LOVE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING is one of the quintessential 50s soap operas, a box-office success which spawned prodigious record sales with versions of the soaring main theme music composed by Alfred Newman.
Based on a true-account book written by Han Suyin, portrayed in this 1955 weepie by Jennifer Jones, it portrays the doomed love affair of a Eurasian doctor (Jones) and an American correspondent (William Holden) in Hong Kong, during the Korean War.
Producing the story, Buddy Adler had handsome background footage shot in Hong Kong, which cameraman Leon Shamroy and veteran director Henry King matched in with the two attractive stars.
The vistas of the Crown Colony as it once was are still nice to take in, the costume design is well done, the music twinges memories and the acting is quite good, with Holden and Jones making a believable pair of lovers. It’s testament to their professionalism that they pulled it off, as they couldn’t stand each other during the production.
It’s all too clean and tidy, of course, but suds to the side, the movie holds up as a romantic memoir and time capsule. “Once, on a high and windy hill...”
Newman’s score won an Oscar, as did the song adaptation (Paul Francis Webster & Sammy Fain bat another one) and the Costume Design. Nominations went to the Picture, Jones for Actress, the Art Direction, Sound and Cinematography. Hanky-soaking patrons paid homage with $6,000,000.
102 minutes, with Torin Thatcher, Isobel Elsom, Murray Matheson, Richard Loo, Philip Ahn, Virginia Gregg, James Hong and Keye Luke.