Love Is a Many Splendored Thing 1955

Love Is a Many Splendored Thing

Critics Consensus

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53%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 15

57%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,562

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Movie Info

In Hong Kong in 1949, Mark Elliott (William Holden) is an American reporter covering the Chinese civil war. Undergoing a trial separation from his wife, he meets the beautiful Dr. Han Suyin (Jennifer Jones), a widowed physician from mainland China. As the pair fall in love, they encounter disapproval from both her family and his friends about their interracial romance. Although the film was a commercial success upon release, the casting of Jones in an Asian role has since been criticized.

Cast & Crew

Jennifer Jones
Dr. Han Suyin
William Holden
Mark Elliott
Torin Thatcher
Humphrey Palmer-Jones
Isobel Elsom
Adeline Palmer-Jones
Virginia Gregg
Anne Richards
Richard Loo
Robert Hung
Donna Martell
Suchen, Suyin's sister
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Critic Reviews for Love Is a Many Splendored Thing

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (7)

  • The film is the quintessence of a certain kind of 50s schlock.

    January 31, 2012 | Full Review…
  • It's an unusual picture shot against authentic Hong Kong backgrounds and offbeat in its treatment, yet as simple and moving a love story as has come along in many a moon.

    July 9, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • With an impotent screen play, it is no wonder that Mr. Holden and Miss Jones find themselves going around in narrowing circles, talking endlessly and holding hands.

    March 25, 2006 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • East meets West for some lush tripe based on a novel by Han Suyin, who had company in disliking it.

    February 9, 2006

    Tom Milne

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The film is sentimental at times, but even the most maudlin dialogue is well-delivered by the sensational, always-composed Jones.

    August 23, 2020 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…
  • Holden and Jones are so good together that it's easy to forget they did not get along behind the scenes. ... Still, they punch across the sweeping passion of this visually dynamic CinemaScope production.

    August 24, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Love Is a Many Splendored Thing

  • Dec 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.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 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.
    Red L Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 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.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Dec 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.
    Veronique K Super Reviewer

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