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Edna May Oliver
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Dolores del Rio
Producer David O. Selznick initially considered filming this movie over a period of several years, casting a young actress in the role of Jennie and shooting portions of the film over time as the actress actually grew older in real life. (Shirley Temple, then under contract to Selznick, was reportedly intended for the role, had the movie been filmed that way.) In the end, however, Selznick abandoned the idea as too risky and difficult to film properly. See more »
When Jennie sings a song when they first meet, the sound and her mouth don't match. See more »
No credits at all are shown at the beginning except for the studio logo, not even the title of the film. Instead, we hear a narrator speaking the prologue, and then announcing, "And now, 'Portrait of Jennie'". The credits are saved for the end of the picture. See more »
First of all, it is beautifully photographed - at times it looks as though you are watching a portrait moving. The acting is all terrific - Joseph Cotten is perfect as a down-on-his-luck artist who begins by selling a print to Cecil Kellaway and Ethel Barrymore. They encourage him to draw people rather than the still life pictures he'd been doing. He eventually runs into Jennie in Central Park and she intrigues him, to say the least. She mentions places and times that have long passed and sings a song that he cannot forget. The next time he runs into her she's grown up a little, then every time they see one another she'd matured more and more. They normally see each other in Central Park but he does her portrait and its a masterpiece.
Movie is very unconventional for its time - there are no opening credits, the end credits are listed as "The actors are Jennifer Jones, etc., The Supporting Actors are Ethel Barrymore, etc."; a black woman is used as an actual character rather than some sort of domestic; and its not all wrapped up in a pretty bow at the end. It might seem wordy and silly to some, but I really loved it.
I've admired Jennifer Jones since seeing "The Song of Bernadette" as a kid. Aside from that movie and "Beat the Devil", unfortunately I haven't seen a lot of her movies that seemed up to her talent. In this, she is exceptionally good and its not just a showcase for her talents put on screen by David O. Selznick - in reality, she's in it far less than Cotten.
I understand the movie won an Oscar for the special effects, which are good but I didn't need them to love the movie. 9/10.
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