Current Love: Jennifer Jones
How did the eminent awesome escape me until now?
Last week's impromptu viewing of the awe-inspiring Song of Bernadette moved me profoundly. The appeal of the film is in the sincerity of its story and the myriad levels on which it can be meaningful, but its beauty is that even a superficial appraisal cannot find fault with the performance, the presence, of Miss Jones, nor can it contest the clarity with which she channels the trusting piety of the young, uneducated peasant girl in rural nineteenth-century France. Void of any of the telltale mannerisms of then-contemporary studio actresses that threaten to date a decades-old drama or hinder its impact, Jones so convincingly becomes 14-year-old Bernadette that it is just that, a becoming. To see Jennifer accepting her Best Actress Academy Award for the role in 1944 - on the eve of her 25th birthday, no less - is to be stunned that any aspect of her could be removed from the humble and unassuming, unlearned and makeup-less teenager she so artfully revived, and immortalized, on the silver screen.
Henry as The Great Emancipator, Gary as Gehrig, and a young Oklahoman actress with limited stage experience and only 3 bit parts in films on her resume playing, being, the loved and lauded French peasant who became a saint? Only in Hollywood, mes chers. Only in Hollywood.