Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)

[6.5]

Jennifer Jones and William Holden star as a widowed Eurasian doctor and a married American news correspondent who fall in love despite cultural differences and wartime separations during China’s communist revolution. Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing is one of the quintessential ’50s romance movies. It’s about strangers falling in love in an exotic land, aided as these lovers often are by sandy beaches and rolling waves, not to mention a sweeping score from Alfred Newman. And there’s also the requisite bittersweet ending.

The film is most memorable during it’s ‘getting to know you’ phase. The third act conflict seems disconnected from the lovers’ previous concerns in acts one and two, which include keeping up appearances for Jones’ high society acquaintances and getting her Chinese family’s blessing for marriage. Even if the ending feels a little tacked on, the two leads carry the film admirably. The story may feel as old as time to seasoned movie-goers, but Jones and Holden make you believe it’s brand new for them.

Academy Awards: Best Song (“Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing”), Best Score, Best Costume Design

Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Actress (Jones), Cinematography, Sound Recording, Art Direction

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