Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing [1955]

This love story made in 1955 and set against the backdrop of war is a many-splendored thing: it features a drop-dead gorgeous Eurasian doctor seeking meaning in her life (Jennifer Jones), a dashing but married American war correspondent who's macho yet not afraid to declare his love (William Holden), and a couple of murky subplots to give their relationship its oh-what's-going-to-happen-next edge (her Chinese heritage, his wife, the outbreak of the Korean War). One scene builds beautifully upon the next, accompanied by dialogue that often sounds like poetry: "I will make no mistakes in the name of loneliness," the doctor says near the beginning of their relationship. The movie also makes few mistakes as it combines thoughtful words with Oscar-winning costumes to tell its tale. It even leaves you with a hummable tune--the Academy Award-winning title song--as you reach for the Kleenex. --Valerie J. Nelson

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