as it turns out, jennifer jones (no relation) turned down the titular role in laura, yet only 4 years later would take the titular role in portrait of jennie (1948), another movie about a portrait of a beautiful woman and a man's fixation on both the portrait and the woman. a better movie, one that merited inclusion in a list of buñuel's 10 favorite films (as of 1952) (note the lynch-buñuel connection). and as an example of my poor follow-thru, it took me a year to watch it after i first became aware of it and decided to watch it. it also features as an elderly spinster, ethel (the nightingale) barrymore (whose character's last name is even spinney), and speaking of haunting portraits, this one gives me chills, and i can see why her wiki entry states that "men everywhere were smitten with ethel, most notably young winston churchill, who asked her to marry him". ethel was a leo, and was born exactly two weeks apart from fellow leo, eva tanguay, who is mentioned in the film as performing with jennie's parents in an nyc vaudeville show. aleister crowley wrote an essay lauding tanguay, whom one might compare madonna or gaga to ("her costumes were as extravagant as her personality. in 1910, a year after the lincoln penny was issued, tanguay appeared on stage in a coat entirely covered in the new coins. other costumes included a dress covered in coral which weighed forty-five pounds and cost $2000, and a costume made of dollar bills."):
"eva tanguay is the perfect american artist. she is alone. she is the unknown goddess. she is ineffably, infinitely, sublime; she is starry chaste in her colossal corruption. in europe men obtain excitement through venus, and prevent venus from freezing by invoking bacchus and ceres, as the poet bids. but in america sex-excitement has been analyzed; we recognize it to be merely a particular case of a general proposition, and we proceed to find our pleasure in the wreck of the nervous system as a whole, instead of a mere section of it. the daily rush of new york resembles the effect of cocaine; it is a universal stimulation, resulting in a premature general collapse; and eva tanguay is the perfect artistic expression of this. she is manhattan, most loved, most hated, of all cities, whose soul is a delirium beyond time and space. wine? brandy? absinthe? bah! such mother-milk is for the babes of effete europe; we know better. drunkenness is a silly partial exaltation, feeble device of most empirical psychology; it cannot compare with the adult, the transcendental delights of pure madness."
tanguay died on 1/11/47 in hollywood, the same city as barrymore, who died in 1959.
portrait of jennie also features the film debut of nancy reagan in a two-line role as an admirer of the portrait.