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Love Is a Many Splendored Thing Reviews

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Red L

Super Reviewer

April 17, 2012
When I saw this come up on TV, I decided to watch it because of the song. The movie is worth watching to see the '50s Hong Kong views and to see one view of how racism is treated in that era. But the plot of the movie is pretty simplistic - man meets woman - who fall in love despite different risks and backgrounds. It was nominated for Academy awards in 1956 - won for the music.

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
Love really is a many splendored thing, but you wouldn't know it by seeing this movie. Jones plays a woman doctor who's part Chinese and falls in love with an American guy, but she keep stressing over the fact that she's part Chinese as if that should keep them apart somehow, I mean no one can tell she's part Chinese so who cares? This movie got on my nerves.

Super Reviewer

December 10, 2007
"love is a many-splendored thing" is adapted from "shuyin" which is an autobiography of some eurasian doctor's interracial romance with an american correspondent stationed in hong kong to cover up the story of korean war. and the casting of jennifer jones as the conflicted eurasian beauty is suspiciously accorded by the hollywood racial segregation code, but some other eurasian character is played by real asian in dyed blonde hair. surprisingly, the result is far from the campiness which usually infiltrates within movies of this genre. of course, it's william holden's another trial as romantic lead. allegedly holden also shaved his hairy chest just to look more appealing to female audience in the beach scene where he's required to be topless.

in spite of jennifer jones' antagonism over william holden on the set, the two leads basically pull off a quite convencing job as fervent couple struggling their limited days to be heads over heels in love. as the scenario mentioned in the last paragraph, the story is dubbed with some depth to a degree because of its willingness to gaze upon the racist prejudice then, jones' suyin is a dignified eurasian who chooses her chinese side like every hybrid at that time (strangely any enthnicity mixed with caucasian would be considered anything but the caucasian.), uttering words of cynicism like "it depends upon whether my european side or chinese side wants to accept you as my date" to manifest her dichotomized self-identification. she's nothing like the subvervient oriental girl who pleads for the chivalry of white man to rescue her from the gutter like old hollywood movies, jones' character is intelligent and well-educated without the abrasive affected chinese accents adopted by yellow-face actress like louise rainer in "the good earth". as a matter of fact, jones even oozes a timid aura of demureness which is classic oriental elegance (which myself lacks greatly), and her slander well-porportioned figure is ideal for chinese cheongsam, enhanced with her illuminous ebony hair, jones' striking beauty fits into the niche of oriental aesthetism. beyond all, jennifer jones transcends the boundary of occident and orient, she just appears breath-takingly gorgeous in a cosmopolitan way.

there's another counterpart of jones' shuyin would be shuyin's fellow eurasian friend who breaches her hair into blonde that symbolizes her stance as the philander to the west. but why can't eurasian be considered another kind of caucasian but another sort of chinese? i suppose such dispute shall be left for the mass to probe upon it. after all, white supremacy is such a dated, obsolete issue to discuss since barrack obama is the president of united states right NOW just like charlie chan is dead in america. no matter how well jennifer jones adapts into the oriental customes with her cosmopolitan beauty, it is still quite an odd and peculiar idea to have a caucasian actress to play an eurasian woman in ebony hair, who favors her chinese side; a sheer asian actress to perform an eurasian in platium hair. who nullifies her yellow side to appear white. that may be the only campy attribute in this film.

the value of "love is a many-splendored thing" is its volunteer to go unrepetantly astray from the yellow-face cliche within its time but still preserve a sort of nostalgic aesthetism on romance. its usage of butterfly on the shoulder as a halting of blissful happiness is poetic and it presents the kaleiscopic side of hong kong during the british colonial days when you could still see well-dressed aristocrats and rich bourgeois in human-carriages, an intriguing showcase of semi-explored lushness of prosperous industrialization and rural agriculture. and it does win an oscar for best costumes due to jennifer jones' glittering demonstrations over edith head who complains this film just went thru a big shopping spree in chinatown for its clothings. i assume it's the best interracial romance movie ever in hollywood history with its protagonists NOT in two-dimensional stereotypes despite william holden does appear awkward as romantic lead but the scene of holen and jones metaphorically making love by igniting a cigarette does have a many-splendored thing about it.
John B

Super Reviewer

December 11, 2013
You may take offense to Jennifer Jones trying to pass off as an Asian lady but this is the type of romantic tale that you don't mind spending an afternoon with. You have to be in the right mood of course. William Holden remains the actor that doesn't get the full credit that he deserves.

