PORTRAIT OF JENNIE
Directed by William Dieterle
Produced by David O. Selznick
Starring Joseph Cotten, Jennifer Jones, Ethel Barrymore, Lilian Gish
35mm collection print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Approx. 86 min.
Selznick’s classic fantasy romance stars Joseph Cotten as an artist who falls in love with an ephemeral Jennifer Jones. With Ethel Barrymore, Lillian Gish, and Oscar-winning special effects.
Presented with support from the Robert Jolin Osborne Endowed Fund for American Classic Cinema.
“Selznick was attempting to do something almost without parallel: shoot an impressionistic romantic fantasy entirely on location, using highly realistic, even ‘documentary,’ production techniques. He would shoot the film in New York, he said, ‘because it will have an atmosphere it won’t have here in the studio, thereby improving the quality of the picture immeasurably.’ This was a fine idea, but Selznick and his producing organization were in over their heads…The Portrait of Jennie company was sent to New York, thousands of miles away from Selznick’s supervision, without a workable script, with inadequate location preparation, and with an associate producer, David Hempstead, whom the historian Ronald Haver has characterized as a competent, if unimaginative, alcoholic.”
– Richard Koszarski, “Keep ’em in the East”: Kazan, Kubrick, and the Postwar New York Film Renaissance