ARE YOU IN LOVE THIS WEEK? If you are - you'll get a double thrill from this most romantic of all love stories about a man who was in love with a girl who lived twenty years before his time. If you aren't - it may change your ideas on the subject for the rest of your life.
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 »
Although it is a story that no doubt stands on its own as a cinema classic, this film for sure reminded me of Somewhere In Time, which came along a generation later. Both stories dealt with men of artistic temperament with perhaps too vivid imagination, (Was it imagination, or something more?), that met extraordinary women out of their respective places and time. But, Portrait of Jennie is unique for several reasons. Joseph Cotten has never been given his due as one of the excellent actors of his generation and it is truly a pity that he and female lead Jennifer Jones as Jennie are not well known as one of screendoms great male/female screen teams. As always, it is not only the enchanting story that makes this film a classic, but just as important are the presence of the capable players. Players such as Ethel Barrymore, Cecil Kellaway and Lillian Gish are only a few of the many who appeared and made this a very unique and excellent film. In 1934 New York City, starving artist Eben Adams (Cotten) is having trouble selling his paintings. It seems there just isn't enough emotion in them. However, all of this changes when befriended by a pair of sympathetic art dealers (Kellaway and Barrymore), but more importantly, when he meets Jennie for the first time. Jennie appears to him first as a young girl, but promises to `grow up quickly.' Each succeeding time that Adams encounters her, she is older and the relationship deepens. Adams is disturbed by her comments and realizess that, if statements concerning her past and family are true, she should be perhaps 20 years older. In the meantime, Adams is inspired to begin a portrait of her, the `Portrait of Jennie.'
By film's end we have the final encounter between Adams, who has gone to great lengths to determine if Jennie's past is as she says it is, and Jennie on a rocky seashore during a violent storm. I will not divulge the ending. I'll say Adams survives the storm and, with new found emotion and compassion, becomes a highly successful artist. The very last scene shows the portrait, classified a masterpeiece, hanging in a museum. There are excellent location shots of 1940's New York City and it's various areas of interest. The Portait of Jennie, which we see in all it's glory at film's end, could well be a masterpiece in itself as a painting of the beautiful Jennifer Jones. As the saying goes, they don't make em like this anymore but, in this case, `they' don't have to. We have our Portrait of Jennie, a film which transcends time and has withstood the test of time very, very well.
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