I couldn't figure out where Preminger's head was, with relation to this material -- he didn't seem to be interested in exploring themes of faith/spirituality like Dreyer was, and he hardly seemed interested in the details of the France vs England conflict, penciling in enough of the outline, as derived from Shaw's play, to make the story legible. Was "making a good adaptation" his only goal? And then it hit me -- it's a movie about someone obeying the dictates of personal conscience in the face of opposition from state authority. In 1957. It's the anti-On The Waterfront.
Jean Seberg is really damn good here, and so is Richard Widmark, playing wildly against type, and if the camerawork were any sexier it would be Cinemascope. Look how the blocking of performers seems to propel the camera across spaces, there's a dynamism to the way that camera travels that's like an athletic event.