Joan of Paris (1942): War Film, Michèle Morgan and Paul Henreid

Joan of Paris, one of RKO’s most successful films in 1942, was a war tale about five Royal Air Force pilots, shot down over Nazi-occupied France during World War II, and their attempt to escape to England.

It stars Michèle Morgan and Paul Henreid, with Thomas Mitchell, Laird Cregar and the character actress May Robson in her last role.

Lewis Milestone was initially assigned to direct the film but resigned over differences with the studio.

 

Joan of Paris
Joan-of-paris poster.jpg

Joan of Paris marked the Hollywood screen debuts of Austrian Henreid and Frenchwoman Morgan. Henreid had previously appeared in some British-American co-productions and had starred on Broadway in the play “Flight to the West” as Paul von Hernreid.

When he was signed by RKO in 1942, the studio changed his surname, dropping the “von” and changing his last name to “Henreid.”

Alan Ladd, who played one of the downed airmen, would become a star later that year, after his breakthrough role in This Gun for Hire.  

As a result, Joan of Paris was rereleased with Ladd’s name prominently featured.

Cast

Michèle Morgan as Joan
Paul Henreid as Paul Lavallier
Thomas Mitchell as Father Antoine
Laird Cregar as Herr Funk
May Robson as Mademoiselle Rosay
Alexander Granach as Gestapo Agent
Alan Ladd as Baby
Jack Briggs as Robin
James Monks as Splinter
Richard Fraser as Geoffrey

 

Oscar Context:

Roy Webb was nominated for the Best Original Score Oscar.

Credits:

Directed by Robert Stevenson
Produced by David Hempstead
Written by Jacques Théry (story), Georges Kessel (story), Charles Bennett
Laird Cregar
Music by Roy Webb
Cinematography Russell Metty
Edited by Sherman Todd

Production and distribution: RKO Radio Pictures

Release date: February 20, 1942 (U.S.); January 23, 1942 (Premiere-New York City)

Running time: 91 minutes