Thursday, June 1, 2017

Love is a Many-Splendored Thing 1955

     This film is based on a true story from Dr. Han Suyin’s autobiographical novel, A Many-Splendoured Thing.  The character of Mark Elliott is based on Ian Morrison, a British correspondent.  The setting of this film is the closing days of the Chinese Civil war In Hong Kong.  Mark Elliott is an American war correspondent and he meets Dr. Han Suyin.  She is a Eurasian doctor and the widow of a Nationalist general.  She plans to never marry again.  Mark is married and his wife has refused to give him a divorce.  Suyin receives pressure from the hospital, her Chinese family and her friends to end her relationship with Mark.
     There is a lot of drama and gossip in this film but I thought it was good.  I didn’t now that this was based on a true story.  I also didn’t know the background of William Holden and it was rumored that he had a relationship with all of his leading ladies.  It seems that Jennifer Jones was not at all interested in him.  The scenery of the area is very beautiful and one reviewer commented that the Hong Kong of this film has no resemblance to current Hong Kong.  It is filmed in Cinemascope format that results in a blank area above and below on TV screens.  I found it difficult to imagine Jennifer Jones as a Eurasian but I could see there would be intense gossip at the hospital.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

102 min, Bio directed by Henry King, Otto Lang with William Holden, Jennifer Jones, Torin Thatcher, Isobel Elsom, Murray Matheson, Virginia Gregg, Richard Loo, Soo Yong, Philip Ahn, Jorja Curtright, Donna Martell.

Note:  Imdb 6.6 out of 10, 50% critic 57% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 258 reviews, TCM Leonard Maltin 3* out of 4*.
Special Note:  Filmed in Repulse Bay, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong, China; Los Angeles, Century City, California.  Jennifer Jones was married to studio mogul David O. Selznick at the time of filming.  Selznick was worried about a romance between Jones and Holden because of his reputation.  Jones constantly complained during production.  Holden tried to make peace with her and offered a bouquet of white roses.  She threw them back at him.  She chewed garlic before kissing scenes with Holden and he thought she did this to annoy him?  A TV Series spin off of this film with one season was shown in 1967 and 1973.  Only a few episodes remain on video tapes because many were erased for re-use.

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