Portrait of Jennie (1948)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance, Fantasy  |  22 April 1949 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,548 users  
Reviews: 114 user | 41 critic

A mysterious girl inspires a struggling artist.



(novel), (adaptation), 4 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Miss Spinney
Mother Mary of Mercy
Gus O'Toole
Albert Sharpe ...
Florence Bates ...
Mrs. Jekes (landlady)
Felix Bressart ...
Capt. Cobb
Maude Simmons ...
Clara Morgan


Eben Adams is a talented but struggling artist in Depression era New York who has never been able to find inspiration for a painting. One day, after he finally finds someone to buy a painting from him, a pretty but odd young girl named Jennie Appleton appears and strikes up an unusual friendship with Eben. Written by Albert Sanchez Moreno (a.moreno@mindspring.com) with correction by John Knoderer (GodLovesEveryone.org@mazes.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 April 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tidal Wave  »

Box Office


$4,041,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(1956) (5.0) (L-R)


(green tint and sepia tone for final reel, excluding last shot)| (Technicolor) (final shot)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Bernard Herrmann was hired to write an original background score and did compose several themes but due to various production delays as well as the fact that Herrmann was tiring of David O. Selznick's demands, he dropped out and was replaced by Dimitri Tiomkin who, at the insistence of Selznick, ended up using themes by Claude Debussy. At the time Tiomkin was condemned by his colleagues for his adaptations. All that remains of Herrmann's contribution is the haunting song sung by Jennie entitled "Where I Come From, Nobody Knows". See more »


During the scene where Eben first meets Jennie in the park, the snow on the front of her coat comes and goes. See more »


Jennie Appleton: I wish that you would wait for me to grow up so that we could always be together.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »


Features The Whoopee Party (1932) See more »


The Girl With The Flaxen Hair
Music by Claude Debussy
Played often as background music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A surprisingly simple and wonderful gift!
25 December 1999 | by (Texas) – See all my reviews

Years ago, during Christmas season, "It's A Wonderful Life" (1946) made a huge difference in an otherwise humbug seasonal experience, one all too typical for me. Today, Christmas 1999, "Portrait of Jennie" (1948) gave me the same renewal of spirit and belief in transcendant human values. Similar themes and techniques underlay both films. Hopelessness and a search for meaning and redemption is met in each by a mystical and transforming experience. Black and white photography artfully supports and enhances the plot, especially in "Portrait of Jeannie". Transcendence of monetary woes is another common thread. Unlike the Jimmy Stewart character in "It's A Wonderful Life", Joseph Cotton's struggling artist is doing what he wants to do, not lost in regrets over missed opportunities. Still he is lost, alone and unsatisfied. He finds his salvation in his work, when inspired by a ghostly acquaintance (Jennifer Jones). While there is a nod to traditional religion, the underlying theme of "I believe, if you believe" outweighs any mixed messages. The film unfolds steadily and predictably, but ultimately gives the gifts of hope and joy to any viewer. In my case I would add: despite the viewers original mood. Films like these don't come along too often. Without an ounce of traditional Christmas symbolism this film should be another holiday classic. The transition from humbug to hope is a classic holiday story and gift! As a perennial grouch at Christmas, I am surprised to find another one like it again. Just last night I said humbug to watching "It's a Wonderful Life Again." There must have been something in those post-war years when hope and optimism came rushing back filling the screen, replacing the fear and despair felt by so many. Whatever, give yourself a gift and watch this movie sometime, then pass it along. I'm glad I did!

28 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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eeeeewwwww! stevezodiacxl5
A question for Americans. walkinginrain
Miss Spinney = Jennie? AndiB1986
I really enjoyed this movie, any suggestion ? antiquegirl12
I can't stop watching this movie... fsilva
Reminds me of Vertigo Hayes230
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