Love, as portrayed and dramatized in this fine and sensitive Buddy Adler production based on the Han Suyin bestseller, is indeed a many-splendored thing. 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.

Love, as portrayed and dramatized in this fine and sensitive Buddy Adler production based on the Han Suyin bestseller, is indeed a many-splendored thing. 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.

William Holden as the American correspondent, and Jennifer Jones as the Eurasian doctor, make a romantic team of great appeal. This is something of an emotional tear-jerker, to be sure, but an awfully well-made one. Han [in her autobiographical book A Many Splendored Thing] was less concerned with drama than with tracing the mating of two kindred souls in a world strange to both.

Up to the middle of the film, things go rather slowly. Both director Henry King and screenwriter John Patrick apparently thought the romantic theme should be enough. Since Elliott (Holden) is married and his wife won’t give him a divorce, marriage is impossible. Although compromised, and without a job at the end, Han (Jones) holds fast to her love.

King and lenser Leon Shamroy do a magnificent job in utilizing the Hong Kong backgrounds, whether in the opening shots panning down on the teeming city or in the charming little scene where Han returns to her Chungking home and is followed there by Elliott.

Holden is restrained and completely believable. Jones is pure delight in a very difficult part. In her, the spirit of the book is caught completely. Supporting cast is fine, with Isobel Elsom properly superficial as the British matron who resents Jones. Kam Tong, as the Commie doctor who urges Jones to return to Red China and ‘her people,’ is sinister yet wisely refrains from playing the heavy.

1955: Best Color Costume Design, Song (‘Love is a Many-Splendored Thing’), Scoring of a Dramatic Picture.

Nominations: Best Picture, Actress (Jennifer Jones), Color Cinematography, Color Art Direction, Sound

Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing

Production

20th Century-Fox. Director Henry King; Producer Buddy Adler; Screenplay John Patrick; Camera Leon Shamroy; Editor William Reynolds; Music Alfred Newman; Art Director Lyle R. Wheeler, George W. Davis

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1955. Running time: 102 MIN.

With

William Holden Jennifer Jones Torin Thatcher Isobel Elsom Virginia Gregg Richard Loo
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