Movie review: ‘Love is a Many-Splendored Thing’ (1955), stars Jennifer Jones and William Holden

Drama/Romance/Biography. Color. Rated PG for themes (Canada).

Han Suyin (Jennifer Jones) is a widowed, Eurasian doctor working in a hospital in Hong Kong in 1949, during the closing days of the Chinese Civil War. Bright and skilled, she is very dedicated to her work. One evening, she attends a party where she meets US foreign correspondent Mark Elliot (William Holden), who is smitten with her at first sight and asks her out to dinner.

Han feels one dinner-date is harmless as she never intends to fall in love again, so she accepts the invite. As they get to know each other better, it is apparent that Han and Mark are obviously attracted to each other—but Han feels torn by the racial and cultural differences between them. She is Eurasian: of European and Chinese descent; and he is an American. Han is also only too aware of how cross-cultural romances are deeply frowned upon by the society around them.

A few weeks later, an urgent cable arrives from Han's family in China, asking for her help with a family crisis. Han must now decide if she will abide by the lifelong expectations placed upon her by her Chinese family or follow her own heart. The family's crisis also brings Mark's and Han's relationship to a crucial turning point.

Love is a Many-Splendored Thing is a realistic, moving drama about two intelligent adults from different countries that faced the difficulties of falling in love in the prejudiced, late 1940s Hong Kong world they lived in. Most of the movie was filmed in Hong Kong, giving it a truly authentic, third-world ambience. This one-hour, forty-two minute, 1955 Twentieth Century Fox film release was based on the novel, “A Many-Splendored Thing” by Han Suyin. Directed by Henry King, it was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Viewers may appreciate that this film also touches on deeper themes, including: patriotism, family loyalty, racial prejudice, and war.

Above all, Love is a Many-Splendored Thing stands out as a picture of beauty and hope during a dark time in China's history. Jennifer Jones and William Holden make us remember what it was like to fall in love for the first time and cherish all the emotions that were a part of it.

Indeed, a number of things make this classic film very memorable: the touching dialogue, its vivid cinematography, the poetic theme song, and the solid acting performances of Jennifer Jones and William Holden. You won't want to miss it!


Movie trailer: 'Love is a Many-Splendored Thing' (1955)

starring Jennifer Jones and William Holden.

Appropriate for viewing with kids ages 12 and up. Check your favorite local and online movie rental stores, or the public library for availability.

If you enjoy reading about classic movies and want to be notified when a new movie review is posted by this author, please select the Subscribe button at the left of this page.

Portland, Oregon residents can borrow Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955) on DVD at the Multnomah County Library, tel. 503-988-5234. Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955) in DVD format can be rented at Movie Madness, 4320 SE Belmont, Portland, Oregon, 97215, tel. 503-234-4363.


Author, poet, columnist, and speaker JENNIFER ANNE FABREGAS MESSING of Portland, Oregon, is a wife, and mother of three children. She has a bachelor's degree in Christian Education and a diploma in Journalism and Short Story Writing. A past president of the Oregon Christian Writers, Jennifer Anne has over 200 articles, short stories, movie reviews, and poems published in 60 magazines and books, including: The Christian Journal, Evangel, LIVE, Standard, Bible Advocate, Christian Fiction Online and Nudges from God. Her latest book, EVERLASTING LOVE: Romantic Vignettes for a Woman's Heart is now available in trade paperback and e-book format from Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, and Smashwords. Visit the BOOKS page of this website to order her books.

Copyrighted © 2017 by Jennifer Anne Fabregas Messing. All rights reserved. Contact the author for reprint information. Email:

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Google Classic