Rent Portrait of Jennie (1948)

3.8 of 5 from 65 ratings
1h 26min
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Eben Adams (Joseph Cotten) is a struggling and mostly failing New York artist until one day, in Central Park, he meets Jennie (Jennifer Jones). Jennie seems to possess an almost mystical quality and as Eben sketches her, his work shows more expression and emotion than anything he has ever done before. But before he knows it, Jennie has disappeared. Eben frantically searches for his mysterious model and when they meet again a few weeks later, Jennie seems to have aged several years. What then unfolds is one of the most unusual and unforgettable love stories ever told as they are both swept up in a strange love that even time cannot contain.
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David O. Selznick
Robert Nathan, Leonardo Bercovici, Paul Osborn, Peter Berneis, David O. Selznick, Ben Hecht
James, James G. Stewart, J. McMillan Johnson, Joseph August, Paul Eagler, Charles Freeman, Russell Shearman, Clarence Slifer
PT Video
Classics, Drama, Romance

1949 Oscar Best Special Effects

1949 Venice Film Festival Best Actor

Release Date:
Run Time:
86 minutes
English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
Colour and B & W
  • David O. Selznick: Biography
  • Jennifer Jones: Biography
  • Joseph Cotten: Biography
  • Ethel Barrymore: Biography
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Reviews (1) of Portrait of Jennie

Romantic Fantasy (spoiler). - Portrait of Jennie review by Steve Mason

Spoiler Alert

A whimsical ghost story produced by David Selznick to star his soon-to-be wife Jennifer Jones. It's a hyper-romance about how some people are meant to be together, no matter what, even if it breaks the laws that bind the universe.

Eben Adams (Joseph Cotten) is a struggling artist who meets Jennie as a child in Central Park, New York and sketches her. This provides him with a rare sale and enough money to eat and pay the rent. He begins a portrait... Adams occasionally meets her again but makes the unsettling discovery that she seems to come back to him from the past, and always a few years older. Eben and Jennie fall in love even though it appears she died in an accident at sea many years ago.

Portrait of Jennie is sweet, crazy hokum with the kind of lush orchestral score (Dimitri Tiomkin) typical of Hollywood romantic fantasies. We even hear a choir of angels. It is all atmospherics. Jennie's theme (composed by Bernard Herrmann) is haunting. Cotten and Jones are glamorous as the lovers who find each other across time. 

 It is also pretty spooky. The b&w photography is lovely, particularly the location work in Central Park. Dieterle sometimes places gauze over his lens which makes the shot itself look like a canvas. The film concludes with a tsunami off the coast of Massachusetts which is extremely powerfully done, and finally a shot of the sad/beautiful Jennie in colour hung on the wall of a gallery, a mysterious painting which enchants those who stand before it.

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