In the same way that mid-Century San Francisco is so lushly admired by "Vertigo," this film preserves and adores mid-Century Hong Kong.
Though the actors deliver their story competently, the film's best recommendation toward today's viewer is the extensive high-quality cinematography of 1955 Hong Kong, its streets filled with small exotic shops, Repulse Bay unshadowed by skyscrapers, the city's waterways afloat with authentic junks, kaitos and sampans. Cinemascope; color by DeLuxe.
Every non-dialogue shot is on location; dialogue shots/scenes are set pieces, employing location back-plates as required. The "tree on the hill" scenes, for example, shot in Southern California, not Hong Kong.
"Splendored" is a dramatization of the 1949 star-crossed, forbidden love between a Western reporter (Holden) and a Chinese/Flemish doctor (Jones). Much of the dialogue and storyline is adapted directly from the source autobiographical novel by Han Suyin.
The film's a Fox vehicle, among many out of the industry during the 1950s, intended to soften existing racial prejudices (eg, "South Pacific," "The Searchers," "The Defiant Ones," "The World of Suzie Wong"). It is ironic, then, that Fox refused to cast the female lead ethnically and instead inserted a proven Caucasian box-office draw, on screen without any accent and a face barely made Chinese at all.
The tag-team commentary by a historian and veteran film technicians is above-average but not outstanding.
RECOMMENDATION: See it. Gorgeous viewing that captures well a time, culture and beautiful locale long gone by.