TopBilled

Jennifer Jones romance dramas

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Since Jennifer Jones is going to be the Star of the Month in September, I think my theme in the Essentials forum that month will be Romance dramas starring Jennifer Jones. Previously I reviewed LOVE LETTERS. But this will give me a chance to cover four of her other films/performances.

 

Borrowing the list Barton made, which four titles are worth discussing more in-depth (preferably one for each week)..?

 

​September 5

​THE SONG OF BERNADETTE ('43) with Charles Bickford

LOVE LETTERS ('45) with Joseph Cotten

​CLUNY BROWN ('46) with Charles Boyer

DUEL IN THE SUN ('47) with Gregory Peck

​SINCE YOU WENT AWAY ('44) with Claudette Colbert

 

​September 12

​PORTRAIT OF JENNIE ('48) with Joseph Cotten

​WE WERE STRANGERS ('49) with John Garfield

MADAME BOVARY ('49) with Van Heflin

​RUBY GENTRY ('52) with Charlton Heston

BEAT THE DEVIL ('53) with Humphrey Bogart

 

​September 19

​GOOD MORNING, MISS DOVE ('55) with Robert Stack

​LOVE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING ('55) with William Holden

THE MAN IN THE GRAY FLANNEL SUIT ('56) with Gregory Peck

​INDISCRETION OF AN AMERICAN WIFE ('54) with Montgomery Clift

 

​September 26

​THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET ('57) with John Gielgud

A FAREWELL TO ARMS ('57) with Rock Hudson

​TENDER IS THE NIGHT ('62) with Jason Robards

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Love Letters

 

Portrait of Jennie

 

The third week is a tough choice. Love is a Many-Splendored Thing is one of her biggest hits, but Indiscretion of an American Wife is a personal favorite.

 

I haven't seen the first or third films on the fourth week, but Farewell to Arms was a big release. I can't say I was too crazy about it, though. 

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Love Letters

 

Portrait of Jennie

 

The third week is a tough choice. Love is a Many-Splendored Thing is one of her biggest hits, but Indiscretion of an American Wife is a personal favorite.

 

I haven't seen the first or third films on the fourth week, but Farewell to Arms was a big release. I can't say I was too crazy about it, though. 

 

Thanks for the suggestions Larry. PORTRAIT OF JENNIE and LOVE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING are definitely worth greater discussion. I can save INDISCRETION OF AN AMERICAN WIFE for a later theme. 

 

I'm not too crazy about A FAREWELL TO ARMS either. Since I've already reviewed LOVE LETTERS, I might just republish it, unless I can think of a new angle. 

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Thanks for the suggestions Larry. PORTRAIT OF JENNIE and LOVE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING are definitely worth greater discussion. I can save INDISCRETION OF AN AMERICAN WIFE for a later theme. 

 

I'm not too crazy about A FAREWELL TO ARMS either. Since I've already reviewed LOVE LETTERS, I might just republish it, unless I can think of a new angle. 

I would love to see the unedited version of "Indiscretion of An American Wife", which is longer and titled "Terminal Station".

 

Jennifer Jones is barely adequate in the cut version.

 

Montgomery Clift fares much better.

 

I liked De Sica's use of Richard Beymer.

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I would love to see the unedited version of "Indiscretion of An American Wife", which is longer and titled "Terminal Station".

 

Jennifer Jones is barely adequate in the cut version.

 

Montgomery Clift fares much better.

 

I liked De Sica's use of Richard Beymer.

 

I don't think I've ever seen the longer version of INDISCRETION OF AN AMERICAN WIFE. Not sure if TCM's ever broadcast it.

 

The film seems rather derivative of (inspired by?) BRIEF ENCOUNTER.

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TopBilled, If you're going for romance and skipping LOVE LETTERS, I suggest:  DUEL IN THE SUN, MADAME BOVARY, LOVE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING and THE BARRETS OF WIMPOLE STREET.

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TopBilled, If you're going for romance and skipping LOVE LETTERS, I suggest:  DUEL IN THE SUN, MADAME BOVARY, LOVE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING and THE BARRETS OF WIMPOLE STREET.

