Portrait of Jennie (1948)

Article #1032 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-11-2004
Posting Date: 6-9-2004
Directed by William Dieterle
Featuring Joseph Cotten, Jennifer Jones, Ethel Barrymore

A down-on-his-luck painter encounters a strange girl in a park with whom he falls in love. It turns out that she is actually a woman who died several years ago.

Generally, romantic fantasies of this ilk don’t really do much for me, but this one is so beautifully shot (I love the moody use of light and dark and the occasional visual look of a painting or woodcutting) and so well acted (both Jones and Barrymore are excellent, and Cotten does a fine job as well) that it wins me over. Furthermore, there are some familiar faces in the supporting cast with Cecil Kellaway, Henry Hull (though the lighting is so dark on him that I found it hard to recognize him) and an uncredited Lillian Gish as a nun. It also make good use of tinting (the hurricane sequence is all in green) and uses color photography in the final shot of the painting. Time-crossed lovers pop up occasionally in movies (BERKELEY SQUARE and SOMEWHERE IN TIME, for example), but this one is my favorite of that subgenre.


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