66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
the visionary of Lourdes,
This review is from: The Song Of Bernadette [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Based on Franz Werfel's 1942 best-seller, this is an exquisite telling of the life of Bernadette Soubirous, who in 1858 at the age of 14 saw a vision of the Virgin Mary in a grotto near the small village of Lourdes, where she lived with her family in abject poverty. Bernadette received much opposition from the atheistic town authorities, as well as initially from the clergy, but kept her faith in "The Lady", and it gave her a wisdom when questioned by the unbelievers that went beyond her natural understanding.
Jennifer Jones is superb as the simple Bernadette, and she tells the story with her eyes; there are many scenes where the camera focuses on her face, and one can tell what is happening by her expressive gaze. Director Henry King screen tested many actresses by placing a stick behind the camera, and telling them to look at it, and imagine the Virgin Mary...King said that Jennifer was the only one who "saw", while the others merely "looked".
The supporting cast is wonderful, with many standout performances; I especially like Charles Bickford as the Dean of Lourdes, Lee J. Cobb as Dr. Dozous, Anne Revere as Bernadette's mother Louise, and as a lifelong adversary, a prideful nun who is jealous of Bernadette's visions, the terrific Gladys Cooper.
The film was a huge box-office success, as well as receiving critical acclaim, and was the most nominated film at the 1943 Oscars, with 12 nominations and 4 wins. It won for Best Actress, Best B&W Cinematography (Arthur Miller), Best Score (Alfred Newman), and Best Interior Decoration. The nominations were for Director, Editing, Picture, Screenplay, Sound, Supporting Actor (Bickford), Supporting Actress (both Cooper and Revere).
At 2 hours and 36 minutes, this is a film that is totally engrossing, and the time spent with it is very rewarding.
Cannonized in 1933, Bernadette's legacy continues to flourish; over 200 million people have visited the shrine, and though I have never been there, one of my few treasures is a "souvenir" cross that contains water from the spring at Lourdes (which continues to produce over 25,000 gallons a week), and proving that those in the film portrayed as wanting to commercialize the water from the site have succeeded beyond their expectations.
"For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible".
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Initial post: 21 Sep 2012 16:07:16 BDT
It is possible to see the incorrupt body of Ste Bernadette in her shrine at the convent of Nevers (center France). It is so beautiful and impressive.
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