(1942)4Craig ButlerUnknown to many modern viewers, Joan of Paris deserves a wider following. True, many viewers will find themselves comparing it to the similar Casablanca. Few films can stand such comparisons, but on its own terms, Joan is a terrific and very engaging war drama. Joan's screenplay is taut and concise, packing a lot of story into 91 minutes and doing so expertly. It also manages to give equal weight to both the thriller and the romantic aspects of the story, something that many films fail to do successfully. Director Robert Stevenson turns in some of his best work here, sensitive and intimate when necessary, but also bold and gripping when the story makes that demand; the climactic (and crucial) chase is especially well handled. In the leading roles, Michèle Morgan and Paul Henreid are quite good, with Morgan effectively conveying her character's innocent religious nature and Henreid appropriately sturdy; if they fail to ignite the screen in the way that Bogart and Bergman do in Casablanca, they still have a certain amount of chemistry. Even better are the villainous Laird Cregar and the boyish and moving Alan Ladd. All told, Joan is a well-done, often thrilling melodrama.