All her life Englishwoman Gladys Aylward knew that China was the place where she belonged. Not qualified to be sent there as a missionary, Gladys works as a domestic to earn the money to send herself to a poor, remote village. There she eventually lives a full and happy life: running the inn, acting as "foot inspector", advising the local Mandarin. and even winning the heart of mixed-race Captain Lin Nan. But Gladys discovers her real destiny when the country is invaded by Japan and the Chinese children need her to save their lives.Written by
Robert Donat had suffered from chronic asthma all his life, and had turned down many offers because of this. He worked very little during the 1950s, and it is reputed that he was almost penniless when he accepted the role in this film. When he died, he left just £25,000 in his will--which was his salary from this film. See more »
As the children come marching into town at the end of the movie singing "This Old Man", their singing voices have a distinctly British accent although all the children are native Chinese. See more »
My name is Gladys Aylward. I've written to the head of the missionary society. His reply stated that he'd see me if I ever came to London. If he's busy, I can wait.
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The opening title card reads: "This story is based upon the life of Gladys Aylward, a woman of our time, who was, and is dedicated to the simple, joyful and rare belief that we are all responsible for each other." See more »
This is a story of a real English woman (Gladys Aylward) who gave her life for the Chinese people as a missionary with surprisingly strong will.
She visited the office of China Inland Mission Center in London only to be refused. On her way to the introduced employer for a housemaid, she stopped by a travel agent and booked a train to China via Siberia. In this way, she always does what she believes she ought to do, upon belief of that God protects and leads her. She shows her sanguine attitude and tireless energy which are typical to God believers. One may doubt if such a woman actually exists, but I remember similar woman. I read an autobiography ("Chasing the Dragon" by Jackie Pulllinger) of another English woman who served as a missionary at the Walled City of Hong Kong. From the memory of my surprise from the book, I could believe that Cladys Aylward actually existed.
I think Ingrid Bergman acted this woman very well. However, this movie has many embroideries and dramatizations that are typical to 1950s Hollywood movies. For example, English language dominates the movie in China, and the scene the children are welcomed amid hearty cheers of people of Sian. The most questioned embroidery is that the colonel is given Caucasian blood and made to the lover of Cladys.
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