Movie Review – Love is a Many Splendored Thing (1955)

William Holden and Jennifer Jones (who also starred in the excellent Carrie, which you should check out) are the couple who fall in love in this romance film. Jennifer Jones is Doctor Han Suyin, a woman of Eurasian descent, while Holden plays Mark Elliot, a war correspondent. The two of them fall in love, despite Han’s claims that her heart is empty and she doesn’t want anything to do with love.

 I thought the film was a bit slow to start off with and the initial interactions between the two was a little force, it seemed that Mark used some lines which really wouldn’t work in real life, but in a film they’re seen as charming. However, as the film progressed their chemistry became apparent and their relationship felt natural and believable. I liked how both of them changed a little bit and how the forces that threatened to tug them apart weren’t overly melodramatic but just a natural part of life. I loved Jennifer Jones in Carrie and she shines here as well, especially towards the end. William Holden was as consistent as ever but some of the supporting characters were very weak (I’m thinking specifically of Han’s colleague). 

The cinematography was excellent with some great shots and scenery (the hill!) and the score was fantastic. I loved the main theme, although I preferred it without the lyrics. Where the film falls down a little bit, however, is with the handling of the racial differences. Apparently being Eurasian was a big deal, but at some times the film veered into propaganda as they talked about how bad communism was and this detracted from the love story. Still, the warmth between the two leads and the tension caused by them fighting against the barriers to their relationship makes this one a really good film. 

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