Here’s a truly precious piece of footage. It’s a Technicolor screen test featuring Katherine Hepburn playing Joan of Arc. We know from the slate that it was photographed on May 22nd, 1934 on Stage 5 at RKO. The cameraman was Ray Rennahan. No director is listed–did Hepburn self-direct? Evern more extraordinary than the quality of the color is the bare emotion that Hepburn conveys–sans dialogue–as Joan. It’s all facial expressions and physical movement and it’s truly all that’s required–Hepburn would have made an extremely effective silent film star who of course, given her singular accent and pronunciation, would have effortlessly made the transition to talkies. Alas the film was never made–not sure why–but it eventually came about in 1948, starring Ingrid Bergman and directed by Victor Fleming.


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