123 user 52 critic

Portrait of Jennie (1948)

Approved | | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery | 22 April 1949 (USA)
A mysterious girl inspires a struggling artist.


William Dieterle


Robert Nathan (from the book by), Paul Osborn (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Jennifer Jones ... Jennie Appleton
Joseph Cotten ... Eben Adams
Ethel Barrymore ... Miss Spinney
Lillian Gish ... Mother Mary of Mercy
Cecil Kellaway ... Matthews
David Wayne ... Gus O'Toole
Albert Sharpe ... Moore
Henry Hull ... Eke
Florence Bates ... Mrs. Jekes (landlady)
Felix Bressart ... Pete
Clem Bevans ... Capt. Cobb
Maude Simmons 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


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.


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


A 17 year old Anne Francis (uncredited and overdubbed) appears in the final scene as one of the three teenage girls admiring the portrait. See more »


Whilst talking to Eke, Eben is standing on the left of the screen. After a close-up shot of Eke, Eben is on the right. See more »


Jennie Appleton: I know we were meant to be together. The strands of our lives are woven together and neither the world nor time can tear them apart.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film's opening has the usual Selznick mansion over which is "IN A TRADITION OF QUALITY". See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally, all television prints were completely in black-and-white, but by the 1980s the shot of the portrait at the very end was again shown in color. More recently, though, the greenish tint used in the storm scene (lasting about ten minutes) was also restored. Numerous sources, most notably "Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide," have stated that the final reel, save for that color shot, was green, but it was the storm sequence alone, regardless of where it falls on the reels. While the 1990 Fox Video VHS release returned to black-and-white for the two scenes between the storm sequence and the painting-shot, the version currently shown on Turner Classic Movies has them in sepia tint. Which accurately reflects the original theatrical prints is undetermined, but both have the end titles in sepia. See more »


Featured in Guest (2010) See more »


Arabesque No. 1 in E
Music by Claude Debussy
Adapted by Dimitri Tiomkin
Heard as background music and during closing credits
See more »

User Reviews

Old Father Time ,you 're out of time.
26 May 2007 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Dieterlé's film is magic itself.Borrowing from "Peter Ibbetson " (Hathaway,1935) ,from "the portrait of Dorian Gray" (Lewin ,1944,the final trick is the same)or from the "the Ghost and Mrs Muir" (Mankiewicz,1947) ,it succeeds in connecting all the links of the chain .Moreover,I'm almost sure that Richard Matheson saw this movie for its influence on his "bid time return" novel (transferred to the screen as "Somewhere in time" (1981) ) is obvious.

A painter down on his luck meets a strange girl.Her clothes are old-fashioned and she seems out of nowhere .Dieterlé marvelously creates an offbeat poetic atmosphere.Using urban landscapes,an ominous sky or the stairs in the lighthouse shrouded in a green light,he 's got an extraordinary sense of mystery.The cast is ideal:Jennifer Jones was par excellence the romantic heroine ("Duel in the sun" which was the first time she had played opposite Cotten,"Ruby Gentry" "Madame Bovary" "Love is a many -splendored thing" ) with an adequate timeless beauty,Joseph Cotten could play everything ,and Lilian Gish made a short but conspicuous appearance as Mother Superior.The Cotten/Jones meeting in the convent could have been mushy and disastrous with any lesser talent:Dieterlé makes it a moving scene ,intimate and grandiose all at once.

We all live with our past.Some of us would give everything to relive scenes of their past .Einstein told one day that time was the form of his powerlessness while space was the form of his power.Who knows if (and the lines which open the movie open any door) somewhere we are not living in our past,or in our future?

12 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 123 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »






Release Date:

22 April 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tidal Wave See more »


Box Office


$4,041,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (1956) (5.0) (L-R)| Mono (Western Electric Recording)


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

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed