Mother Mary Comforts Me

The Song of Bernadette cast a Heavenly light on Hollywood. It was the most nominated and most awarded film at the Academy Awards. Although it won Best Picture at the Golden Globes, the Oscar belonged to Casablanca. The Song of Bernadette is based on a 1941 novel based on the life of Bernadette Soubirous. I’m not Catholic, so I was never aware of the dearly departed young saint. In the French town of Lourdes during the 1800’s, Bernadette claimed to see visions of the Virgin Mary calling herself the “Immaculate Conception.”

You don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate the many miracles and holy story. As a Christian, it’s just nice to see faith emphasized in a major Hollywood production. The Song of Bernadette is nearly 3 hours, but I was invested from beginning to end. A big reason is the young Jennifer Jones who was only 25 when she won Best Actress. She captures Bernadette’s strong belief so naturally. Never wavering even in the face of overwhelming doubt and criticism. Overtime, Bernadette manages to convince her impoverished family, most of Lourdes, and her questioning priest Father Peyramale.

Local prosecutors are tougher to convince. Especially one played by an overly skeptical Vincent Price. Though no one can deny the miracle water that flows from the Grotto where Mary was seen. When Bernadette is sent to a convent, the resentful Sister Vauzou is the final person to convince. Charles Bickford, Gladys Cooper, and Anne Revere were all nominated alongside Jones. The only other wins were for Best Art Direction, Cinematography, and Scoring. The Song of Bernadette is truly blessed.

The Song of Bernadette

Bernadette enters a convent as Sister Marie Bernarde

6 thoughts on “Mother Mary Comforts Me

  1. I had a very limited knowledge of Bernadette growing up, they didn’t speak of her much when I was in Catholic school. I just knew she saw the Virgin Mary and the spot Mary told her to go to became a sacred site. Along with Joan of Arc, Bernadette was a true model of piety, never diverting once from her faith, impressing even her stern Mother Superior. Even when she was dying, she was very stoic. A fine film about personal strength in belief, a must even for the non-religious.

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  2. I’m not a religious person, but I found the film deeply moving. And I love the opening words: “For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible.”

    Liked by 1 person

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