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"Portrait of Jennie" A Fantasy Romance that was such a gem to discover! - Movie Review

Portrait of Jennie Joseph Cotten Jennifer Jones David O. Selznick Movie Review

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#1 TopBilled

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 10:40 AM

I got the Joseph Cotten autobiography! I'll definitely be reviewing "Love Letters" next month! It will be a nice breath of air after all these horrors muahaha

Good, Ian. I look forward to your impressions about it.


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#2 IanPatrickMovieReviews

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 09:10 PM

Just wanted to mention that LOVE LETTERS (1945), a romance drama with more than a passing resemblance to PORTRAIT OF JENNIE because of its themes and lead actors, will be airing on TCM in January.

 

For more, visit the TCM database page:

 

http://www.tcm.com/t...8/Love-Letters/

I got the Joseph Cotten autobiography! I'll definitely be reviewing "Love Letters" next month! It will be a nice breath of air after all these horrors muahaha


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#3 TopBilled

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 11:25 AM

Just wanted to mention that LOVE LETTERS (1945), a romance drama with more than a passing resemblance to PORTRAIT OF JENNIE because of its themes and lead actors, will be airing on TCM in January.

 

For more, visit the TCM database page:

 

http://www.tcm.com/t...8/Love-Letters/


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#4 film lover 293

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 03:36 PM

I forgot to mention last night--your comparison between "Portrait of Jennie" & "Vertigo" totally came out of left field--I didn't think to compare the two before--& your comparison was valid.  Kudos on catching something I missed--I thought I mentioned it in last nights' post, but I didn't--so I'll mention it now.  Good job.


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#5 IanPatrickMovieReviews

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 03:13 PM

Hello again, IanPatrickMovieReviews--I saw "Portrait of Jennie" (1948) on the CBS Late Movie in the 1970's.  You've grown & improved as a reviewer.  Some things TopBilled didn't mention:

 

1.  Good job catching the changes in Jennifer Jones' voice as she grew older. 

 

2.  Very good job spotting scenes that look like they're based on a painting.

 

  Two criticisms:

 

I agree with TopBilled that you need specific examples why "Portrait of Jennie" is not a four star film.

 

I also agree that you don't tell the viewer she's a ghost--let the viewer make their own interpretation--let he/she decide if she's a ghost/spirit/vision, etc.

 

 

Good job--your review of "The Terror" was #20?  This review was #9?  You are improving quickly!  Good job!  Will check out your other reviews tomorrow--Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde will be on within the hour. :)

Sometimes it is difficult to give a "specific" reason why the film only got 4 stars. You must remember that 4 stars is a PERFECT movie. I think I mentioned that it's not perfect because at times it felt a bit crammed together...also because comparing it to a truly perfect movie (in a similar genre) such as "Vertigo," you realize that the movie does not deserve the full 4 stars. "Portrait of Jennie" came very close to getting 4 stars, but as I said it did have little flaws.


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#6 film lover 293

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 10:52 PM

Hello again, IanPatrickMovieReviews--I saw "Portrait of Jennie" (1948) on the CBS Late Movie in the 1970's.  You've grown & improved as a reviewer.  Some things TopBilled didn't mention:

 

1.  Good job catching the changes in Jennifer Jones' voice as she grew older. 

 

2.  Very good job spotting scenes that look like they're based on a painting.

 

  Two criticisms:

 

I agree with TopBilled that you need specific examples why "Portrait of Jennie" is not a four star film.

 

I also agree that you don't tell the viewer she's a ghost--let the viewer make their own interpretation--let he/she decide if she's a ghost/spirit/vision, etc.

 

 

Good job--your review of "The Terror" was #20?  This review was #9?  You are improving quickly!  Good job!  Will check out your other reviews tomorrow--Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde will be on within the hour. :)

 

 


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#7 TopBilled

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 01:15 PM

I can totally see where you are coming from with that! I guess "ghost" may not be the right word for Jennie..."spirit" is probably best. But the way that Ethel Barrymore looked at him, and how she talked about him being the type of man she would have loved in her past days...hints to your theory. Also, how she looked after him...MAYBE he was just losing his mind the entire movie and secretly in love with Ethel haha. I remember at one point I literally thought during it, "wait a second, is Jennie actually Ethel Barrymore?" I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought this!