 

Thanks. Yes, I'm leaning towards BARRETTS on the fourth week. I am not opposed to covering LOVE LETTERS again, if I can approach it from a fresh angle and say something new. I think PORTRAIT OF JENNIE is definitely an essential, and it kind of has an edge over MADAME BOVARY (though I like both pictures very much). LOVE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING is something I've been wanting to cover.

 

So this is my tentative lineup (unless things change):

 

LOVE LETTERS (repeat)

PORTRAIT OF JENNIE

LOVE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING

THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET

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"Madame Bovary" - according to Ben Mankiewcicz, "Madame Bovary" was a major financial dissappointment for its' home studio - and, yet, it is beautifully directed by Vincente Minnelli in the already time-honored MGM tradition - Jennifer Jones, whom I don't particularly care for, gives a very brave performance - she's a totally "cracked" personality and Jones plays the woman that way - she does nothing to make you "like" her - in fact, you cannot like Emma Bovary - nothing matters to her except her daydreams of a better life - when she dies at the end from self-inflicted arsenic poisoning, you can only feel sorry for her husband and little girl - perhaps if MGM could've gotten a more "sympathetic" Emma Bovary, the film would've done better at the box office - but MGM 's original choice of Lana Turner would have been a disaster - 

 

Concerning "Portrait of Jennie", Jennifer Jones is totally unbelievable as a young girl - why are mature actresses drawn to playing teen-age girls? - and she is more convincing as the older Jennie - although there is something "off" about Jones as a screen personality - from what I've read, her husband would not accept the box-office failure of the film and, so, he took it out of circulation - he brought in a huge, monumental storm - in color - and then re-released it and still the film did not succeed at the box-office - if only he had hired a child actress who could be aged convincingly - his love of Jones blinded him as to her limitations.

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"Madame Bovary" - according to Ben Mankiewcicz, "Madame Bovary" was a major financial dissappointment for its' home studio - and, yet, it is beautifully directed by Vincente Minnelli in the already time-honored MGM tradition - Jennifer Jones, whom I don't particularly care for, gives a very brave performance - she's a totally "cracked" personality and Jones plays the woman that way - she does nothing to make you "like" her - in fact, you cannot like Emma Bovary - nothing matters to her except her daydreams of a better life - when she dies at the end from self-inflicted arsenic poisoning, you can only feel sorry for her husband and little girl - perhaps if MGM could've gotten a more "sympathetic" Emma Bovary, the film would've done better at the box office - but MGM 's original choice of Lana Turner would have been a disaster - 

 

Concerning "Portrait of Jennie", Jennifer Jones is totally unbelievable as a young girl - why are mature actresses drawn to playing teen-age girls? - and she is more convincing as the older Jennie - although there is something "off" about Jones as a screen personality - from what I've read, her husband would not accept the box-office failure of the film and, so, he took it out of circulation - he brought in a huge, monumental storm - in color - and then re-released it and still the film did not succeed at the box-office - if only he had hired a child actress who could be aged convincingly - his love of Jones blinded him as to her limitations.

 

With regards to 'why are mature actresses drawn to player teen-age girls';    during the studio-era actors rarely had to power to determine their roles.   But Jones was unique in that she wasn't under contract with any one studio and Sleznick was making the decisions as it relates to her career.       Material was selected that Sleznick felt was suitable for Jones.     So 'if only he had hired a child actress' doesn't apply here.    I.e. he didn't pick source material and then the actors to file the roles.     Therefor the question is; why did Sleznick select 'Jennie' as a role for Jones?  

 

This from Wiki:  The book on which the film was based first attracted the attention of David O. Selznick, who immediately purchased it as a vehicle for Academy Award winner Jennifer Jones.

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With regards to 'why are mature actresses drawn to player teen-age girls';    during the studio-era actors rarely had to power to determine their roles.   But Jones was unique in that she wasn't under contract with any one studio and Sleznick was making the decisions as it relates to her career.       Material was selected that Sleznick felt was suitable for Jones.     So 'if only he had hired a child actress' doesn't apply here.    I.e. he didn't pick source material and then the actors to file the roles.     Therefor the question is; why did Sleznick select 'Jennie' as a role for Jones?  

