Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)

I'll admit, I am a complete sap and romantic (I think you have to be when you grow up on opera). I've got an unabashed love for melodrama too, and William Holden, of course, is my favorite actor. And so, you think I'd like this movie... and you'd be dead wrong. I absolutely could not wait for this snooze fest to end. If it wasn't for William Holden, I would have turned it off partway through, walked away, and not looked back. And this movie won 3 oscars and was up for quite a few more??

What did I like? The music (I've always loved that song, and I love Alfred Newman scores), and the Hong Kong scenery.

What did I not like? Everything else. The movie's premise was good, the dilemmas and conflicts good, it just absolutely failed for me. The dialog in particular was physically painful to listen to, very unnatural sounding, very forced, a lot of it poorly couched exposition. Blech and blech. I want to like Jennifer Jones, but each time I see a new film of hers, she just bugs me more. And unfortunately, this is her movie. She and William Holden had very little chemistry for me, and that also made the love story just not work. As much as I love him, he could not even begin to save this movie experience for me. What kept me watching was anticipating the end of the film, just because, with evil glee, I couldn't wait to see everything fall apart. How very unkind of me. Unfortunately, what I was hoping would happen, didn't. So even that disappointed me.

That's two hours wasted for which I'd like a refund, please.

(Oh, on a positive note, the DVD had a hour-long biography of William Holden on it. It's one I've seen before, on A&E or something, but it's been ages. Watching that made up for the movie, even if I did cry at the end of it.)

William Holden as a youngster, what a cutie!

7 comments:

  1. Oh, I feel the same way about Jennifer Jones! Probably why I've avoided watching this film for a while.. there's just something about her that bothers me, but I can't pinpoint it. In fact, I almost root against her character in every film I see her in, regardless of whether she's playing a nice or mean character!

    By the way, I love the header :)

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  2. Yes! I was actually rooting against her character in this film. I can't quite pinpoint it either, she just rubs me the wrong way. Her mannerisms, mostly.

    And thanks! I decided it was time to spiff up the joint. I guess I should also thank this lousy movie for at least giving me a lovely screenshot of WH to use here! LOL!

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  3. Wow, hopefully there's room for one more in the club, because I feel the same way about Jennifer Jones. I halfway liked her in Song of Bernadette, so I figured I'd try another. Nope, didn't turn out well...and ever since then my dislike (though that may be too strong) for her has continued to grow. No fun. :/

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  4. How funny, Juliette! That's three of us! What is it about her?? I want to like her, but she makes it impossible. I think I liked her best in Madame Bovary, but even there, I would have preferred another actress in the role.

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  5. Hahaha, that's great. I liked her best in the A&E bio they did of her, but like you said of Madame Bovary, I'd probably have enjoyed another actress playing the role as well. ;)

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  6. Can there be four in the group? hehe. I agree with all of you. She is a pretty lady, and is talented...but, and unfortunately there is a but, I find her aloof and a subtle standoffishness. I read in William Holden's biography, the one that came out towards the end of 2009 by Michaelangelo Capua, that Ms. Jones used to eat a clove of garlic for lunch, just before her kissing scene with WH in this film. She was being a "diva" earlier in the filming about her makeup, and the lighting, etc. Well, despite eating garlic, she expected WH to kiss her. When he tried and couldn't, no matter how hard he tried to be nice and cordial, she became very insulted, which caused the director become upset and yell demaning that he kiss her. WH also got upset and started to argue back. Later on in the filming, WH tried to be friends, so he personally sent a bouquet of roses, I believe it said, to her dressing room. She took the roses and threw them in his face and slammed her door. What a sweet lady, and I mean that in the most sarcastic way.

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  7. Anonymous7:57 PM

    The problem with Jennifer Jones was that she was different. But that's what made her interesting. She had a strange, elusive quality on the screen that very few actresses had, which made her perfect in 'Love is a Many Splendored Thing.' The character, unlike American women, is deeply conservative and conflicted, so to me you've missed the point. To love films from another era you have to take yourself back to a different time, and if you can't you will never enjoy these classics. Who cares if she didn't care for William Holden. It works on the screen. And the fact that they were less than thrilled about each other, adds conviction to this movie. This was a big expensive soap opera, designed to be a hit, and it was. True, Holden has much more sex appeal than she does, but that's the charcter, not the actress. And the garlic story, according to someone who would know, is nonsense. Why would a major star want a big budget film to fail? It doesn't make much sense does it?

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