Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (film)

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Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing
Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.jpg
Original film poster
Directed by Henry King
Produced by Buddy Adler
Written by John Patrick
Han Suyin book
Starring Jennifer Jones
William Holden
Music by Alfred Newman
Sammy Fain title song
Cinematography Leon Shamroy, ASC
Edited by William H. Reynolds
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Release dates
  • August 18, 1955 (1955-08-18)
Running time 102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,780,000[1]
Box office $3 million (US in 1955)[2]

Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing is a 1955 American drama-romance film. Set in 1949–50 in Hong Kong, it tells the story of a married, but separated, American reporter Mark Elliot (played by William Holden), who falls in love with a Eurasian doctor Han Suyin originally from China (played by Jennifer Jones), only to encounter prejudice from her family and from Hong Kong society.

The movie was adapted by John Patrick from the 1952 autobiographical novel A Many-Splendoured Thing by Han Suyin. The film was directed by Henry King.

The movie later inspired a television soap opera in 1967, though without the hyphen in the show's title.

Plot[edit]

The widowed Eurasian doctor Han Suyin (Jones) falls in love with the married-but-separated American correspondent Mark Elliott (Holden) in Hong Kong, during the period of China's Civil War in the late 1940s. Although they briefly find happiness together, she is ostracized by the greater Chinese community. After losing her position at the hospital, Suyin and her adopted daughter go to live with a friend while Mark is on an assignment during the Korean War. They write to each other constantly.

Cast[edit]

Jennifer Jones as Dr. Han Suyin

Production[edit]

The rights to the novel were bought by David Brown of 20th Century Fox for the producer Sol C. Siegel.[3] However when he left the company the project was given to Buddy Adler.

Parts of the film were shot on location in Hong Kong, which was unusual for its time. Two weeks of location filming in Hong Kong had been completed before the final screenplay had been finished by screenwriter John Patrick. He then had to adapt the screenplay to include as many of the shots as possible.

Despite the film's romantic subject and their chemistry on the screen, Holden and Jones could barely stand each other on set. Holden was turned off by Jones' obsessive involvement with her character and complaints about her makeup, which she said made her "look old", costumes and dialogue. Soon they were barely speaking to one another. According to Holden's biography, Jones was also generally rude and abrasive to everyone involved in the production.[4] Their relationship was also not helped by Jones' worries about Holden's reputation as a womanizer. Holden claimed she chewed garlic before her love scenes, which she may have done to discourage him.[5] Once, Holden tried to make peace, offering Jones a bouquet of white roses, which she tossed back in his face.

The film was completed on time, within the planned three months schedule.

Locations[edit]

The Foreign Correspondents' Club, then located at 41A Conduit Road, is portrayed in the film as a hospital. The building was demolished in the late 1960s.
  • The building of the Foreign Correspondents' Club, was the former Mok Residence until 1951 when it became the Foreign Correspondents' Club then located at 41A Conduit Road, is portrayed as a hospital. The building is now demolished and Realty Gardens apartment complex has occupied the site since 1970.[6]
  • The former colonial-style Repulse Bay Hotel, demolished in 1982, and now the site of The Repulse Bay apartment building.[7]
  • The Tai Pak Floating Restaurant, now part of the Jumbo Kingdom.[8]
  • The famous hill-top meeting place where the lovers used to meet was located in rural California and not in Hong Kong.

Reception[edit]

Upon its initial release it made US$4 million in the United States of America.[9]

Nominated and winning multiple Academy Awards, Variety characterized it as "beautiful, absorbing."

Awards[edit]

The film won three Oscars at the 1956 Academy Awards, they were:

It was also nominated for:

Soundtrack[edit]

The music was initially commissioned from Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster as background music. It was extensively developed and woven into the film's orchestral score by Alfred Newman and his choral director Ken Darby. To make it eligible for the Best Original Song category of the Academy Awards lyrics were subsequently added. The original lyrics were rejected by the studio so new ones were written.[12] The resulting sentimental and upbeat song, "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing" was one of the first songs written for a movie to become no. 1 in the charts in the same year.

The song was subsequently recorded by The Four Aces and also by Jerry Vale, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra, among others. Italian-language versions were recorded by Nancy Cuomo, Neil Sedaka, and Connie Francis. Francis also recorded the song with its original English lyrics, and a German-language version, Sag, weißt du denn, was Liebe ist.

Here is a sample of the song's lyrics:

Love is nature's way of giving
a reason to be living,
The golden crown that makes a man a king.

In the film, charged romantic moments occur on a high grassy, windswept hill in Hong Kong. In the bittersweet final scene on the hilltop, the song (heard on the sound track) recalls the earlier encounters:

Once on a high and windy hill,
In the morning mist, Two lovers kissed,
And the world stood still.

The theme song, as recorded by The Four Aces, went to #1 on the charts for four weeks in 1955, shortly before rock and roll became a dominant force on the charts, and won the Academy Award for Best Song.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p. 249
  2. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955', Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956
  3. ^ Epstein. Page 317.
  4. ^ Michelangelo Capua (2009). William Holden: A Biography. McFarland. pp. 87–90. ISBN 9780786444403. 
  5. ^ Epstein. Page 321.
  6. ^ Foreign Correspondents' Club - History - 41A Conduit Road
  7. ^ "The Repulse Bay's website - History". Therepulsebay.com. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  8. ^ "Hong Kong (& Macau) Stuff: "Tai Pak Floating Restaurant, Aberdeen". Orientalsweetlips.wordpress.com. 2009-09-10. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  9. ^ Epstein. Page 323.
  10. ^ "The 28th Academy Awards (1956) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  11. ^ "NY Times: Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  12. ^ Epstein. Page 322.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Epstein, Edward Z. (1995). Portrait of Jennifer Jones (Hardback). New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-74056-3. 

External links[edit]