 

This from Wiki:  The book on which the film was based first attracted the attention of David O. Selznick, who immediately purchased it as a vehicle for Academy Award winner Jennifer Jones.

 

In a way Selznick was running an independent studio (Selznick International and later Vanguard). Jones was under contract to his studio. So were many others during the 40s like Joseph Cotten, Rhonda Fleming, Shirley Temple, Joan Fontaine, Vivien Leigh, Guy Madison, John Derek, Louis Jourdan, Ethel Barrymore, Dorothy McGuire, Alida Valli, Ingrid Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock, etc. The list is long. 

 

We don't tend to recognise this because Selznick and his brother Myron (one of the first super agents) were geniuses at packaging his stars and selling them to the studios. In the 40s, they had many deals with RKO, Fox and Paramount. RKO in particular had trouble holding on to stars (they were siphoned away by MGM) so RKO would request these stars from the Selznicks. 

 

Eventually most of these stars were sold off (even after Olivia De Havilland's landmark lawsuit that challenged studio control over contracts as a form of peonage or slavery). McGuire went to Fox; Cotten went to Fox; Hitchcock went to Warners; Derek went to Columbia; etc. The notable exception was Jones whom Selznick married and kept under his direct control (in more ways than one). After Vanguard closed shop, Selznick stopped financing his own films (PORTRAIT OF JENNIE was one of the last); and he just started selling her services to all the studios along with his services as a producer. 

 

Getting back to why she was chosen for PORTRAIT OF JENNIE, I'd say the material with its strong spiritual elements, reminded Selznick of SONG OF BERNADETTE, which was a big hit and earned her an Oscar. So I think he was trying to steer her back to that kind of child-like more innocent type of role. When this didn't go over so well with the public, then he started focusing on material where she could go in the opposite direction playing temptresses and adulteresses like she had done in DUEL IN THE SUN. This is where she becomes packaged by Selznick to do MADAME BOVARY; CARRIE; and RUBY GENTRY. In one film she gets to play saint and sinner: GONE TO EARTH finds her as a naive gypsy girl who is supposed to marry a Baptist minister and be good but gets caught up in witchcraft.

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I thought MADAME BOVARY was really good and arguably Jennifer's best performance.  Excellent direction from Vincent Minnelli, as always.  Van Heflin is good in everything.

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I thought MADAME BOVARY was really good and arguably Jennifer's best performance.  Excellent direction from Vincent Minnelli, as always.  Van Heflin is good in everything.

She is truly outstanding in "Duel In The Sun".  I wouldn't've expected it of her.

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Yes, Jennifer won her Oscar for SONG OF BERNADETTE playing such a pure, chaste character and I think she is excellent in that.  But she's really good in roles where she has shades of gray like in BOVARY and DUEL.  She's playing interesting, imperfect women.

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I would love to see the unedited version of "Indiscretion of An American Wife", which is longer and titled "Terminal Station".

 

Jennifer Jones is barely adequate in the cut version.

 

Montgomery Clift fares much better.

 

I liked De Sica's use of Richard Beymer.

 

DITTO. I'd like to see the director's cut!! The film is too short.

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"Madame Bovary" - according to Ben Mankiewcicz, "Madame Bovary" was a major financial dissappointment for its' home studio - and, yet, it is beautifully directed by Vincente Minnelli in the already time-honored MGM tradition - Jennifer Jones, whom I don't particularly care for, gives a very brave performance - she's a totally "cracked" personality and Jones plays the woman that way - she does nothing to make you "like" her - in fact, you cannot like Emma Bovary - nothing matters to her except her daydreams of a better life - when she dies at the end from self-inflicted arsenic poisoning, you can only feel sorry for her husband and little girl - perhaps if MGM could've gotten a more "sympathetic" Emma Bovary, the film would've done better at the box office - but MGM 's original choice of Lana Turner would have been a disaster - 

 

Concerning "Portrait of Jennie", Jennifer Jones is totally unbelievable as a young girl - why are mature actresses drawn to playing teen-age girls? - and she is more convincing as the older Jennie - although there is something "off" about Jones as a screen personality - from what I've read, her husband would not accept the box-office failure of the film and, so, he took it out of circulation - he brought in a huge, monumental storm - in color - and then re-released it and still the film did not succeed at the box-office - if only he had hired a child actress who could be aged convincingly - his love of Jones blinded him as to her limitations.

