ByMichael Laskaris, writer at
Brooklyn-based yoga practitioner, writer/editor and self-educated film buff.
Michael Laskaris


Set in China during the Sino-Japanese War, Ingrid Bergman plays Gladys Aylward, an English missionary who guides hundreds of orphans through enemy territory and into safety. Its flaws and cultural insensitivities are obvious: Bergman is miscast as Aylward, Curt Jurgens and Robert Donat both play Easterners, Asian stereotypes are apparent (but refreshingly subdued), etc. Suspension of disbelief is necessary, but once forgiven for it faults, Mark Robson’s film can be viewed as one of the best of the 50s Hollywood melodramas. It’s a unique gem featuring a wonderful story, stunning widescreen photography (courtesy of Freddie Young), and a treatment of cross-cultural politics that is surprisingly sharp for a film of the era.


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