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 c
A classic old-fashioned melodrama has Bergman as the Liverpudlian (with an inexplicable Scandinavian accent) Gladys Aylward, convinced God wants her to go to China as a missionary despite her lack of qualifications. She saves her pennies, takes the Trans-Siberian Railway and arrives in China to become an assistant innkeeper. She subsequently endures a great many hardships before the climactic, much celebrated rescue sequence where Aylward leads 100 kids to safety from the Jap invaders with a stirring rendition of Knick Knack Paddywack. Donat is the local Mandarin, Jurgens the half-Chinese military love-interest, and the movie a fabulous, widescreen weepy epic.
Tense and beautifully photographed biopic of a working class (female) hero.