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Singing the Song of Bernadette
on 18 January 2005
In 1858 a young girl saw the Virgin Mary in a grotto outside Lourdes, in the French Pyrenees. Despite immense opposition from all those around her, the child remained faithful to the Beautiful Lady. Finally entering a convent, Bernadette died there in 1879 at the age of 35. Although her story is now known the world over and millions of pilgrims flock to the Grotto of Lourdes every year, what many people do not know is that the body of Saint Bernadette Soubirous remains entirely incorrupt, as lovely today as on the day she died. And I speak as one who has stayed in her convent more than once and gazed upon her.
This film tells the story of the life of Bernadette. Very faithful to the historical Bernadette and her story, the film makers have avoided sentimentality and religious fervour and produced a film which appeals to young and old, to those of religious convictions and those with none.
Made in 1943, the film stars the young Jennifer Jones in her first major role, and for which she deservedly won the Best Actress Oscar. At the Academy Awards that year, the film won a total of 4 Oscars. The supporting cast is first rate, including Vincent Price, Charles Bickford, William Eythe, Lee J Cobb and Gladys Cooper.
This is the kind of film which you will watch once and never forget. It is moving, told with great simplicity and touches something which is deep within us all.
A perennial favourite and only newly released on DVD after 61 years, this is one film you should make a point of watching.