorites is http://movies.entertainmentblvd.com.
Not only will you be able to watch the trailer to "The Messenger," but just about any other movie, too, that is currently playing or soon to be playing. For those a little slow on the uptake, there are some old movie trailers as well.
The site also offers the typical movie news sections and the review section for those who would rather read than watch.
But let's not get off the track. The subject today is Joan of Arc -- arguably the most extraordinary lady of any age.
Type in www.geocities.com/Paris/Arc/7316/joan1/joan1.html and visit one of the more colorful sites concerning the life of Joan.
It's laced with colorful paintings and photographs of the sites where the history of Joan of Arc unfolds. See the town of Vaucouleurs where Joan went to ask for a horse, armor and escort, so she could see the king. learn about the life of Joan through pictures, to-the-point written history, and midi music that accompanies each page. Graphics are also popular on this site.
A perfect learning tool for children, the site takes you from page to page until, without warning, it drops you into the story of King Arthur.
If attending the premiere of "The Messenger -- The Story of Joan of Arc" is out of the question for you, zip on over to www.hollywood.com/pressroom/premieres/messenger/messenger.html. Learn about the stars and watch video clips from them as they talk about their roles in the movie.
The Internet is full of sites that offer information on Joan of Arc and her extraordinary life, but I think Dustin Hoffman described it best when he referred to Joan's unbelievable accomplishments as being similar to a junior high school girl going to the Green Bay Packers and convincing the couch to let her play quarterback -- and then winning the Super Bowl.
Joan, of course, did much more than that. She convinced the most powerful men of her time to give her control of an army, led men into battle, won the battles despite being wounded three times, crowned a king, and died a horrible death at the hands of the English when only 19.
This was no ordinary woman.