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Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing

Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing(1955)


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The working title of this film was A Many-Splendored Thing. As noted by the Variety review, the title is "part of a quotation from `The Kingdom of God' by religious poet Francis Thompson." Although several contemporary sources refer to Murray Matheson's character as "Dr. Tam," he is called "Dr. John Keith" in the film. William Holden was borrowed from Paramount for the production. Hollywood Reporter news items include Benson Fong, Sammee Tong, Jean Gale, Richard Wang, John Bogden, Byron Fitzpatrick and Mary Louie in the cast, but their appearance in the released picture has not been confirmed.
       Other Hollywood Reporter news items noted that portions of the film were shot on location in Hong Kong and at Topanga Canyon, CA. According to a modern source, the location filming in Hong Kong was finished before writer John Patrick had completed the screenplay, and he was then forced to conform the script to accommodate the footage. According to May 1955 studio press materials, the film was to contain a scene in which "Han Suyin" is offered her job back by "Palmer-Jones" on the condition that they stay "friendly," but Suyin rejects his advances. Although the finished picture does contain a scene in which "Suzanne" offers to intercede with Palmer-Jones on Suyin's behalf, it does not have the sequence between Suyin and Palmer-Jones.
       As reported by several reviews of the film, Han Suyin's "autobiographical novel" told the story of her life as a Eurasian doctor in Hong Kong, and of her love affair with a married, British war correspondent. [The lead male character was changed to an American for the film after Holden was cast]. According to information in the film's file in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the book's subject matter of adultery and miscegination provoked the PCA to reject it as potential film material several times. Twentieth Century-Fox first presented the book to the PCA office for consideration in late 1952. When the story was rejected as "being a justification and glorification of adultery," the studio responded that production chief Darryl F. Zanuck "had had the same opinion" but wished to obtain an "official reaction." M-G-M also indicated an interest in the book in 1952.
       In early March 1955, Fox submitted its first draft of the screenplay, which was rejected by the PCA for its depiction of adultery. On March 21, 1955, in response to script changes presented by the studio, PCA official Geoffrey Shurlock again warned the studio not to glorify the adultery and to remember that the story was about "a very unconventional and dangerous relationship, and must be so presented." After a series of conferences between the studio and the PCA, with some changes being made in footage that was already shot to reduce the implication that "Mark Elliott" and "Suyin" were involved in a sexual relationship, the film was approved in mid-May 1955.
       According to a July 14, 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item, the film was to receive simultaneous world premieres in New York and Singapore, but the exact opening date in Singapore has not been confirmed. The picture received Academy Awards for Best Costume Design (Color), Best Music (Scoring Dramatic or Comedy Picture) and Best Song ("Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing") and was nominated for Best Actress, Best Art Direction (Color), Best Cinematography (Color), Best Sound Recording and Best Picture. The title song was already a very popular hit by the time the picture was released, and several reviews surmised that it would help the film achieve box-office success. The CBS television network broadcast a half-hour soap opera entitled Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing from September 18, 1967 to March 23, 1973. Set in San Francisco, the series depicted the lives of three families and the problems of inter-racial love and marriage.