The Song of Bernadette [DVD] [1943]

  • SKU: 5523454
  • Release Date: 06/03/2003
  • Rating: NR
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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Overview

Ratings & Reviews


Overall Customer Rating:
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (6 out of 6)

Special Features


  • 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
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis


The Song of Bernadette
The Song of Bernadette is a reverent recounting of the life of St. Bernadette of Lourdes. As a teen-aged peasant girl growing up in the tiny French village of Lourdes in the 19th century, Bernadette (Jennifer Jones) experiences a vision of the Virgin Mary in a nearby grotto. At least, she believes that she did. The religious and political "experts" of the region cannot accept the word of a silly little girl, and do their best to get her to renounce her claims. Bernadette's vision becomes a political hot potato for many years, with the authorities alternately permitting and denying the true believers' access to the grotto. No matter what the higher-ups may think of Bernadette, there is little denying that the springs of Lourdes hold some sort of recuperative powers for the sick and lame. Eventually, Bernadette dies, never faltering in her conviction that she saw the Blessed Virgin; years later, she is canonized as a saint, and the Grotto of Lourdes remains standing as a permanent shrine. The 20th Century-Fox people knew that The Song of Bernadette would whip up controversy from both the religious and the agnostic. The company took some of the "curse" off the project with a now-famous opening title: "To those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. To those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible." Jennifer Jones's performance in The Song of Bernadette won her the Best Actress Oscar. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew


  • Jennifer Jones
    Jennifer Jones - Bernadette Soubirous
  • Charles Bickford
    Charles Bickford - Peyramaie Dean of Lourdes
  • Gladys Cooper
    Gladys Cooper - Sister Vauzous
  • Vincent Price
    Vincent Price - Dutour
  • Lee J. Cobb
    Lee J. Cobb - Dr. Dozous



Overall customer rating

4.8
100%
would recommend to a friend
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    excellent video

    Posted
    player
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase

    Beautiful true story about everlasting faith by a poor uneducated peasant girl set in the 1850's in Lourdes, France who goes on to become a Saint in the Catholic Church.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great Movie !!

    Posted
    traysi

    This is a wonderful movie for the entire family ! Sure to inspire and you will want to watch it more than once! The actors in this movie are exceptional !

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great classic movie

    Posted
    Whysmk
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    I loved this movie as a child and couldn't wait to find fir my movie collection. Great to get it at such a good price!

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Lovely Movie

    Posted
    Tri1256
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    It's a beautiful movie and good quality. I would have bought it on blu-ray if there was more supply.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    GOOD DVD

    Posted
    sunnysideup
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    EXCELLENT SEVICE. NO COMPLAINTS. I RECIEVED IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. I RECIEVED MY DVD AND WENT HOME.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Good

    Posted
    Johnfromohioland
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    Enjoyed this movie. Love old movie and this was good

    I would recommend this to a friend



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