Most romantic film #42: Portrait of Jenny

This is one of those odd, mysterious films of the 1940s that sticks in your mind. If you love films like The Time Traveler’s Wife or Serendipity, you’ll like Portrait of Jenny.

Based on a novel by Robert Nathan, the film was produced by David O. Selznick with his usual flair for micro-managing details. It stars Joseph Cotton as the film’s hero Eben Adams, an unknown painter, and Jennifer Jones as Jenny, the girl he meets who becomes his Muse and inspiration.

Selznick married Jones the year after this film opened.

Again, the film is filled with excellent secondary characters played by top-flight actors, like Ethel Barrymore and Lillian Gish, and character actors like David Wayne and Henry Hull. It is a beautiful, misty film that evokes both the feeling of romantic nostalgia and fantasy that work strongly for the film’s effect.


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