Join Joseph Cotten and Jennifer Jones on the Astral Plane in Portrait of Jennie in 35mm at the Music Box – Jan. 27

Music Box Theatre
3733 N. Southport Ave
General Admission: $10

Monday, January 27 @ 7:00 PM
Directed by William Dieterle • 1948
There are supernatural romances and then there’s Portrait of Jennie — an unassailable work of visionary delirium and towering claptrap that is easily the strangest film ever recalled fondly by your TCM-loving aunt. Starving artist Eben Adams (Joseph Cotten) doesn’t know it yet, but one day he’ll graduate from turning out middle-aged juvenilia like flower and lighthouse paintings to creating works worthy of being hung in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His artistic maturation is accelerated by a chance encounter in Central Park with Jennie (Jennifer Jones), a flesh-and-blood Gibson Girl with the diction and dress of an earlier generation. Her apparition reappears to Eben periodically, each time a little older and a little more plausible as a romantic partner. A costly flop upon its belated release, the film embodied the obsessive zeal of producer David O. Selznick, but no amount of demonstrable “good taste” (music from Debussy, quotes from Euripides and Keats) could ground the material’s innately surrealistic freak flag. A ghost story unmoored in time, Portrait of Jennie reaches back to silent cinema to find its most expressive and idiosyncratic aesthetic effects, summoning tinting and Magnascope back from a watery grave in the stupendous final reel. Cinematographer Joseph August would die of a heart attack before the production was completed, literalizing the film’s central conceit of an artwork dictated from the beyond. (KW)
86 min • The Selznick Studio • 35mm from The Walt Disney Company
Preceded by: “Closed Mondays” (Bob Gardiner, Will Vinton, 1974) – 8 min – 35mm

“David O. Selznick’s deluxe exercise in mystical romanticism…the pyrotechnics, joined to the dumbfounding silliness, keep one watching.”
– Pauline Kael

“a large, splashy, sentimental film which reaches its characteristic climax in a howling hurricane that will blast you out of your seat.” – Bosley Crowther

Watch the trailer for PORTRAIT OF JENNIE

Coming Soon

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University
Building E, 3701 W Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, February 5 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
Directed by John Huston • 1962
Few Hollywood films have faced the potentially embarrassing prospect of the University of Chicago Press publishing an annotated version of their rejected screenplay. But few movies are like Freud, an epic of the unconscious scripted by an uncredited Jean-Paul Sartre, but revised by the writers behind Juarez and South Seas Adventure after the great Parisian intellectual refused to cut it down to a standard length. (Sartre’s drafts would have yielded a film of five to eight hours.) It’s another swing for the fences from John Huston, the director who didn’t shrink from filming Herman Melville, Flannery O’Connor, James Joyce, or the Book of Genesis. A thinking man’s biopic about Vienna’s preeminent thinking man, Freud eschews the cradle-to-grave Hollywood treatment to focus on a crucial five-year period in Freud’s life when he would abandon hypnosis for nascent psychoanalysis as the preferred treatment for his patients. Montgomery Clift, in his penultimate role, plays Freud as a man humbled and tortured by his own discoveries. (Clift himself was fighting his own addiction to alcohol and pills in this period, but he remains a focused professional on screen.) Desperately marketed as a detective thriller under the suggestive title Freud: The Secret Passion, Huston’s film received respectful reviews in its day, but remained absent on TV and home video for decades afterwards. Consider its revival the return of the repressed. (KW)
140 min • Universal-International • 35mm from Universal
Preceded by: “Sh-h-h-h-h” (Tex Avery, 1955) – 6 min – 16mm

“Montgomery Clift burns with a fierce intelligence”
Richard Brody

Watch a trailer for FREUD

See what’s coming up for the rest of the season!

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