Super Reviewer

December 28, 2007
October 17, 2010
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.
July 10, 2007
I love the rich backdrops & the passionate story of "forbidden" love. And that the female charecter is both Chinese & a doctor is rather progressive for 1955. This is filmmaking at it's best & I scratch my head at why this one never makes AFI's Top 100 films of all time list. If you haven't seen it, rent it immediately.
June 8, 2014
A beautifully photographed, but dramatically inert, romance with suitably good performances by William Holden and Jennifer Jones.
June 21, 2014
My father loved this film. I have enjoyed it. It is dated by the 1950's but the negative critics must consider history. It was not until 1965 that you could marry a Chinese woman in the U.S. This is based on a true story and romance. So it would be a more provocative film when it was released. The character that Jennifer Jones plays is a somewhat very traditional Chinese woman. Traits which the modern American would not understand.
June 14, 2014
While the script occasionally weighs down the romance, Love is a Many-Splendoured Thing has plenty of beautiful scenery and a pair of charming lead performances from Jones and Holden.
Connor G.
June 11, 2014
The romance was decent, but was severely outweighed by how racist it came across.
October 5, 2013
TOHO CINEMAS Nagoya Baycity, 2013/10/5
July 26, 2013
...To say this is a classic is one thing, but the truth is, it holds up very well in the twenty-first- century. Of course, if they remade this movie, there would be a different approach--but then it wouldn't be true to the period. The performances are moving. The story is timeless and universal. Those of jaded mind should watch The Matrix, or Batman. Or something that takes them away from a story that forces us to bare our hearts to ourselves. That's hard, actually. Easier to lose oneself in car crashes, and whizzing bullets, and FX shots, mixed with cgi. There are nights when those modern flicks serve a great purpose. Other nights when it is time to turn back the clock and watch classic movie making.
July 20, 2013
Simple Story, but well starred and with a wonderful soundtrack.
R. L.
January 15, 2013
Seems that most reviewers of this film are "seeing" it through the lens of contemporary times, and have panned it based on their limited perception. Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing was a big hit at a time when romance and tragedy were more acceptable together (think of South Pacific, Roman Holiday, etc. with bittersweet endings). In the 1950's, this film was highly rated and the stars, both Jennifer Jones and William Holden, were sex symbols. Scoff if you like, yet people who don't have the perspective of past eras, cannot make fair assumptions and reviews of these older films. All the people I know who lived through WWII and the Korean War absolutely enjoy this film, tears, hankies and all.
December 13, 2012
The best thing about this 1950's love story is seeing William Holden, Jennifer Jones, Hong Kong in 1955. and hearing the lovely title song again. The story is sappy and in the world of 2012 hard to believe. And you end up not carrying about the characters.
November 12, 2012
If you can watch this movie as someone watching it in the 50's might have, you have a better shot of enjoying the movie. But the cultural snafus and political incorrectness from a 21st century perspective weighed particularly heavy in this one for me...found myself unconsciously flinching a lot, despite the pretty images.
Adrian B.
June 29, 2012
The other of two films nominated for Best Picture starring William Holden and like "Picnic" along with "Mister Roberts" from 1955, this one was also a bad choice for being a candidate of the award. This time, Holden plays the love interest of a doctor (Jennifer Jones), who is half Asian and half European, while he is visiting Hong Kong. There is a problem, however, and that is Holden married to another woman. When reviewed in 1955, New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther used the term "clichés" to describe the plot of the movie and he ain't kidding. Just a lot chatting and googly eyes and not much else interesting occurs. I also found the portrayal of the Chinese to be fairly poor, with their handling of the English language to be quite insultingly presented. My theory is that Holden, who came off much better films like "Sunset Boulevard" and "Stalag 17" thought he could be good in anything he read. He was possibly right at the time, but he wouldn't be remotely right today. At least the colour and set pieces are nice. So that make three out five of the nominees for Best Picture of 1955 as total duds. At least "Marty," the Best Picture winner, was good. Interestingly, like the very mediocre "A Summer Place" from 1959, this film spawned the title song of huge #1 for a group called The Four Aces, which is not featured in the film.
January 17, 2012
The melodrama here is off the charts, but the Cinemascope is lovely. Not really my cuppa, but decent within its historical framework.
Dave J
September 9, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011

(1955) Love Is A Many Spendored Thing

Based on a true story about a half Eurasion/ half Chinese girl, Dr. Han Suyin played by Jennifer Jones and her controversial rendevous with an already married reporter Mark Elliot while living in Hong Kong, China!

Considered to be taboo at the time because of it's subject matter about race relations and upholding traditions, especially if one is a mixed! One of the major problems with this film is that it doesn't dwell on this controversy long enough and showcases the two leading actors bonding witrh each other which anyone can see from their soap operas etc... The other problem is that out of many true stories coming from people, this one is the most uninteresting one of all in comparison to what one could find on a newspaper or the local news for that matter!

Won 3 Oscars including "Best Song" out of 9 nominations!

2 out of 4
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