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
Anne Bancroft recalled John Ford's tearing pages out of the script and described him as "Marvelous but loony." See more »
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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The final film of a great director that never lost his faith in human nature
John Ford, usually with the reputation of misogynist, directed his last film surrounded by strong female characters and where the male characters are not particularly relevant. The movie is set in China, 1935, where a Civil War is taking place. Anne Bancroft, a female doctor who is also an atheist, says: "I spent years in slum hospitals. I never saw God come down and take care of anyone". Ford, with his catholic roots, allows himself to be pessimistic. Even when Margaret Leighton, a supposed strong believer is confronted by the female doctor, she says: "I've always searched for something that... isn't there. And God is not enough. God help me - He isn't enough".
The title refers to seven women, but the fact is that there are eight: What led us to believe that Anne Bancroft is excluded from the beginning? She wears man's clothes, she smokes and drinks. The loner Bancroft, condemned to always walk alone, like Ethan Edwards in "The Searchers". And what about the final scene, with a rare beauty, where the viewer isn't allowed to watch her fall? She is dressed in woman's clothes for the first time and is prepared to a truly catholic gesture, the sacrifice. "Seven Women" is a beautiful film, almost perfect. Towards the end, we become aware that Mr. Ford will live eternally.
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