In 1858 France, Bernadette, an adolescent peasant girl, has a vision of "a beautiful lady" in the city dump. She never claims it to be anything other than this, but the townspeople all ... See full summary »
While husband Tim is away during World War II, Anne Hilton copes with problems on the homefront. Taking in a lodger, Colonel Smollett, to help make ends meet and dealing with shortages and ... See full summary »
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 »
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 »
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?