Exactly. In a way, I am glad the film has a shorter running time than Selznick originally intended. Instead of it being epic like GONE WITH THE WIND, we have this very poignant character study that is presented in ways that lead us to wonder and ask what's really going on between Cotten and Barrymore, and of course between Cotten and Jones, whatever Jennie is meant to represent. It's a beautiful and haunting film.

 

I can't wait to hear what you have to say about LOVE LETTERS, because it also has some very ambiguous shadings (script by Ayn Rand).


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#8 IanPatrickMovieReviews

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 12:07 AM

I can totally see where you are coming from with that! I guess "ghost" may not be the right word for Jennie..."spirit" is probably best. But the way that Ethel Barrymore looked at him, and how she talked about him being the type of man she would have loved in her past days...hints to your theory. Also, how she looked after him...MAYBE he was just losing his mind the entire movie and secretly in love with Ethel haha. I remember at one point I literally thought during it, "wait a second, is Jennie actually Ethel Barrymore?" I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought this!


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#9 TopBilled

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 10:19 PM

Hey TopBilled!

I appreciate the suggestions a lot. Well, I said that she was a ghost because it is pretty obvious that she is from the start and crucial to explaining the story. Also, my reviews are not designed to give too much history behind the movie (I'm not a film historian or even a film major in school). There was a lot of information I read about the movie in Selznick's book, but that's just not what I'm looking to do in my reviews. I provide a little bit of background of course but nothing too deep. My reviews are mainly for fun for myself to talk about the things I noticed/liked/disliked with a little bit of background on the movies...nothing too deep like I said. On the other hand, if people like you know a lot more of the history about these movies than I do, I love seeing what you have to say here on the forum. That's one of the major reasons I'm posting my reviews here...to learn more!

 

Also, thanks for the recommendation! I should check "Love Letters" out.

You're welcome. I think PORTRAIT OF JENNIE can be read several ways. I actually don't consider her a ghost, though I can see where people would regard her that way. I see her as a representation of Ethel Barrymore's character when she was younger. The romance is actually between an old woman and this young painter who is tapping into a living part of her past.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#10 IanPatrickMovieReviews

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 09:10 PM

Hey TopBilled!

I appreciate the suggestions a lot. Well, I said that she was a ghost because it is pretty obvious that she is from the start and crucial to explaining the story. Also, my reviews are not designed to give too much history behind the movie (I'm not a film historian or even a film major in school). There was a lot of information I read about the movie in Selznick's book, but that's just not what I'm looking to do in my reviews. I provide a little bit of background of course but nothing too deep. My reviews are mainly for fun for myself to talk about the things I noticed/liked/disliked with a little bit of background on the movies...nothing too deep like I said. On the other hand, if people like you know a lot more of the history about these movies than I do, I love seeing what you have to say here on the forum. That's one of the major reasons I'm posting my reviews here...to learn more!

 

Also, thanks for the recommendation! I should check "Love Letters" out.



#11 TopBilled

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 07:44 PM

Ian,

 

I just finished watching your review. Some comments/suggestions--

 

First, I don't think you should tell your viewers she's a ghost. For people who haven't seen the film yet, that's a major spoiler. 

 

Also, I think you need to be more specific about why you felt it does not earn 4 stars. You need examples about what doesn't fully work for you. I have a feeling that it was originally much longer and Selznick was forced to abandon some of the sequences, or else excise some of the sequences due to cost overruns and production code/censorship issues.  Probably Cotten remaining alive at the end was imposed on them by the production code office.

 

I do like your inclusion of the book on Selznick and where you showed the picture of Jennie.

 

I would add that you could also have talked about earlier collaborations between Jones & Cotten (both were under contract to Selznick). I believe they made four films together and PORTRAIT OF JENNIE was the last of those. 

 

Finally, I think you need to watch/review LOVE LETTERS (1945), which these two stars made a few years prior, because it is very much a movie 'sibling' or close 'cousin' to JENNIE.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#12 IanPatrickMovieReviews

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 02:04 PM

Every so often, I find a movie that really inspires me to continue watching classics; Portrait of Jennie is definitely one of those! It definitely has all that movie magic that we all love here on this website.

My review on it is below, please subscribe to me on YouTube if you're enjoying these! I know that our opinions will not always be the same, but I see my YouTube channel as a personal diary. No one is every truly "right" about judging how good a movie is, but it is nice to have discussions on them!

 

The review: 

 

 

Thanks for all the feedback!

~ Ian Patrick ~

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Portrait of Jennie, Joseph Cotten, Jennifer Jones, David O. Selznick, Movie Review

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