The Song of BernadetteDirector: Henry King, Jennifer Jones, Charles Bickford, Gladys Cooper
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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.
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- 20th Century Fox
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- [stereo, monaural]
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Cast & Crew
|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|
|Arthur C. Miller||Cinematographer|
|Alfred Newman||Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision|
|Fred Sersen||Special Effects|
1. Main Titles
2. A Poor Family
3. Gathering Wood
4. A Vision
5. The Lady's Request
6. Going to the Grotto
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
18. In the Convent
19. The Chosen
20. Final Confrontation
Languages: English Stereo
Languages: English Mono
Languages: Spanish Mono
Commentary by: Jon Burlingame, Edward Z. Epstein and Donald Spoto
Biography - Jennifer Jones: Portrait of a Lady
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This Catholic movie is so excellent and explains so clearly. Thumb up! I give five stars.
Unparalleled and divinely beautiful. This film brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it. A faith-filled and provocatively monumental time in history woven into an intriguing movie.
In my top 10 list of movies.
i made this song myself i cant sing very good but i love to write sonds
'The Song of Bernadette' is a film that by all accounts should distill into a religious pot boiler. And yet there is something haunting, awe inspiring and yes, even stirring about this tale of a child, Bernadette Soubirous (Jennifer Jones) who, after witnessing visions of the Virgin Mary, begins to have miracles performed in the small French town of Lourdes. Jones is angelic, tenderly conveying the warmth, innocence and poignancy of someone truly touched by the hand of God. Anne Revere is cast as Bernadette¿s non-believer mother. Vincent Price turns in a wicked performance as the town magistrate who, weary that Bernadette¿s claims will insight religious fervor, threatens the child with imprisonment unless she ceases with her visions. Charles Bickford and Gladys Cooper give outstanding performances as the skeptical priest and nun who come to believe that Bernadette is divinely inspired. Truly, this is a film that requires a whole box of Kleenex to get through. It is haunting, stirring and overall life affirming. However, the transfer from Fox is poor, even though it improves upon previous VHS and Laserdisc versions. Though the B&W picture exhibits sharpness and better balancing of the gray scale the image is digitally harsh and suffers from an excessive amount of film grain. Aliasing and shimmering of fine details is evident throughout. Pixelization is another down fall. The audio has been cleaned up and is well presented. Extras include a Jennifer Jones Biography, an audio commentary, a Movietones trailer, some Fox promotional stuff for other movies in their classic series, a restoration film to video comparison that proves that at least some work was done on the transfer before sending it out to DVD and this film's original theatrical trailer.
One of the best spiritual movies I've ever watched! I have found myself thinking about this movie weeks and weeks later. Very inspiring and motivating. I love this movie!
I have never enjoyed a movie such as this, i can't begin to express the satisfaction i get, i don't like black and whites but this is one of my favorite movies, it does something to me everytime i watch it, a sort of fulfilment. I am going to buy the dvd. yeah for me!
Far better than I remembered or expected. I rated it 5 stars without the "sexy".
I first saw Song of Bernadette as a child and was captavated by this movie. This movie is for people of all ages whether you believe or not.
The Song of Bernadette, starring Jennifer Jones, is an inspirational movie for people of all faiths. I love Lee J. Cobbs explaination, ''For those who believe, no explanation is needed. For those who don't, no explanation is possible''.