Portrait of Jennie (1948)

Approved   |    |  Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

Portrait of Jennie (1948) Poster

A mysterious girl inspires a struggling artist.


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26 May 2007 | dbdumonteil
Old Father Time ,you 're out of time.
Dieterlé's film is magic itself.Borrowing from "Peter Ibbetson " (Hathaway,1935) ,from "the portrait of Dorian Gray" (Lewin ,1944,the final trick is the same)or from the "the Ghost and Mrs Muir" (Mankiewicz,1947) ,it succeeds in connecting all the links of the chain .Moreover,I'm almost sure that Richard Matheson saw this movie for its influence on his "bid time return" novel (transferred to the screen as "Somewhere in time" (1981) ) is obvious.

A painter down on his luck meets a strange girl.Her clothes are old-fashioned and she seems out of nowhere .Dieterlé marvelously creates an offbeat poetic atmosphere.Using urban landscapes,an ominous sky or the stairs in the lighthouse shrouded in a green light,he 's got an extraordinary sense of mystery.The cast is ideal:Jennifer Jones was par excellence the romantic heroine ("Duel in the sun" which was the first time she had played opposite Cotten,"Ruby Gentry" "Madame Bovary" "Love is a many -splendored thing" ) with an adequate timeless beauty,Joseph Cotten could play everything ,and Lilian Gish made a short but conspicuous appearance as Mother Superior.The Cotten/Jones meeting in the convent could have been mushy and disastrous with any lesser talent:Dieterlé makes it a moving scene ,intimate and grandiose all at once.

We all live with our past.Some of us would give everything to relive scenes of their past .Einstein told one day that time was the form of his powerlessness while space was the form of his power.Who knows if (and the lines which open the movie open any door) somewhere we are not living in our past,or in our future?

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