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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.
The quotation from Euripides during the opening narration - "Who knoweth if to die be but to live ... and that called life by mortals be but death ?" (also translated elsewhere as "Who knows but life be that which men call death and death what men call life?") - is from fragment 830 of Phrixus, a lost play. Aristophanes also used a similar statement in "The Frogs": "Who knows if death be life, and life be death, And breath be mutton broth, and sleep a sheepskin?" See Euripides in for example the 1905 edition of Bartlett's "Familiar Quotations". 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 »
There is no life, my darling, until you love and have been loved. And then there is no death.
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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 »
Prior to my review, 50 people have done theirs on this website and there isn't much I can add to the adjectives they have used, such as "beautiful,"" "haunting," "underrated," etc.
"Portrait Of Jennie" continues to be my all-time favorite romance story, probably because it features time travel, which I usually find fascinating, and two of my most-liked classic actors: Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten.
Once you get past that beginning narration consisting of stupid New Age mumbo-jumbo, the film is pure charm and who better to exhibit that than Jones? Few women ever looked more wholesome, sounded sweeter and looked more beautiful than this actress, who really projected innocence as she showed in her Academy Award winning debut in "The Song Of Bernadette" earlier in the decade.
Cotten is a good match for her in this film. An underrated star, he had a great voice and magnetism of his own.
However, the more I watch this film the more I am fascinated with Ethel Barrymore, who plays the kindly, spinster art museum owner. She has an extremely knowledgeable countenance and delivery of speech. Cecil Kellaway plays her art museum partner and rounds out this very likable cast.. The are no "bad guys" in this film......just good people.
The mystical time-space quality in this romance, something akin to 1980''s "Somewhere In Time," fascinates throughout and special effects are pretty darn good, too, considering when it was made.
For me, as with others, this movie was a haunting one: a film that moves me each time I see it. I have viewed perhaps 10,000 films in my 60 years and this one still ranks in the Top Ten.
Thanks to it being available on DVD - and at a cheap price - more and more people are discovering this gem. This is one of those classic movies that would still appeal to younger people today.....at least, I hope I would.
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