Saturday, 15 February 2014

Gladys Aylward and the Inn of Sixth Happiness

A film which I enjoyed seeing again was based this time on the true story of Gladys Aylward the Christian Mission who story was told by Alan Burgess in the Small Woman 1957 and hen made into the film The Inn of Sixth Happiness in 1958 which starred Ingrid Bergman. From a working class family working as a housemaid she spent her life savings in 1932 to travel by train across Europe to China against best advice having been rejected by a missionary society of her faith.

She worked with n old missionary to found the Inn of Sixth happiness which provide accommodation for travellers and the goods trains of pack animals but her success came later when she took on the job as foot inspector for the government persuading mothers and their husbands to stop the practice of binding the feet of young girls. This established the confidence of the people which was prove so valuable later, bringing over 100 children to safety through mountains from the advancing Japanese forces in 1939 , returning to the UK. She was denied re-entry into China by the Communists and settled in Taiwan where she founded and ran an orphanage until her death in 1970 aged 68. Various books, films and documentaries have been written and produced with a book in 2005 and a documentary as recent as 2008. The Ingrid Bergman film had Robert Donat plying the wise local Mandarin who makes the best use of the young woman and converts to Christianity because of her courage and character. There is also a love interest implanted with Curt Jurgens although in reality this cockney small stature woman never kissed a man and she hated the inaccuracies in the film with its suggestion that she game up the work for the Chinese colonel. She did become a citizen of China in 1936.




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