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Archive for June 4th, 2014

Impoverished artist Eben Adams (Joseph Cotten) makes the acquaintance of art dealers Matthews (Cecil Kellaway) and Spinney (Ethel Barrymore).

Impoverished artist Eben Adams (Joseph Cotten) makes the acquaintance of art dealers Matthews (Cecil Kellaway) and Spinney (Ethel Barrymore).

by John Grant

vt Tidal Wave

US / 87 minutes / bw with some tinting (green/sepia) and brief color / Vanguard, Selznick Dir: William Dieterle Pr: David O. Selznick Scr: Paul Osborn, Peter Berneis, Leonardo Bercovici Story: Portrait of Jennie (1940) by Robert Nathan Cine: Joseph August Cast: Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Ethel Barrymore, Lillian Gish, Cecil Kellaway, David Wayne, Albert Sharpe, Henry Hull, Florence Bates, Felix Bressart, Clem Bevans, Maude Simmons, Anne Francis, Nancy Olson, Nancy Davis.

 

The novel by Robert Nathan upon which this movie is based is often cited as a classic of fantasy fiction, even though today it seems really quite dated in many respects, notably its overt religiosity. (It’s also unfashionably short; you sometimes come across it described as a novella.) Aside from that religiosity, however, Nathan kept his tale pretty spare; he (obviously deliberately) made no attempt to rationalize or organize the supernatural heart of the story, leaving it as an account of some events the narrator has experienced that he neither can explain nor, really, wishes to explain. This verisimilitude is part of what makes the novel so affecting. (I made some notes on it here.) (more…)

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