Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Many Splendored Thing

Many years ago, my maternal grandmother introduced me to the great 1955 movie "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" starring William Holden and Jennifer Jones. (Grandma had a thing for William Holden, I think.)

Jennifer Jones died Thursday at the age of 90.

Remarking on the actress' passing, Deacon Greg said, "To generations of Catholics, she will always be Bernadette" for playing the title role in the 1943 film "The Song of Bernadette." (Jones took home that year's Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of the young saint.)

Over at In All Things, Fr. Jim Martin, S.J., added:

... Jones' singular performance captivates me every time I see it: her Bernadette is luminous, mysterious and, finally, holy. Her artistry makes "The Song of Bernadette" one of those films that, once I see even a few moments, I must watch the whole movie. ...

In "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" Jones plays a woman who is saintly in her own way: Dr. Han Suyin, a "Eurasian" (Chinese-English) hospital physician living in British Hong Kong who falls in love with a married American journalist.

"Splendored Thing" is one of those admittedly schmaltzy movies from the '50s that is still genuinely romantic and sad. It's easy to watch again and again.

This clip has a few scenes:


Fran said...

Jennifer Jones, rest in peace. I have a weakness for both of those films, both tied to childhood obsessions.

I was obsessed with St. Bernadette from an early age and it was due to that movie! Honestly, when I came back to church in 1990, one of the first things I did was to reread the book Song of Bernadette and to rent the film. One day I will get myself to Lourdes too!

Another childhood obsession (I was a weird kid!) was Hong Kong. I read about it in a picture book and at some point (probably on what was then Channel 9's Million Dollar Movie) saw the film on TV, which fed my appetite for HK. ... See More

Plus such a tragic and dreamy love story! At 12 or 13 it spoke to my inner drama queen.

I have been lucky enough to visit HK twice, and in my mind, I could see Jennifer Jones in that movie in many places!

Paul said...

Fran, I don't think having a childhood interest in Hong Kong is weird at all!

(A favorite book of mine from late childhood or early teen years was sort of an old literary biography of Tz'u-Hsi, the Empress Dowager of China.)