Religious

Inn of the Sixth Happiness Inn of the Sixth Happiness

Alan Burgess’ novel The Small Woman was the source for the British/American co-production Inn of the Sixth Happiness. Set in the China of the 1930s, the film stars Ingrid Bergman as real-life missionary Gladys Aylward. Against the advice of practically everyone, Gladys heads into the war-ravaged interior to spread the Christian gospel. She finds a powerful ally in the form of an elderly Mandarin (Robert Donat) who, despite his early efforts to rid himself of the troublesome Gladys, eventually converts to Christianity. Gladys’ burgeoning romance with Chinese army officer Lin Nan (Curt Jurgens) is interrupted when she is obliged to guide a group of Chinese children to safety over some of the most treacherous of Northern China’s mountain regions. The film served to breathe new life into the old children’s nonsense song This Old Man (aka Knick, Knack, Paddywhack). ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

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Nun's Story, The Nun’s Story, The (1959)

Audrey Hepburn stars in The Nun’s Story as Sister Luke, postulant of a Belgian order of nuns. Though frequently disillusioned in her efforts to spread good will — at one point she is nearly killed by a mental patient (Colleen Dewhurst) — Sister Luke perseveres. Sent as a nurse to the Belgian Congo, an assignment she’d been hoping for, Sister Luke is disappointed to learn that she will not be ministering to the natives but to European patients. Through the example of no-nonsense chief surgeon Peter Finch, the nun sheds her idealism and becomes a diligent worker — so much so that she contracts tuberculosis. Upon the outbreak of World War II, Sister Luke tries to honor the edicts of her order and not take sides, but this becomes impossible when her father (Dean Jagger) is killed by the Nazis. Realizing that she cannot remain true to her vows, Sister Luke leaves the order and returns to civilian life. The Nun’s Story ends with a long, silent sequence in which Sister Luke divests herself of her religious robes, dons street garb, and walks out to an uncertain future. There is no background music: director Fred Zinnemann decided that triumphant music would indicate that Sister Luke’s decision was the right one, while tragic music would suggest that she is doing wrong. Rather than make an editorial comment, the director decided against music, allowing the audience members to fill in the blanks themselves. The Nun’s Story is based on the book by Kathryn Hulme, whose depiction of convent life was a lot harsher and more judgmental than anything seen in the film. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

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