Pope Joan (1972 film)

Pope Joan is a 1972 British historical drama film based on the story of Pope Joan.[1] Even though modern consensus generally considers Pope Joan to be legendary,[2] in the film her existence is treated as fact.

Pope Joan (1972 film).jpg
Directed byMichael Anderson
Produced byKurt Unger
Daniel Unger (uncredited)
John Briley (associate producer)
Leonard C. Lane (executive producer)
Written byJohn Briley
StarringLiv Ullmann
Olivia de Havilland
Franco Nero
Music byMaurice Jarre
CinematographyBilly Williams
Edited byBill Lenny
Distributed byColumbia-Warner Distributors (UK) Columbia Pictures (US)
Release date
16 August 1972
Running time
132 minutes (original uncut version)
CountryUnited Kingdom

It was directed by Michael Anderson and has a cast which includes Liv Ullmann (in the lead role), Olivia de Havilland, Lesley-Anne Down, Franco Nero and Maximilian Schell. The soundtrack was composed by Maurice Jarre with additional choral music provided by The Sistine Chapel Choir, directed by Domenico Bartolucci.[3]

The film was released on DVD in 2003 on Region 1 format disc.[4] It was also re-titled in some areas as The Devil's Imposter, with much material cut.

The version of the film released in 1972 differed significantly from the version that had originally been filmed. Anderson's original was made with flashbacks and flash-forward sequences about a modern-day Evangelical preacher who believes her life parallels that of Pope Joan. In this version psychiatrists try to send her back through her past lives to establish if she is the reincarnation of Pope Joan.[5] However, the distributor decided to have all of the contemporary sequences removed and released the film as a straightforward historical drama. In 2009 the film was re-edited and the previously unreleased footage was re-inserted. It was re-released under the title She… Who Would Be Pope.[6]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Pope Joan (1972)". IMDb. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope Joan". Newadvent.org. 1 October 1910. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Pope Joan (1972) Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Pope Joan". Amazon.com. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  5. ^ "She... Who Would Be Pope (2009)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 9 September 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  6. ^ "She…Who would be Pope". Shewhowouldbepope.com. Retrieved 7 September 2015.

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