Vincent Price, Aubrey Mather and Sig Ruman in Henry King's "The Song of Bernadette" (1943)

The Song of Bernadette (1943) Directed by Henry King. Vincent Price as Prosecutor Vital Dutour, Aubrey Mather as Mayor Lacade and Sig Ruman as Louis Bouriette.

Lacade: All France will be laughing at us. And Lourdes was going have a railroad connection. I’d even gone so far as to have the plans drawn up for the depot. Do you think they’ll be granting it to us now? Never! Who’s going to run a railroad into a hole where spooks perform their many evil antics in dirty caverns? We’re dealing with a whole lot more than the mere babbling of a little swindler or an imbecile. The entire future of this town is at stake. Something must be done to stop this nonsense immediately!
Bouriette: How?
Lacade: How? Well, that’s up to you and the prosecutor.
Dutour: As much as I’d like to put an end to this stupidity, gentlemen, I am helpless. The child goes peacefully to the outskirts of the city. There she kneels, says her Rosary and goes home again. Now, tell me, is there anything unlawful in that?
Lacade: Yes! On the ground that it’s, uh… insulting to religious sensibilities.
Dutour: Really?
Lacade: Well, you could hardly call seeing the Blessed Virgin in a veritable cesspool complimentary to the Holy Family.
Dutour: But, that’s just the point. She hasn’t claimed to see the Blessed Virgin. The crowd claims that.
Bouriette: She says she sees a lady – a beautiful lady. And the envisioning of a beautiful lady can hardly be construed as a violation of the criminal code.
Dutour: It better not be or else the entire male population of France will be spending most of its time behind bars.

8 Responses to “The Song of Bernadette (1943)”

  1. One of the best of all religious themed movies. I am not a devout Catholic, but my kids are being raised as Catholics, and my younger days had me revering this oft moving film. Jennifer Jones is radiant in her Oscar-winning role, and Vincent Price does very fine work as well.

    The film was recently announced for a blu-ray release on the excellent if a bit pricy ‘Twilight Time’ label. I have pre-ordered my own copy.

  2. I have to admit I’m not too hot on Bernadette, but then religiously inspired films are often an uphill climb for me because I’m going to hell. I even struggle to really connect with the great Dreyer and Bresson.

    Having said that, Bernadette slowly won me over, though it had as much to do with the terrific supporting cast of Price, Ruman, Cobb and others. Jones was fine, but it was by design mostly a one-note character and I’d have given the Oscar to Jean Arthur that year or maybe someone else. Not because Jones was bad, she did what she had to do, but for degree of difficulty.

    The whole thing was fairly unimpeachable, just not my cup of tea.

  3. My friend you will most assuredly be going in the opposite direction.

  4. …but then religiously inspired films are often an uphill climb for me because I’m going to hell.

    I’m driving the bus there, Craig.

    Never saw this one but I’ll have to check it out. I always loved Vincent Price. He’s so campy in a lot of his movies (and I always enjoy the campiness because he was awesome and I so often associate him with horror movies) but he could really pull off serious roles as well as comedy too.

  5. Speaking of religious themed movies, I’d like to add that Nino Moretti’s “Habemus Papum” would be quite the timely one to watch right now as 115 cardinals are presently gathered in Rome to select the new pontiff from among their own ranks. I am personally hoping that an African named Peter Turkson of Ghana is selected for a host of reasons, and don’t feel that given the spot to Angelo Scola or any other Italian in view of the recent scandals would be the right thing to relplace Benedict.

    But Moretti’s film is quite good.

    Alison, i suspect you will like ‘The Song of Bernadette’ to some degree.

  6. Haha. Express Bus to hell!

    Alison, Price is terrific in Bernadette. He’s not campy, but he’s the town cynic and he gets 90 percent of the best lines. Good stuff.

    Sam, it’s not my finest hour, but here’s my review of Habemus Papum

  7. Oh yes, Craig, I did read that and even placed a comment. It was a focused, economical piece that rightly gave the film more crdit than some critics did. It was though, a big favorite of the Cashirs du Cinema.

  8. A lot of critics really crapped on it. I was surprised. I mean obviously it wasn’t my favorite of the year, but it was interesting and kind of moving, and I say that as someone who has already admitted struggling with religiously themed movies.

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