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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Inn Of The Sixth Happiness (1958)

A maid (Ingrid Bergman) with a strong Christian fervor is determined to go to China as a missionary but she is rejected because of her lack of education. By saving her money and with the assistance of a benefactor (Ronald Squire), she finally makes it to China to become the assistant of a elderly missionary (Athene Seyler) and that's where her real story begins. Based on the remarkable true story of Gladys Aylward, the film takes liberties with many of the facts in order to bolster up the drama like a love interest in the form of Curt Jurgens as a Eurasian colonel. Directed by Mark Robson, the film is a lengthy two and a half hours but the story is so engrossing that one isn't cognizant of the running time. Isobel Lennart's script provides enough humor to relax the film's more intense situations. The highlight of the film is Bergman's three week march through the mountains with 100 children to escape Japanese soldiers and bring the children to safety. Robert Donat is quite good as the Mandarin ruler in his final film role (he passed on before the film was released). The film abounds in sentiment but, for the most part, it's an honest sentiment rather than that of the manipulative kind. Freddie Young did the cinematography and the glorious score is by Malcolm Arnold. With Tsai Chin and Burt Kwouk.

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