Legendary director John Ford's final film involving seven dedicated missionary women in China circa 1935 trying to protect themselves from the advances of a Mongolian barbaric warlord and his cut-throat gang of warriors.
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In a mission in China in 1935, Agatha Andrews is a rigid missionary beset by Mongolian bandits led by Warlord chief Tunga Khan. With her are her assistant Jane Argent, staff members Emma Clark, Miss Russell and Miss Binns, head of the British mission, Charles Pather, a teacher at the mission and his pregnant wife Florrie. When Dr. D.R. Cartwright arrives, she agrees to sacrifice herself to the Tunga Khan in exchange for his letting the ladies go free. Written by
Dr. D.R. Cartwright:
Normal? What the hell is so normal about my life? It took me eight years to become a doctor; I gave everything up to study. And for what? Anything I could get. There are no tough jobs for women doctors. I couldn't even open a decent office; I had to sweat it out in the worst hospitals. And when I finally gave myself a little time, for a little love, I wound up pickin' the wrong guy. What do ya think of that, Binnsy? Oh well. It was nice while it lasted. But for keeps he preferred his wife.
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I am still reeling from the powerful ending to this unspoken of movie. John Ford's last entry onto his glittering resumé stuns while it holds your interest at every turn of a scene.
It is so hard to resist talking about the ending of this movie. It seethes with so much devastating darkness. And yet, within this darkness, there is a human victory so profoundly complex as to take your breath away in resignation, anger, shock and inevitable acceptance.
Anne Bancroft has always been one of my favorite actresses. With all her celebrated roles, I still feel that the depth of talent has never been fully appreciated.
Yet, in this role, she displays her talents aplenty.
I recommend this seldomly seen movie and I hope it will be brought to VHS or DVD one day so that more will see this movie and its production will not be in vain.
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