Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Portrait of Jenny


It’s a classic, but not one that really held a lot of attraction for me. It’s all a little too solemn, too reverent. Jenny is Jennifer Jones, who appears to have come unstuck in time, a little like Billy Pilgrim in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. She first appears to Joseph Cotton, a struggling and not-too-talented artist, at the age of about twelve. She has memories of places that don’t exist anymore, says her parents are tightrope walkers in a theater that was torn down a long time ago. Then not too long later she shows up again, and she’s magically around fifteen. It goes on like that until she is a young adult. They are in love. Obviously she is dead, but it takes him a long time to figure that out. He paints a portrait of her, which makes his name. He tries to change fate, but of course we all know it won’t be possible for them to live happily ever after. It gets to be a bit of a bore.

The main attraction here is the cinematography. Many shots are composed like paintings, and have the texture of paint on canvas. Near the end, during a big storm with lots of studio water crashing over them, the B&W film is tinted green, and looks great. And for the final shot, of the painting, we go to full color for a short time.