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Portrait of Jennie [DVD] [1948]

  • SKU: 33437583
  • Release Date: 10/24/2017
  • Rating: NR

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    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (2 out of 2)

    Special Features

    • Audio commentary by film historian Troy Howarth
    • Trailer gallery


    Portrait of Jennie
    In Portrait of Jennie, Joseph Cotten plays an artist, Eben Adams, who is unable to bring any true feeling to his work. While painting in Central Park one morning, Eben makes the acquaintance of a schoolgirl named Jennie (Jennifer Jones), who prattles on about things that happened years ago. Intrigued at her thorough knowledge of the past, Eben is about to converse with her further, but Jennie has vanished. Over the next few months, Eben meets Jennie again and again -- and each time she seems to have aged by several years. He paints her portrait, which turns out to be more full of expression and emotion than anything he's previously done. His curiosity peaked by Jennie's enigmatic nature, Eben uncovers evidence that he has been conversing -- and falling in love -- with the ghost of a girl who died years earlier in a hurricane. On the eve of the hurricane's anniversary, Eben rushes to meet Jennie at the site where she was supposedly killed. As a new storm rages, Jennie vanishes for good, but not before declaring that the love she and Eben have shared will live forever. Rescued from the storm, Eben convinces himself that Jennie was a mere figment of his imagination. Then he notices that he stills clutches her scarf in his hand. He looks at his portrait of Jennie (the only Technicolor shot in this otherwise black-and-white film) and understands what she meant when she said that their love would endure throughout eternity; it will do so through Cotten's art, both the portrait at hand and all future portraits. Based on the novel by Robert Nathan, Portrait of Jennie is one of the most beautifully assembled fantasies ever presented onscreen. Producer David O. Selznick's unerring eye for "rightness" enabled him to select the perfect stars, supporting cast (Lillian Gish, Ethel Barrymore, David Wayne, Cecil Kellaway, et al.), director, cinematographer (Joseph August), and composer (Dimitri Tiomkin, who based his themes on the works of Debussy), and blend everything into one ideally balanced package. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Joseph Cotten
      Joseph Cotten - Eben Adams
    • Jennifer Jones
      Jennifer Jones - Jennie Appleton
    • Ethel Barrymore
      Ethel Barrymore - Miss Spinney
    • David Wayne
      David Wayne - Gus O'Toole
    • Lillian Gish
      Lillian Gish - Mother Mary of Mercy

    Customer rating

    Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars with 2 reviews

    would recommend to a friend

    Most relevant reviews

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    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      A haunting romance across time


      Jennifer Jones (The Song of Bernadette) and Joseph Cotten star in Portrait of Jennie, a 1948 film that revolved around a painter's obsession with a beautiful, mysterious girl who seems to live more in the past than the present. Eben Adams (Cotten) is a washed-up painter on hard times and lacks inspiration until he meets Jennie (Jones) in a New York park. Jennie has an unusual way of speaking about past events as though they are current (referring to Germany's kaiser, and to theaters that had been demolished). Her fresh-faced beauty appeals to Adams, and Jennie makes the wish that he wait for her to grow up so that they can be together. Jennie's sporadic appearances allow time for Eben to work on other commissions, and to research Jennie more carefully by interviewing people who had worked with her parents (famous high-wire circus performers). Inevitably, dark truths are uncovered that disturb Eben's "painting-perfect" romance with the soft-spoken, beautiful Jennie. His portrait of her is a testament to his love and brings him artistic fame. Eben is also introduced to Miss Spinney (Ethel Barrymore), a headstrong old maid who deals in paintings and who wants to see Eben produce something more spiritual. Other notable names include Lillian Gish as Mother Mary of Mercy, Cecil Kellaway as Matthews, and a young Nancy Davis Reagan in the art gallery. Joseph Cotten is an engaging narrator, and his growing dependence on Jennie and his depression over Jennie's long absences is utterly believable (if a bit melodramatic). Jennifer Jones has more to work with here than in her first Oscar-winning role as Bernadette, although seeing a well-proportioned twentysomething trying to portray prepubescent innocence was a little bit creepy (see: Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz). Her character ages rapidly both physically and psychologically, so Jones was able to display a range of emotions, from a childhood crush to deeper musings on the nature of love and faith. Some of the secondary characters suffer from disappearing Irish accents; others shamelessly (sometimes woodenly) overact. The film follows several conventions of its time, and appears dated. The "special effects" are pretty standard; several scale models are used and a green tint is used for the final scenes. There are some beautifully dreamy shots of New York City, and the fabulous effect of having shots appear as though they were painted on canvas. The DVD transfer features some artifacts and print flaws. There are no extras to speak of. However, fans of time-travel romances The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Somewhere in Time will enjoy Portrait of Jennie, although the strongest film of this genre is undoubtedly The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Despite its shortcomings, Portrait of Jennie is a pretty decent love story.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Can it get any better!!


      Jones & Cotton; a dynamic duo. I just love the old classics!!!

      I would recommend this to a friend

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