 

I agree, Turner would've been a disaster in the role. Jennie doesnt hold up too well with repeated viewings, but I still like it. I guess I'm drawn to the spiritual angle and the character change in Cotten. I love Ethel Barrymore in the film as well. Jones looks too old to be a child in the beginning, later I think she's more effective. She isnt given much to do but be a sort of an inspirational ghost if you will........

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I agree, Turner would've been a disaster in the role. Jennie doesnt hold up too well with repeated viewings, but I still like it. I guess I'm drawn to the spiritual angle and the character change in Cotten. I love Ethel Barrymore in the film as well. Jones looks too old to be a child in the beginning, later I think she's more effective. She isnt given much to do but be a sort of an inspirational ghost if you will........

Talking about "Portrait of Jennie", I would love to see the first version, which Selznick pulled from the theaters.

 

I have read that it is a much different film.

 

Certainly, the re-done, storm-tossed finale (in the second version) is much too BIG for the film.

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i wonder how else it was different? (the original version). How did it end then?

I don't know.

 

David Wayne, whose scenes were re-done, said that at the time of the film's first release, when Selznick decided to re-shoot, he was appearing in a play on Broadway  - and that Selznick shut down the production - temporarily - paid for the cancelled performances - so that David Wayne could re-shoot his scenes.

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I don't know.

 

David Wayne, whose scenes were re-done, said that at the time of the film's first release, when Selznick decided to re-shoot, he was appearing in a play on Broadway  - and that Selznick shut down the production - temporarily - paid for the cancelled performances - so that David Wayne could re-shoot his scenes.

 

That may have been Finian's Rainbow. I should read the book (Jennie).

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That may have been Finian's Rainbow. I should read the book (Jennie).

On ebay.com, there is a signed first edition copy for $1,500!

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On ebay.com, there is a signed first edition copy for $1,500!

 

 

LOL. Out of my price range..........

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"A Farewell To Arms" - overlong and overproduced, but it works its' magic anyway - Jennifer Jones is too old for the lead role, however, her husband was the producer - nevertheless, she and Rock Hudson do work well together - but there is a bad aftertaste about this film adaptation since it involves a nurse who's sleeping with her patient.

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"A Farewell To Arms" - overlong and overproduced, but it works its' magic anyway - Jennifer Jones is too old for the lead role, however, her husband was the producer - nevertheless, she and Rock Hudson do work well together - but there is a bad aftertaste about this film adaptation since it involves a nurse who's sleeping with her patient.

 

Is that kind of like a teacher sleeping with her student?

 

I agree the film is way too long. The original with Helen Hayes is much more concise. 

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Is that kind of like a teacher sleeping with her student?

 

I agree the film is way too long. The original with Helen Hayes is much more concise. 

This film has one of the "heaviest" endings in film history.

 

The hero is AWOL, has escaped to a foreign country, Switzerland and is far away from his homeland, the United States.

 

His pregnant girlfriend has just given birth to a dead baby and then dies herself.

 

At the end, he walks down a long darkish street that seems totally abandoned.

 

Could it get any worse?

 

I never understood the allure of this material.

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This film has one of the "heaviest" endings in film history.

 

The hero is AWOL, has escaped to a foreign country, Switzerland and is far away from his homeland, the United States.

 

His pregnant girlfriend has just given birth to a dead baby and then dies herself.

 

At the end, he walks down a long darkish street that seems totally abandoned.

 

Could it get any worse?

 

I never understood the allure of this material.

 

Interesting commentary, Ray. Not sure why people like 'heavy' dramas. A good cry, maybe?

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