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"LOVE IS A MANY SPENDOURED THING" aargh!


misswonderly3
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This is another candidate for the most frequently aired movie on TCM. But that's not why I posted this thread with an "Aargh!" comment.

Let's face it, the film is one of those much-ado-about-nothing overblown melodramas. And I like William Holden. I wanted to like this film. I expected I'd like this film. But its grandiose "look at how relevent we are" self-congratulatory tone drives me crazy!

And that soundtrack just never quits! Couldn't the film's composer have come up with a few other musical themes, rather than 16 variations on "Love is a Many Splendoured Thing" ? Talk about the soundtrack upstaging the movie !

I know it's supposed to be a "serious" examination of inter-racial love, and race relations in general. And, I guess, racism ( on both sides). And maybe for the time it was made, it was. But it doesn't age well.

And after about 50 minutes of Jennifer Jones looking by turns pained and exhilarated, forever flipping her beautiful hair ( a wig, I suppose? not that it matters) and lighting cigs with Holden, 50 minutes of Jen and Bill flying around on the beach, by turns philosophizing about life, love, and all that's wrong with the world, and making out, I can't handle it any more !

 

So if there are people out there who like *Love is a Many Splendoured Thing*, please step up and tell me why. Maybe I'm missing something.

(by the way, I've seen it before, my grouchy take on it is not just based on this evening's viewing.)

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Nov 11, 2012 9:07 PM

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For some reason, I'd never seen it -- although I was well aware of it.

 

 

Yes, it was highly predictable. Yes, the music was annoying. Yes, the camera angles were all the same. Yes, people were constantly coming and going somewhere. Yes, the windy hill scenes were trite. Yes, I have difficulty with films where Americans and Brits play "other." So, I agree with several of your points, missw.

 

 

But I went with it. I think if I were not 52 and have not seen soooo many films and had seen it back in the '50s, I probably would have been a big puddle of tears on the floor.

 

 

Overall, I liked it . . . but it's not making it into my Top 10 of all time. It did, however, inspire me to learn more about this woman and the historical context. Thanks, RO, for letting me know in the intro that it's based on a true story!

 

 

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I'm going to be honest, as soon as Jennifer Jones opened her mouth and said something about being half Chinese and some other lady telling her "Oh you shouldn't be ashamed of being EURASIAN" I decided to change the channel.

 

I know this movie was made in the 1950s and I'm supposed to take everything into context but....yeah.... that and the music being re-played like 100 times throughout the film turned me off.

 

Usually I like and appreciate most movie classics on TCM but that is certainly one I can live without for a long time!

 

Edited by: MerryPickford on Nov 11, 2012 9:56 PM

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> {quote:title=dpompper wrote:}{quote}

> Just read on Wikipedia (I know, I know) that she died on Nov. 2, 2012 (and Suyin Han was her pen name).

>

> My guess is that tonight's intro was taped before that because it was unusual that RO didn't mention it (unless Wikipedia is wrong -- which is always a possibility).

>

>

> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_Suyin

>

During his closing comments, Osborne suddenly looked stage-left as he was about to utter the year of Jones's death, as though the TelePrompTer in front of him suddenly went dead. Weird. And he's starting to look rather haggard. I guess the vacation really didn't help.

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> {quote:title=dpompper wrote:}{quote}

> Just read on Wikipedia (I know, I know) that she died on Nov. 2, 2012 (and Suyin Han was her pen name).

>

> My guess is that tonight's intro was taped before that because it was unusual that RO didn't mention it (unless Wikipedia is wrong -- which is always a possibility).

>

>

> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_Suyin

>

 

Yes, she passed away on November 2, 2012. Probably just a coincidence that this film was aired on TCM when it did...

 

Obituary in "The Guardian" newspaper here:

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/nov/04/han-suyin

 

Another obit. from "The New York Times" here:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/06/world/asia/han-suyin-dies-wrote-sweeping-fiction.html?_r=0

 

Another interesting article here: http://draltang01.blogspot.ca/2007/05/han-suyin-lady-doctor-in-johor-bahru.html

 

University of Minnesota web page about her here:

 

http://voices.cla.umn.edu/artistpages/suyinHan.php

 

Apparently, in the 4th volume of her autobiographical series of books, "My House Has two Doors," Han Suyin describes how she sold the movie rights to her novel (so "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing" could be made) only so as to pay for medical treatment for her daughter Tang Yungmei. She had no other interest in the movie and never saw it after it was released.

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We studied this one in film school. When I get a break in residency, I will have to see if I can find the old notes (hopefully I still have them somewhere) and I will read what we were taught about this picture.

 

If I am not mistaken, we watched this one right before PILLOW TALK. We were studying the change in mores in American films of the 1950s.

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For some reason I had heard that Jennifer Jones did not care for William Holden. Not sure why. But I read or heard that she ate cloves of garlic before their kissing scenes. And she would complain to her husband David O. Selznick about things she did not like on the set.

 

William Holden tried to make peace with Jennifer Jones and bought her white roses and Jennifer Jones threw them back at him.

 

I can not watch the movie - it is painful to watch.

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Jennifer Jones didn't like kissing William Holden? She ate garlic before their love scenes? Mon dieu, that's a piece of backstage gossip that's truly interesting. Wonder what the problem was?

I like William Holden, I would have eaten anise seeds before kissing him.

