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There is no life, my darling, until you love and have been loved. And then there is no death.
A 1948 film based on the novella by Robert Nathan, directed by William Dieterle and produced by David O. Selznick. It stars Jennifer Jones as the title character (a coincidence, not The Danza) and Joseph Cotten as Eben Adams, the artist she inspires. Also in the cast are Ethel Barrymore and Lillian Gish.
Promoted as a "fantasy," Portrait of Jennie combines drama, mystery and romance with more than a touch of the supernatural. Its extremely striking and atmospheric cinematography won Joseph H. August an Academy Award (unfortunately, he died before receiving it).
The titular portrait of Jennie was painted by Robert Brackman.
This film provides examples of:
- Beware of Hitch-Hiking Ghosts: At its core, the movie is a variation on the vanishing hitchhiker legend.
- Big Applesauce: Much of the film takes place in 1930s New York.
- Chekhov's Gun: Jennie's scarf.
- Dawson Casting: Jennie, who is about 13 when she first meets Eben, is played by Jennifer Jones who was 29 at the time.
- Dead All Along: Jennie.
- Foreshadowing: Repeated references to Land's End and the lighthouse there.
- Hostile Weather
- I Will Wait for You: Applies to both main characters.
- Magical Girlfriend
- The Muse: Jennie for Eben.
- One True Love
- POV Boy, Poster Girl
- The Power of Love: Posited in-universe as a possible cause of the film's events.
- Rapid Aging
- Splash of Color: Most of the film is in black and white but its final scenes shift to color.
- Starving Artist: Eben when the film begins.
- A Storm Is Coming
- Strange Girl
- Time Travel
- Wife Husbandry: Jennie is much too young for Eben at first, but she promises him that they are meant to be together and that she will grow up for him... and does. Very quickly.