Portrait of Jennie ( 1948 )

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.

                 PORTRAIT OF JENNIE       ( 9. ) JENNIE

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.

  ( 1. ) JENNIE   ( 5. ) JENNIE   ( 11. ) JENNIE

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.

             ( 10. ) ETHEL BARRYMORE           ( 6. ) JENNIE

Lillian Gish, Henry Hull, Cecil Kellaway, Albert Sharpe, David Wayne….all so perfect.

         ( 13. ) LILLIAN GISH   ( 7, ) JENNIE


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.

    ( 2. ) JENNIE    ( 3. ) JENNIE

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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