The Song of Bernadette

The Song of Bernadette

Jennifer Jones
Director: Henry King Cast: Jennifer Jones
Jennifer Jones
, Charles Bickford
Charles Bickford
, Gladys Cooper
Gladys Cooper
Henry King

DVD (Black & White / Stereo / Mono)

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Henry King's The Song of Bernadette (1943) comes to DVD in a very beautiful film-to-video transfer that, after some traces of instability in the opening credits, takes on the sharpness of still photography. That's the product of the 2002 upgrade of the movie from the best surviving nitrate elements. 20th Century Fox has treated the film well with this transfer, which looks better than any small-screen presentation it has ever received, including the laserdisc release (which, as was often the case, had the usual playback anomalies common to that format and was made from a far lower-quality source). Indeed, the mere fact that the 156-minute movie fits onto a single five-inch platter still feels like a miracle -- as much as the so-called "private revelation" of Bernadette of Lourdes. The movie itself is an acquired taste, as the producers knew it would be at the time, expressing this reality in the disclaimer at the opening: "For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary; for those who don't, no explanation is possible." Alas, the commentary track, which is one of the main extras on the DVD, is also something of an acquired taste. The three-way commentary simply doesn't work, as none of the contributors ever has a chance to build up a chain of observations -- or an intellectual head of steam -- before he gives way to a colleague on a separate train of thought. John Burlingame, who is present to discuss the music, seldom has the chance to expose any of the music cues because there's no room for such pauses. He says once too often that he will never say there's a false-note in the movie, but we seldom get a chance to hear any of the notes; instead, one must go back to the menu and fiddle with on-screen buttons, even over the first appearance of the "Beautiful Lady." His discussion of the psychology behind Alfred Newman's music is wonderful, but he should have simply been given this section of the movie to himself. Donald Spoto, the principal commentator, is also a little too flashy in his discussion, so much so that one loses focus on the film at times. It's a performance that, alas, competes with the performances on the screen. Edward Z. Epstein, who has written a book on Jennifer Jones' life and career, doesn't add a huge amount of information in his contribution. Much more useful in some ways is the Biography installment on Jones, which offers a full picture of her life and career. Also included is an excerpt of a Fox/Movietone newsreel showing Jones accepting an award from American GI's for her work, the film's trailer, and a before-and-after depiction of the restoration, which is rather eye-opening. The disc opens to a two-layer menu that keeps the Play option in the default position and is easy to maneuver; the Special Feature selection advances automatically as each bonus selection concludes. For reasons best known to itself, FoxVideo has erroneously credited the 1943 full-frame (1.33:1) black-and-white movie as being in Deluxe Color and CinemaScope in the packaging.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/03/2003
UPC: 0024543075677
Original Release: 1943
Rating: NR
Source: 20Th Century Fox
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [B&W]
Sound: [stereo, monaural]
Sales rank: 2,748

Special Features

Closed Caption; Audio commentary by Edward Z. Epstein (author of "Portrait of Jennifer: A Biography of Jennifer Jones"), John Burlingame (biographer of Alfred Newman), and biographer/historian Donald Spoto; "Jennifer Jones: Portrait of a Lady" Biography program; Movietone newsreel of Jennifer Jones; Restoration comparison; Theatrical trailer; Full-frame format (aspect ratio 1.33:1); English and Spanish subtitles

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jennifer Jones Bernadette Soubirous
Charles Bickford Peyramaie Dean of Lourdes
Gladys Cooper Sister Vauzous
Vincent Price Dutour
Lee J. Cobb Dr. Dozous
Anne Revere Louise Soubirous
Blanche Yurka Bernarde Casterot
Mary Anderson Jeanne Abadie
William Eythe Antoine Nicolau
Edith Barrett Croisine Bouhouhorts
Aubrey Mather Lacade
Sig Rumann Louis Bouriette
Fortunio Bonanova Louis Napoleon III
Tala Birell Madame Bruat
Marcel Dalio Callet
Eula Morgan Mme. Nicolau
Jean del Val Estrade
André Charlot Bishop of Nevers
Moroni Olsen Chaplain
Louis Arco Actor
Hooper Atchley Policeman
Charley Bates Bouhouhorts' Boy
Eugene Borden Gendarme
Lionel Braham Baron Massey
Davison Clark Actor
Edward Clark Hospital Attendant
Harry Cording Stone Mason
Elvira Curci Actor
Adrienne D'Ambricourt Actor
Frank Dae Actor
Jean de Briac Actor
Harry Denny Priest
Pat Dillon Bouhouhorts' Boy
John Dilson Actor
Fernanda Eliscu Actor
Edythe Elliott Actor
Fred Essler Minister of Justice
Edward Fielding Actor
Antonio Filauri Actor
Curt Furberg Actor
Margaret Hoffman Actor
Arthur Hohl Monk
Edward Keane Actor
Frank Lackteen Actor
Charles La Torre Duran
Frank Leigh Cleric
Connie Leon Actor
Alphonse Martell Actor
Louis Mercier Huckster
Belle Mitchell Actor
Nestor Paiva Baker
Alex Papana Actor
Nino Pipitone Mayor's Secretary
Frank Reicher Dr. St. Cyr
Julian Rivero Dominican Monk
Steve Roberts Actor
Ruth Robinson Nun
Merrill Rodin Jean Soubirous
Muni Seroff Actor
George Sorel Franciscan Monk
Edwin Stanley Mr. Jones
Tom Stevenson Doctor
Minerva Urecal Actor
Charles Wagenheim Peasant
Geraldine Wall Nun
Lucille Ward Actor
Ruth Warren Actor
Cecil Weston Actor
Ian Wolfe Minister of the Interior
Irina Semochenko Actor
Armand Cortez Actor
Roman Bohnen Francois Soubirous
Nana Bryant Convent Mother Superior
Jerome Cowan Emperor Napoleon
Linda Darnell The Virgin Mary (uncredited)
Pedro de Cordoba Lecrampe
Charles Dingle Jacomet
Fritz Leiber Monk
Mae Marsh Woman
Dickie Moore Adolar
Patricia Morison Empress Eugenie
Alan Napier Psychiatrist
Alla Nazimova Actor
Edward Van Sloan Doctor
Ermadean Walters Marie Soubirous
Manart Kipper Charles Bouhouhorts

Technical Credits
Henry King Director
James Basevi Art Director
William S. Darling Art Director
Rene Hubert Costumes/Costume Designer
Frank E. Hughes Set Decoration/Design
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Barbara McLean Editor
Arthur C. Miller Cinematographer
Alfred Newman Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
William Perlberg Producer
George Seaton Screenwriter
Fred Sersen Special Effects

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Titles
2. A Poor Family
3. Gathering Wood
4. A Vision
5. The Lady's Request
6. Going to the Grotto
7. Neutrality
8. Arresting Bernadette
9. A Message for the Church
10. The Spring
11. Pilgrimage to Lourdes
12. Closing the Grotto
13. Examining Bernadette
14. Arresting Pilgrims
15. Re-Opening the Grotto
16. Investigations
17. Responsibility
18. In the Convent
19. The Chosen
20. Final Confrontation

Customer Reviews