Review: ‘The Song of Bernadette’

Song of Bernadette is an absorbing, emotional and dramatic picturization of Franz Werfel's novel. Film version is a warming and intimate narrative of godly visitation on the young girl of Lourdes which eventuated in establishment of the Shrine at Lourdes, a grotto for the divine healing of the lame and halt.

Song of Bernadette is an absorbing, emotional and dramatic picturization of Franz Werfel’s novel. Film version is a warming and intimate narrative of godly visitation on the young girl of Lourdes which eventuated in establishment of the Shrine at Lourdes, a grotto for the divine healing of the lame and halt.

Sensitively scripted and directed in best taste throughout, Bernadette unfolds in leisurely fashion with attention held through deft characterizations and incidents, rather than resort to synthetic dramatics. Many times during the extended running time there are sideline episodes inserted, but even these fail to lessen intense attention to the major theme.

Cast is expertly selected, and even the one-shot bits click solidly in fleeting footage. Jennifer Jones, in title role, delivers an inspirationally sensitive and arresting performance. Wistful, naive, and at times angelic, Jones takes command early to hold control as the motivating factor through the lengthy unfolding.

Despite the deeply religious tone of the dramatic narrative, theme is handled with utmost taste and reverence.

1943: Best Actress (Jennifer Jones), B&W Cinematography, B&W Interior Decoration, Score for a Dramtic Picture.

Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Supp. Actor (Charles Bickford), Supp. Actress (Gladys Cooper, Anne Revere), Screenplay, Editing, Sound

The Song of Bernadette

Production

20th Century-Fox. Director Henry King; Producer William Perlberg; Screenplay George Seaton; Camera Arthur Miller; Editor Barbara McLean; Music Alfred Newman; Art Director James Basevi, William Darling

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1943. Running time: 158 MIN.

With

Jennifer Jones Charles Bickford Gladys Cooper Vincent Price Lee J. Cobb Anne Revere
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