Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (film)
Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing is a 1955 Deluxe color American drama-romance film in CinemaScope. 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 originally from China, Han Suyin (played by Jennifer Jones), only to encounter prejudice from her family and from Hong Kong society.
|Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing|
Original film poster
|Directed by||Henry King|
|Produced by||Buddy Adler|
|Written by||John Patrick|
|Based on||A Many-Splendoured Thing|
by Han Suyin
|Music by||Alfred Newman|
Sammy Fain title song
|Cinematography||Leon Shamroy, ASC|
|Edited by||William H. Reynolds|
|Distributed by||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation|
|Box office||$4 million (US and Canada rentals)|
A widowed Eurasian doctor Han Suyin (Jones) falls in love with a 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. She receives word Mark was killed and she runs to visit their favorite hilltop meeting place.
- William Holden as Mark Elliott
- Jennifer Jones as Dr. Han Suyin
- Torin Thatcher as Humphrey Palmer-Jones
- Isobel Elsom as Adeline Palmer-Jones
- Murray Matheson as Dr. John Keith
- Virginia Gregg as Anne Richards
- Richard Loo as Robert Hung
- Soo Yong as Nora Hung
- Philip Ahn as Third Uncle
- Donna Martell as Suchen, Suyin's sister
The rights to the novel were bought by David Brown of 20th Century Fox for the producer Sol C. Siegel. However, when he left the company the project was given to Buddy Adler. The screenplay struggled to get Motion Picture Production Code approval due to its themes of adultery and miscegenation.
Parts of the film were shot on location in Hong Kong by second-unit director Otto Lang, 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"), about her costumes and about her 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 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. 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.
- The former Mok residence located at 41A Conduit Road became the Foreign Correspondents' Club in 1951. In the film it 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.
Variety characterized it as "beautiful, absorbing."
The film earned rentals of $4 million in the United States of America and Canada.
In Ireland and Quebec (Canada), the censors did not like the suggestions of divorce and cut the film to make it appear that Holden was single.
Awards and honorsEdit
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipients and nominees||Result|
|Academy Awards||March 21, 1956||Best Picture||Buddy Adler||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Leading Role||Jennifer Jones|
|Best Cinematography, Color||Leon Shamroy|
|Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Color||Art Direction: Lyle R. Wheeler and George Davis;|
Set Decoration: Walter M. Scott and Jack Stubbs
|Best Costume Design, Color||Charles LeMaire||Won|
|Best Sound Recording||Carlton W. Faulkner, Twentieth Century-Fox Sound Department||Nominated|
|Best Music, Original Song||Music: Sammy Fain
Lyrics: Paul Francis Webster
For the song "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing"
|Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture||Alfred Newman|
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, Danny Williams, 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 won the Academy Award for Best Song, and the recording by The Four Aces went to #1 on the charts for three weeks in 1955, shortly before rock and roll became a dominant force on the charts. Newman's orchestral score, which made heavy use of Fain's tune, also received an Oscar.
- 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
- Cohn, Lawrence (October 15, 1990). "All-Time Film Rental Champs". Variety. p. M170.
- Epstein. Page 317.
- Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Michelangelo Capua (2009). William Holden: A Biography. McFarland. pp. 87–90. ISBN 9780786444403.
- Epstein. Page 321.
- Foreign Correspondents' Club - History - 41A Conduit Road Archived 2014-05-17 at the Wayback Machine
- "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. Archived from the original on 2012-10-05. Retrieved 2013-02-10.
- "Censor Changes Plot". Variety. January 18, 1956. p. 1. Retrieved August 25, 2019 – via Archive.org.
- "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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (film).|
- Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing on IMDb
- Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing at Rotten Tomatoes
- Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing at AllMovie
- Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing at the TCM Movie Database
- Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing at the American Film Institute Catalog
- 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