The Song of Bernadette


D: Henry King

20th Century Fox (William Perlberg)

US 🇺🇸 1943

155 mins


W: George Seaton [based on the book by Franz Werfel]

DP: Arthur C. Miller

Ed: Barbara McLean

Mus: Alfred Newman

PD: James Basevi & William S. Darling

Cos: Rene Hubert

Jennifer Jones (Bernadette Soubirous), Charles Bickford (Abbé Dominique Peyramale), William Eythe (Antoine Nicoleau), Gladys Cooper (Marie Therese Vauzou), Vincent Price (Dr. Dozous), Anne Revere (Louise Soubirous)

The Song Of Bernadette is a religious drama based on the book by Franz Werfel, featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Jennifer Jones in her feature film debut.

Jones stars as Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old school girl growing up with a poverty-stricken family in Lourdes, France during the mid 19th century and falling back on her studies at a strict Catholic school due to poor health.

Whilst collecting firewood with her sisters, Bernadette experiences visions of the Virgin Mary, which quickly becomes the talk of the town, resulting in an investigation by the church to decide whether or not the young girl’s story is sincere.

The religious undertones of the plot won’t be for everyone’s tastes, and certainly wasn’t for me, but it manages to not be overly preachy and Jennifer Jones’ excellent performance was enough to keep me engaged, though I do feel 30 minutes could easily have been trimmed to keep this film under two hours long.

It’s most definitely a picture that would have had more meaning and influence when it was originally released in 1943, rather than looking back upon it from a modern perspective.


Jennifer Jones in The Song Of Bernadette
Jennifer Jones in The Song Of Bernadette