Portrait of Jennie Film Review
Producer: David O. Selznick, David Hempstead
Director: William Dieterle
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Drama
Running time: 1 hr 26 mins
Budget: $4,041,000 (approx)
Distributed by: Selznick Releasing Organisation
Mother Mary of Mercy
About the film
Eben Adams is a painter that in recent times has been struggling with his work. On one occasion when he is in Central Park he meets the young Jennie Appleton. She has come to retrieve a scarf which she has left in a newspaper. What is strange from this first encounter is the way she is dressed. The young Jennie is dressed in such a style of clothing which is old fashioned for the time. The film is set in 1938, but the newspaper the scarf is in is dated from the 1910's. What is also strange in this first instance is when she has finished talking to him, she dashes off. But when he turns to see where she has gone, she has disappeared.
This is a hauntingly beautifully made film where we find that Jennie isn't all she seems to be. She seems to grow up very quickly, much quicker than we normally do. But this doesn't stop Eben from having a fondness for her. He notices her beauty, and from that first encounter with her in Central Park, he sketches her. As she grows into a woman she does, indeed, become more beautiful and radiant. He asks if he can paint her, to which she accepts. As we see throughout this movie, the pair fall in love and seem to fill a void in both of their empty lives. But, things aren't all what they seem with Jennie, as we shall see towards the end of the film. Jennie agrees to sit for a portrait for Eben. This portrait, ultimately, is Ebens saving grace, but it does come at a cost. Throughout the film we see a lot of how Jennie enters Eben life and disappears as quickly as she appears.
When Jennie spots one of Ebens paintings, she tells him that it makes her sad. The painting is of a lighthouse on Cape Cod. She doesn't tell him why it makes her sad though. But he quickly moves the painting from her view without question. As Eben grows ever more attracted to Jennie, he decided to dig a little deeper into the life of Jennie, which takes him to a convent where Jennie was educated. He meets Mother Mary of Mercy, where he finds out some unexpected news about her.
I found this film to be a truly magnificent masterpiece. It has a slight gothic, haunting feel to it. But on the other side, it is ultimately a love story which includes hope, love and sadness. I love how they portrayed Jennie at the beginning of the film as a young girl, and we swiftly see her growing up in the film. Jennie isn't all what she seems, but one thing I do know, is that she ends up helping Eben in the end and making his life effectively better. The story was excellently well written and thought of. The film is based on the book by Robert Nathan that was published in 1940. The acting I found to be just perfect, especially from the 2 main people in the show, Joseph Cotten and Jennifer Jones. Would I recommend this film? Most definitely! This is a film I'm not going to forget in a hurry. Yes, it did make me cry, but also left me feeling I could really connect with the character of Eben Adams.
Best Effects, Special Effects
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
Venice Film Festival
Best Actor, Joseph Cotten
Best Actor, William Dieterle
Portrait of Jennie Trailer
© 2017 Louise Powles