The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958)

Credit: moniqueclassique.wordpress.comAfter China is invaded by Japan, one English woman has to sneak more than 100 Chinese orphans over the mountains to safety. But that’s after she stops foot-binding and befriends wild criminals. True story.


I really, really enjoyed this movie. And I’m not just saying that because I watched it between midnight and 3am. (I tend to get more emotional than normal after 11:45.)

credit: thegreateachers.blogspot.comOH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: In real life, the inn was called The Inn of the Eight Happinesses. All I can say is THANK GOODNESS the producers changed the movie’s title to something so different and creative—full of intrigue, mystery and seduction. I just love exciting movie titles like this one. Go number six.

The movie opens with this text:

This story is based upon the life of Gladys Aylward, a woman of our time, who was and is dedicated to the simple, joyful and rare belief that we are all responsible for each other.

Gladys Aylward felt a spiritual pull toward the people of China, but everyone in England told her she didn’t have the skills or the experience to make a difference. They told Gladys the only thing she was good for was being a maid.

credit: wikipedia

The real Gladys Aylward

But Gladys went anyway, and ended up becoming a household name among China’s rural population.

We all have things we were meant to do in our lives. For us to recognize those purposes we must first trust in our ability to receive communication from God through the Holy Spirit.

But recognizing revelation is not enough. To fulfill our purposes in life, we must also trust in our ability to make correct decisions based on those revelations—and that usually requires taking a few faith-filled steps into the dark.

We will never know what we are capable of without completely, totally trusting in God.

 “And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.” – 1 Nephi 4:6

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2 Responses to The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958)

  1. I like the movie too, even though I don’t consider it a very inspired or faithful adaptation of the book. Gladys Aylward, a short, dark-haired Cockney performing this arduous journey while in poor health, was apparently horrified at the casting of a tall, beautiful, blonde Swede to portray her, and at all the liberties the makers of the film took with the facts of her story. If you read the book (entitled “The Small Woman”!), you’ll find that Gladys lost her love (the colonel) to the war, and that she never abandoned the kids at the end of the trip to go off into the sunset with a man. In her real, more inspiring life, she went on to found a children’s home in Taiwan, and worked with them until she was 60.

    Still, you can accept and enjoy the movie on its own 1950s terms. At that time Hollywood still had to “glam up” true-life stories, so you get a pretty heroine, non-Asians to play the main Chinese parts, and the photographically lovely mountains of Wales, standing in for China. If the ideas are good enough, they can still peek through even under 50 pounds of makeup.

    • Adam says:

      I also read the colonel was actually 100% Chinese (unlike the movie) and that she thought he’d be offended by being portrayed as half European. Like you say, still an enjoyable movie though, despite all the liberties Hollywood took with the real story – thanks for the thoughtful comment!

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