Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (film)
|Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing|
Original film poster
|Directed by||Henry King|
|Produced by||Buddy Adler|
|Written by||John Patrick
Han Suyin book
|Music by||Alfred Newman
Sammy Fain title song
|Cinematography||Leon Shamroy, ASC|
|Editing by||William H. Reynolds|
|Distributed by||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation|
|Running time||102 minutes|
|Box office||$3 million (US in 1955)|
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 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.
However on the same day that Suyin receives a letter from Mark, another friend drops by with a newspaper which says that he has been killed by an aircraft bomb. Distraught, Suyin climbs the hill to the tree where they said their last goodbyes, half hoping to see him there again. When she realizes that he is truly gone, she falls to her knees sobbing. In the final scene, a butterfly, similar to the one seen on Elliot's typewriter while at the front, lands on the tree in front of Suyin. She composes herself and walks away.
- William Holden - Mark Elliott
- Jennifer Jones - Dr. Han Suyin
- Torin Thatcher - Humphrey Palmer-Jones
- Isobel Elsom - Adeline Palmer-Jones
- Murray Matheson - Dr. John Keith
- Virginia Gregg - Anne Richards
- Richard Loo - Robert Hung
- Soo Yong - Nora Hung
- Philip Ahn - Third Uncle
- Jorja Curtright - Suzanne
- Donna Martell - Suchen, Suyin's sister
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 her 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. Their relationship was also not helped by Jone's worries about Holden's reputation as a womanizer. Holden claimed she chewed garlic before her love scenes, which she may have meant to discourage him. Once Holden tried to make peace, offering Jones a bouquet of white roses, which she tossed them back in his face.
The film was completed on time, within the planned three months schedule.
- 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.
- The former colonial-style Repulse Bay Hotel, demolished in 1982, and now the site of The Repulse Bay apartment building.
- The Tai Pak Floating Restaurant, now part of the Jumbo Kingdom.
- The famous hill-top meeting place where the lovers used to meet was located in rural California and not in Hong Kong.
Upon its initial release it made US$4 million in the United States of America.
- Best Costume Design, Color
- Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture
- Best Music, Song (for Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster for "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing").
It was also nominated for:
- Best Picture
- Jennifer Jones - Best Actress in a Leading Role
- Lyle R. Wheeler, George Davis, Walter M. Scott, Jack Stubbs - Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color
- Best Cinematography, Color
- Carlton W. Faulkner - Best Sound, Recording.
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. 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.
- 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
- 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955', Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956
- Epstein. Page 317.
- Michelangelo Capua (2009). William Holden: A Biography. McFarland. pp. 87–90. ISBN 9780786444403.
- Epstein. Page 321.
- Foreign Correspondents' Club - History - 41A Conduit Road[dead link]
- "The Repulse Bay's website - History". Therepulsebay.com. Retrieved 2013-02-10.
- "Hong Kong (& Macau) Stuff: "Tai Pak Floating Restaurant, Aberdeen". Orientalsweetlips.wordpress.com. 2009-09-10. Retrieved 2013-02-10.
- Epstein. Page 323.
- "The 28th Academy Awards (1956) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
- "NY Times: Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-22.
- Epstein. Page 322.
- Epstein, Edward Z. (1995). Portrait of Jennifer Jones (HardbackISBN 0-671-74056-3.). New York: Simon & Schuster.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (film).|
- Love is a Many-Splendored Thing at the Internet Movie Database
- Song lyrics (of The Four Aces), webpage: OldieLyrics-The_Four_Aces.
- "Hong Kong as City/Imaginary in The World of Suzie Wong, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, and Chinese Box", by Thomas Y. T. Luk, The Chinese University of Hong Kong