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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 »

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Won 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Croisine Bouhouhorts
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Louis Bouriette
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Ermadean Walters ...
Marie Soubirous
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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

Plot Keywords:

france | girl | visions | peasant | church | See All (168) »

Taglines:

A Miracle of Motion Picture Achievement! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

April 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Franz Werfel's The Song of Bernadette  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Using an actress to play "the lady" was controversial enough, and further controversy fulminated when Loretta Young was passed over in favour of sultry Linda Darnell. At that time, Darnell had an almost pornographic reputation. Franz Werfel, the author of the book on which the film was based, threatened to remove his name from the project. To make matters worse, Darnell was pregnant. Nothing would change Darryl F. Zanuck's mind, and Werfel was told that an unknown actress was chosen. Wearing a little more drapery than the simple dress and veil described by the historical Bernadette, Darnell played the role in bright light. 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

Empress Eugenie: You're an atheist, Louis!
Emperor Louis Napoleon III: That's the most stupid thing a sovereign could be.
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 »

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User Reviews

 
Jennifer Jones' deeply prayerful performance silently touches the hearts of all who watched this beautiful film...

Religious figures became big success in distinguished films like "Going My Way," "The Keys of the Kingdom," "The Bells of St. Mary's," and "The Song of Bernadette."

The film is the story of a simple peasant girl who wins the quality of a 'Saint.' Bernadette was born in an isolated French village called Lourdes, in January 7, 1844...

Jennifer Jones, in a well deserved Academy Award as Best Actress, performs Bernadette Soubirous, the eldest of 9 children from a poverty-stricken family, who would not find happiness in this world, but only in the next...

In 1858, at the age of 14, while gathering firewood, the pious Bernadette had numerous visions of a 'beautiful Lady' on a hillside, on the left bank of a stream... She reveals her identity with the words: "I am the Immaculate Conception."

Bernadette, faithfully, takes great care that her statements never exceed precisely what she has seen... The entire region is soon in an uproar over the events... Bernadette stands firmly defending the 'genuineness' of these visions despite strong opposition from her frightened parents (Anne Revere and Roman Bohnen), the local clergy (Charles Bickford) and civil authorities as the Imperial prosecutor, Vital Dutour (Vincent Price).

Events have become more stressful... Interrogations and prison are a constant threat... The small town is also put under strain... Swelling to several times its population, tensions increase as expectations on one poor child carrying the residents and visitors on an emotional roller coaster...

To escape public attention, Bernadette goes to a quieter life... She is granted admission into the novitiate in the Convent of the Sisters of Nevers... There she completes her religious instruction and passes her remaining years in prayer and seclusion... She was happy and loved for her kindliness and wit, despite almost constant sickness and pain, and despite Sister Marie-Thérese (Gladys Cooper) repeated harassment... This nun couldn't believe in her... She always wanted a proof...

Jennifer Jones is superb as the honest girl who declares that she is not very brilliant, but who never hesitates from her insurance of a miraculous contact...

Henry King's sensitive direction is marked by energy and interest, maintaining a steady clear vision on the heart of the story and its characters...

Alfred Newman's highly music is tender and spiritual...

I highly recommend this beautiful movie... And for the readers who are interested in Bernadette's story, I add that the town of Lourdes, situated at the foot of the Pyrénées, southwest of Toulouse, becomes a pilgrimage town... The underground spring in the grotto, revealed to Bernadette, was declared to have miraculous qualities... And since then this 'healing place' becomes a major pilgrimage center for sick or disabled multitudes...

Bernadette was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1933... Her feast day is February 18, in France and the chapel of the St. Gildard Convent at Nevers, contains her holly body...


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