Not sure if this is a drama or an epic considering how long and expansive it is. I had been wanting to see this for years and finally decided to purchase it online as usually happens when I give up hope on ever finding it in New Zealand.
My DVD edition has a wonderful audio commentary with experts on Columbia studios and real life English parlour maid Gladys Alyward who left England for China and became one of the most celebrated missionary's of the twentieth century.
Through his comments it is clear that, though the film makes some creative changes to the life of Bergman's character, the cutting and adding is done more or less intellogently intelligently and with a consistent faithfulness to the overall story and its characters. The biggest change is the romance between the missionary and the Eurasion colonel. Unlike modern hollywood however the films creators never make this any more than a lovely little sub plot which acted out beautifully by Ingrid Bergman and Curt Jurgens.
The film I think was shot in Thaland and the locations, esp near the end of the film are breath taking. I imagine it must have cost a lot of money to make but i understand it recouped a great deal of money on its initial relsease.
For anyone who likes history, China or just another great performance from the lumonous Ingrid Bergman this is a must see.
Like you, I've been meaning to see this film for years. Thanks for the great review and also reminding me to rent it soon.
I saw the film many years ago and was impressed. If my memory serves me the beautiful Ingrid Bergman, is as good as ever and so is her leading man Kurt Jurgens who becomes her romantic link. Robert Donat is also in there some where. I wouldn't mind seeing it again. I though TCM would have screened it by now .Is it on DVD. Cheers Pete.
Yep on Dvd and Robert Donat's last lines in the film are "we will not see each other again, i think." This was his final film so quite a nice exit line. He was ill throughout the film but gives a marvelous performance.
[Spoiler information alert]
Well, I just watched The Inn of the Sixth Happiness for the first time. For the first
segment of the film, they almost had me convinced that Ingrid was
Gladys, but as her smile and the lighting and make-up improved that "most
beautiful woman in the world" thing of hers came shining through; I couldn't see Gladys any more. It was luminous Ingrid Bergman. They finally solved the problem on the mountain march by putting a dirty rag on her head and smearing some mud on her face. Again it was Gladys. More importantly, Bergman dislays two of Gladys' best characteristics in her portrayal: unshakable courage and headstrong feminism long before its time.
Finally, I quite agree that scenery is breathtaking in the last 45 minutes our of the film. The love story heats up too, but the finale is dominated by Ingrid and a hundred refugee orphans stealing your heart.