Love is a Many-Splendored Thing

After I returned home from work, I watched “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing,” a movie that was on KQED a couple of weeks ago.  It had positive qualities, like Asian actors in many of the roles and some beautiful cinematography showing off Hong Kong, although it had sappy qualities in its love story.  Also, it had Jennifer Jones as a Eurasian woman, although it wasn’t as wildly outrageous as seeing John Wayne or Mickey Rooney playing non-white roles.  I guess I can accept that the real Han Suyin was superstitious and went to see fortune tellers, and I can see how she encountered racial prejudice.  I thought that Jennifer Jones gave us a false moment at the end with the smiling and waving as if she was hallucinating.  William Holden was the journalist Mark Elliot, and in his romantic lead persona, he was much like he was in “Sunset Boulevard.”  I couldn’t see what his appeal was supposed to be.  He was married.  Han Suyin seemed like the interesting one, smart enough to be a doctor.  What does a reporter do, anyway?  A reporter writes about other people who are doing something.  Even Woodward and Bernstein weren’t as interesting as the people they wrote about.  War breaks out, and Mark goes out to cover it.  All the suggestions of good luck in this story, like the butterflies and blue beetles, just go to show that the whole situation is doomed.  I have the view that superstition is foolish.  A doctor shouldn’t follow superstitions.  Neither should baseball managers, including Bob Melvin.  I could imagine going out to see this movie in 1955 and being impressed with the CinemaScope photography.  On the DVD, the images were not so sharp and the color was faded.  I kept looking at Jennifer Jones’ eyes, and I wanted to see if she was writing the Chinese characters in one scene.  I guess I wasn’t convinced that she was half Chinese.  I wasn’t convinced that David Carradine was half Chinese, either, when I watched him in the Kung Fu television series years ago.  I liked some moments in the movie, like Han and Mark swimming to a house, or the people in the enclosure.  The final scene with the crying that went on for a long time felt different from a lot of Hollywood films.  The grief went on and on, right on through the end.  I felt that it was going on beyond the end of the movie for eternity.  The themes of the movie felt like a bridge to modern times, with interracial relationships and the United States involved in wars in other parts of the world.  There was divorce in there, and a woman dealing with work and facing dismissal for stupid reasons.  Hong Kong was something of a small town in 1949, apparently.  It made me think back on the Panama Canal controversy in the late 1970s.  I wouldn’t rank this movie love story as one of my favorites.  Looking back, one of the movies I liked was “Love Story,” which made me feel that I had witnessed a lot.  I always think about the part where Ali says she wanted Ryan to take her to the hospital.  Part of the power of that movie was that they were together at the end, like what happened with Erin Moran a few days ago, apparently.  A series of letters isn’t quite as dramatic, especially for the cameras and the movie audience out there taking in these CinemaScope images.  What is rather funny to think about is that Jones and Holden apparently did not like each other.  Jones complained that her make-up made her look old.  Her appearance does seem to change throughout the movie.  I thought the theme song was sappy and unbearable.  If you’re in love and you’re commenting about what love is, you are definitely an idiot.  It would be just as valid if you claimed that “Love is a Wild Thing,” for instance.  I was not alive during the 1950s, so I missed out on some things.  If I were ever to meet Martin Scorsese, I would ask him what he thought about a movie like this.  I couldn’t help thinking about the end of William Holden’s life, hitting his head on a table and bleeding to death.  It was twenty-six years after this movie.  One of the special features of the DVD was “William Holden: An Untamed Spirit,” which looked like a good program, but I didn’t sit through all of it.  I don’t know if I’ll ever have the time to watch all of this stuff.  I read about the screenwriter John Patrick, who also wrote “Three Coins in the Fountain.”  He committed suicide in 1995 at age 90.  Henry King was nominated for the Best Director Oscar twice, for “The Song of Bernadette” and “Wilson.”  He went on to direct “Carousel.”  He died in 1982 at age 96.  Jennifer Jones’ last movie appearance was in “The Towering Inferno.”  She lived for a long time, until 2009 at age 90.  Han Suyin died on November 2, 2012 at age 95 in Lausanne, Switzerland.  I watched Stephen Colbert, and saw that he took out Dave Grohl’s old report card from the sixth grade, which had all sorts of Needs Improvement and Unsatisfactory comments.  I couldn’t bring himself to watch James Corden because I don’t like his format of bringing out all of the guests at once.  Some of the people who died on April 27 include Edward R. Murrow (1965), Olivier Messiaen (1992), Carlos Castaneda (1998), Al Hirt (1999), and Vicki Sue Robinson (2000).  Today is a birthday for Sheena Easton (58) and Ace Frehley (66).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 27, David Bowie was detained at the Polish-Russian border in 1976 as officials confiscated his Nazi memorabilia.  In 1981, Ringo Starr married Barbara Bach, with Paul McCartney and George Harrison attending the ceremony.  In 1990, Axl Rose married Erin Everly, although the marriage lasted only 27 days.  In 1999, Al Hirt died of liver failure at age 76 in New Orleans.

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