Most helpful positive review
136 of 139 people found the following review helpful
Unique Supernatural Fantasy
on October 21, 2002
Haunting, exquisite, dreamlike film, which brought out my hidden-deep-inside emotions, myself not being a very emotional or demonstrative person, making it a definitely one-of-a-kind experience for me, just like "I'll Never Forget You" (1951), a remake of Leslie Howard's "Berkeley Square" (1933), starring Tyrone Power and Ann Blyth, made a likewise impression when I was just a child. Although, it must be said, "Portrait of Jennie" is a superior film.
There's something with these people-meeting-from-different-times-theme-based films, that have this special, strange & weird effect on me, being this movie (in my opinion) the definite masterpiece of its kind. For those who are interested, besides the mentioned above, you can try both versions of "Smilin' Through" (1932 & 1941), "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" (1947), "Somewhere in Time" (1980), and although not strictly of the kind, "Peter Ibbetson" (1935).
Jennifer Jones does a very fine job in the difficult part of the ethereal Jennie, giving credibility at the character's different stages of her life. Joseph Cotten, a very fine actor, is absolutely believable as the obsessed artist, who learns (unknowingly) that until one really loves somebody, one hasn't really lived.
Ethel Barrymore, grand dame of the American Theater and an occasional character film actress, gives a great performance in a part worthy of her talent, as the owner of an Art Gallery who befriends Cotten, becoming sort of her mentor. Others in the exceptional supporting cast: Cecil Kellaway (as Barrymore's partner), sweet grand lady of the silent screen, the legendary Lillian Gish (as a Nun) and funny and very human David Wayne (as Cotten's pal).
Trust me, if you're a sensitive person, this movie will linger in your mind for several days after watching it, and it won't end there, you will want to "experience" it again and again. Since I bought this dvd, and I've got a big video and dvd collection, I have watched it at least four times, not counting all the times I had previously seen it on TV's late night showings.
The dvd edition quality is very good and it gives one the special opportunity of watching the film in the original way it was intended to be seen, most of it in black and white, then switching to green shading (for the storm sequence), then to sepia tone and the final shot in full Technicolor, a special treat.
The dvd has no bonuses, except for the film's original trailer and, believe me, this picture does not need anything else!!
Jennifer Jones & Joseph Cotten starred in three other excellent pictures prior to this final pairing: "Since You Went Away" (1944), "Love Letters" (1945) and "Duel in the Sun", all of them produced by David O. Selznick, Jones' second husband.