FERNANDO’S CORNER: Posted on January 25th, 2015
On Saturday afternoon I watched for the nth time my favorite movie of all time “Portrait of Jennie” ( 1948 ) and even though I almost know the plot by heart, the story moved me all over again, like if watching it for the very first time.
It may have some very minor ( for me ) flaws, but in terms of sentiment, it “speaks to me” much more than any other film I have ever seen or that I will see in the future. In my opinion, the experience of the 7th art – as it is called – is completely personal and has more to do with one’s feelings than with our rationality. I truly need to watch this film from time to time.
Joseph Cotten is the perfect Eben Adams. Jennifer Jones’ two best films IMO ( this one and “Love Letters” ) were filmed with her and Cotten in the leading roles.
Both of these films are haunting stories. And the ensemble cast…I am always trying to discover new little things concerning Ms. Spinney ( a glorious Ethel Barrymore ) – such a mysterious and endearing character.
Lillian Gish, Henry Hull, Cecil Kellaway, Albert Sharpe, David Wayne….all so perfect.
Now, my friend Theresa mentioned to me Maude Simmons’ portrayal as the lady who knew Jennie when she was a young girl back in the ‘teens and it was uncanny, because this time I watched her performance in much more detail and, as Theresa said, Simmons is so dignified and endearing in a rather small but relevant role. This film has so many wonderful vignettes.
The picture’s cinematography is truly awesome and sometimes its shots really remind me of a masterful silent film; the sequence in the lighthouse with the spiral staircase anticipated, in a way ( in my opinion ) what Hitchchock did in the crucial scene in “Vertigo”. I wonder how amazing it would be to see this masterpiece on a big screen, due to its superb cinematography and mise-en-scene.
All in all, “Portrait of Jennie” demonstrates that until one falls in love deeply with somebody, one hasn’t really lived.
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