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The Song of Bernadette (1943)

Approved | | Biography, Drama | April 1945 (USA)
In 1858 France, Bernadette, an adolescent peasant girl, has a vision of "a beautiful lady" in the city dump. She never claims it to be anything other than this, but the townspeople all ... See full summary »

Director:

Henry King

Writers:

George Seaton (screenplay), Franz Werfel (novel)
Reviews
Won 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jennifer Jones ... Bernadette Soubirous
Charles Bickford ... Father Peyramale
Vincent Price ... Prosecutor Vital Dutour
Lee J. Cobb ... Dr. Dozous
Gladys Cooper ... Sister Marie Therese Vauzous
Anne Revere ... Louise Soubirous
Roman Bohnen ... François Soubirous
Mary Anderson ... Jeanne Abadie
Patricia Morison ... Empress Eugenie
Aubrey Mather ... Mayor Lacade
Charles Dingle ... Jacomet
Edith Barrett ... Croisine Bouhouhorts
Sig Ruman ... Louis Bouriette
Blanche Yurka ... Aunt Bernarde Casterot
Ermadean Walters Ermadean Walters ... Marie Soubirous
Edit

Storyline

In 1858 France, Bernadette, an adolescent peasant girl, has a vision of "a beautiful lady" in the city dump. She never claims it to be anything other than this, but the townspeople all assume it to be the virgin Mary. The pompous government officials think she is nuts, and do their best to suppress the girl and her followers, and the church wants nothing to do with the whole matter. But as Bernadette attracts wider and wider attention, the phenomenon overtakes everyone in the town, and transforms their lives. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Miracle of Motion Picture Achievement! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

April 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Franz Werfel's The Song of Bernadette See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the early 1860s when the doctor takes the oral temperature of the Emperor's son. The thermometer wasn't invented until 1867. See more »

Goofs

The scene where Bernadette kisses the feet of the Virgin Mary did not happen. The actual grotto shows that the niche where the blessed mother was seen is to high to reach by any human. See more »

Quotes

Father Pomian: [speaking metaphorically] Last night when I came here, it was very dark. It's much lighter now.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening titles include "For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible." See more »

Alternate Versions

The Spanish-language version (available on the DVD) does not use the Academy Award-winning Alfred Newman score. The entire score, except for two of the "vision" sequences, is replaced with music from an uncredited composer. See more »

Connections

Featured in Bee Season (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One sublime scene
11 April 2005 | by honkusSee all my reviews

The weighty subject matter and emotional performances overshadow the film's flaws, which are numerous. Characters and events are not adequately introduced, leaving the viewer with a persistent, though not overwhelming, confusion. It runs a little long, and at times loses focus. But "The Song of Bernadette" has much to redeem it. This is true black and white cinematography, and Henry King uses highly effective lighting techniques to enhance his actors' performances. The bright lighting and soft focus on Jennifer Jones, for example, makes her angelic pose of peace believable.

One scene near the end of the film is utterly beautiful, and truly makes the movie. It takes place at a convent after Bernadette has been accepted as a nun. Sister Marie Vauzous, who has doubted Bernadette the entire film, stands over her in a pose of authority and accuses her of trying to get attention. Sister Marie is lit from an angle at sharp focus, which accentuates the lines and imperfections of her face as she asks for "proof" and laments about her own suffering. Meanwhile, Bernadette is lit straight on with a soft focus as usual, and the smoothness of her peaceful, humble face is perfect and divine. She agrees with Sister Marie that she is "a hundred times more worthy" than herself, all the while hiding the true nature of her own suffering. It is at this point that the Christian theme of salvation through suffering which has meandered its way through the film really makes its point, and it is a genuinely moving moment.


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