I love the classic film era of Hollywood and I love many actresses from the classic film era of Hollywood. But there are only two who touch my heart: Ingrid Bergman and Jennifer Jones.
How can I explain this to you rationally? If you are a fan, I don’t have to. If you’re not her fan, you won’t understand. This September, TCM features JENNIFER JONES as their Star of the Month.
March 2nd, 1919 ~ December 17th, 2009
For me, Jennifer Jones has a different temperament in each performance. There are no walls to scale and layers to break through. You don’t have to storm the Bastille. Her emotions and sensuality are at the surface. Her underlying essence is warmth, friendliness, vulnerability. And as I feel about Bergman ( …and yes, “Wonder Woman” too ) I want to protect her characters.
Two friends’ whose essays I’ve been lucky enough to feature in my blog ( and a third who’ll I’ll cite below ) have these thoughts on actress Jennifer Jones:
“She is also one of my favorite stars and she starred in my (top 1) favorite all-time film: the haunting, bewitching, magical ‘Portrait of Jennie’ (1948). She was a hard-worker and achieved very fine moments on screen and many of her films are part of my imagery: the awesome dance sequence of ‘Madame Bovary’ (1949); the unforgettable death scene in ‘Duel in the Sun’ (1946); the equally climatic scene in ‘Ruby Gentry’ (1952); the spinterish teacher recalling her life in ‘Good Morning Miss Dove’ (1955); the young amnesiac woman who tries to remember in ‘Love Letters’ (1945); the woman desperately in love in an adulterous liaison in the unjutsly underrated ‘Stazione Termini’ (1954) and many more.” ~ Fernando Silva ( Fernando’s Corner )
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“For me, the key to her appeal lies in her childlike way of making everything seem new. I especially like her in the ghostly romances ‘Portrait of Jennie’ and ‘Love Letters’, but enjoy her very much in ‘Song of Bernadette’ and ‘Since You Went Away’ (in which she breaks my heart). Her ‘Madame Bovary’ is wonderful, because we understand exactly where Emma is coming from. She is selfish and vain, but she wants more from life, and who of us doesn’t? And who of us could really stand to be married to Van Heflin. 😀
I really see the connection between Jones and Bergman. At their best, they are both carried by pure emotion…there is something exciting about a woman who can be so taken by a particular mood or feeling. I think the two share an ability to express many fleeting emotions at the same time. With Jennifer, I think she is at her best when she is caught between conflicting thoughts or feelings…her struggle is always fascinating to watch as it plays over her face.” ~ Wendy Merckel
She’s no volcano like Bette Davis, nor is she flinty like Stanwyck or edgy like Constance Bennett. The core strength in Jennifer Jones is her belief in her characters’ own emotions and willingness to live in these emotions or face the consequences of those emotions. I’ll give you a small list of what I think gives you a sense of the different temperament or emotional registers she exhibits.
“Portrait of Jennie” ( 1948 ) Dir. William Dieterle ~ Otherworldly, ethereal.
“Duel In the Sun” ( 1946 ) Dir. King Vidor ~ Carnal, lustful.
“Cluny Brown” ( 1945 ) Dir. Ernst Lubitsch ~ Comical. Has her own ingenuous logic.
“The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit” ( 1956 ) Dir. Nunnally Johnson ~ Suburban, normal, average. Tamps her sensuality waaaay down. But it’s still there.
“Since You Went Away” ( 1944 ) Dir. John Cromwell ~ The glorious, painful emotional stirrings of first love.
“Love Is A Many Splendored Thing” ( 1955 ) Dir. Henry King ~ Modesty.
“Madame Bovary” ( 1949 ) Dir. Vincente Minnelli ~ Foolish, vanity. Jumps head first into love’s open manhole.
Click on the photos below to see a couple of essays I’ve lassoed that speak on Jones’ work. I’ve also included a great article from the Self~Styled Siren, AND some CANDIDS from our ol’ Silver Screen Oasis Message Board guru MONGO ( aka Joe Buonocore ). All the photos on THAT page were shared by Mongo to our merry little group.
There are any number of sources you can seek to find out about Jennifer Jones’ troubled private life. TCM is giving us another chance to explore a stars’ film work. I find her ravishingly beautiful, and very under~rated. Now I am preaching to the choir with my post here. But if you’re interested in being converted, well…what are YOU doing every Tuesday night this month?
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“Olivier admired Jones as well, later in life comparing her to Meryl Streep.” ~ The Self Styled Siren
This is pictorial of many of the Candid shots shared by MONGO to members over at the Silver Screen Oasis Message Boards. Pictures are worth a thousand words. Thanx Mongo.
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TCM STAR OF THE MONTH SCHEDULE
September 5th, 2017
8:00pm “Song of Bernadette”
11:00pm “Love Letters”
1:00am “Cluny Brown”
3:00am “Duel In The Sun”
5:30am “Since You Went Away”
September 12th, 2017
8:00pm “Portrait of Jennie”
9:45pm “We Were Strangers”
11:45pm “Madame Bovary”
2:00am “Ruby Gentry”
3:45am “Beat The Devil”
September 19th, 2017
8:00pm “Good Morning Miss Dove”
10:00pm “Love Is A Many Splendored Thing”
12:00am “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit”
2:45am “Indiscretion of An American Wife”
September 26th, 2017
8:00pm “The Barretts of Wimpole Street”
10:00pm “A Farewell to Arms”
12:45am “Tender Is The Night”
[ H O M E ]