 

TopBilled, I was wondering why a sappy over-wrought melodrama like *Love is a Many Splendoured Thing* would have been on a film course curriculum, but then read the rest of your post, about how it was considered an example of "changing American values in the '50s." Yup, I get that.

Just shows that movies featured in film courses are not necessarily always good movies, they might

be worth studying for other reasons.

 

All you people who were moved by the film, by the "passion" of the couple's love, by their trying to be together despite all the opposition from all sides, I do kind of understand that. There are some "doomed love stories" that I like too - but this just isn't one of them.

 

The whole thing just feels so too, too, grand, so noble, so tragic, those poor star-crossed lovers, blah blah. I'm sure the overbearing music had something to do with it.

Maybe also the fact that not only was there apparently no chemistry between the leads, there was some anti-chemistry. Jones didn't just not connect with Holden, she actively disliked him? No wonder their love scenes didn't come across to me.

 

I don't know, if I'm going to watch an over-wrought angsty love story from the 1950s, I'd rather go with

Douglas Sirk. He's more fun.

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I sort of like this movie, but it may be because my first viewing came on the worst Valentine's Day weekend of my life, about a quarter-century ago. I had just ended up on the losing end of a romantic triangle; the weather outside was cold and snowy; and I was a prime target for a masochistically downbeat love story.

 

 

 

 

 

Granted, the movie has a lot of self-congratulatory preaching about racially mixed marriages, but I've noticed that the film is more entertaining if you make a drinking game out of it: drink a beer every time you hear the film's pretty theme music; drink a shot every time someone describes Jennifer Jones's character aa "Eurasian." (You may want to have some bread or pizza onhand if you're going to play this game. Or an ambulance.)

 

 

 

 

 

By the tiime the film gets to its gloomy climax, (spoiler alert: a spilled can of red paint is apparently meant to imply that one of the film's leads has met a gory demise), I'm always surprisingly engrossed by this story, and have to stay tuned to the (admittedly) memorable finale, with its full-blown final rendition of that Oscar-winning song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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phroso, that's hilarious ! I really am laughing out loud !

 

Hey, that's a great solution you recommend, and it would work not only with *Love is a Many Splendoured Thing*, but any movie with repeated ad nauseum motifs.

 

 

I think I'll get me a good supply of Irish Cream, and haul it out next time I watch, oh I don't know - maybe *Dr. Zhivago*.

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Yeah, you could apply your game concept to all kinds of movies.

I think you've got something there, phroso. Hire a lawyer and get a copyright statement for it, and you'll be in clover.

 

Well, maybe not...but it's a great suggestion for how to get through movies you've seen over and over again. I like *The Wizard of Oz* (who doesn't?) but this approach would give a whole new twist to it (of lemon, maybe.)

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The scariest thing I find about this movie is(yep...I said SCARY!) that I might not get to the Bromo quick enough(from trying to digest the overbaked plot) before I go into diabetic COMA from hearing that SONG too much!

 

 

But for the 1950's, it was atypical of "romance" movies of the times. People just LOVED movies about unrequited love with thick, syrupy music poured over them. Never mind that all the "Eurasian" bigotry was held more in the upper social circles of British snooty aristocracy than the average American. Why, I'm willing to bet most Americans wondered what all the fuss was about!

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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I'm a hopeless romantic, and anytime I want to lift my spirits I'm subject to go to YouTube and play The Four Aces' rendition of the title song.

Music like this is among the many things that makes life a joy.

 

That said, I tried to sit through this movie once, lasted about 20 minutes, and wouldn't do it again on a bet. It's almost as bad as that godawful movie with Alec Guinness playing a Japanese businessman and Rosalind Russell flailing at her quaint conception of a Jewish widow, with an accent right out of The Borscht Belt Little Book of Jewish Jokes. Give me Jennifer Jones in Carrie or Madame Bovary any day, and William Holden in just about anything else other than this clinker.

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You must be referring to *Majority of One*. And yes, it was wretched. And I like both Alec Guiness and Rosalind Russell. But what were they all thinking?

 

Anyway, back to *LIAMST* ( hey, its first 4 initials spell somebody's name): I usually intensely dislike any movie that tries to tell me how to feel, and when to feel it, and that's exactly what I thought this movie was doing.

I am quick to spot films that feel inauthentic - to me, obviously, some of you did not have a problem with that - and manipulative. and unfortunately but not surprisingly, "star-crossed lovers" stories tend to be major offenders in this respect. There are exceptions, but usually this kind of film is simplistic ( yes, despite all the historical and political backdrop), sentimental, and obvious.

 

Another one in this category, but at least it's charming at times, is *Love Affair* and its remake, *An Affair to Remember*. I know the numbers of fans of these two moives are (is?) legion, but baby I don't care. Don't tell me how to feel, and don't try to make me cry. The more you try, the less I'm going to do it. ]:)

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I remember where I heard about Jennifer Jones eating garlic before her kissing scenes with William Holden. Before "Legacy" movies were shown on the Fox Movie Channel, Tom Rothman (Co-CEO, I believe) would give about a 10 minute introduction to the movie. That is where I heard it. I figured since Tom Rothman worked for the studio that made the movie that I could believe the "story".

 

I miss them. Tom Rothman also did a nice introduction to Shirley Temple and the movie "How Green was my Valley".

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<I remember where I heard about Jennifer Jones eating garlic before her kissing scenes with William Holden>

 

 

Perhaps that's why I saw ZERO closeups while both were in the frame and there definitely was no tongue involved in the kissing scenes, that I could see.

 

 

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