The Inn of the Sixth Happiness

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness is a 1958 20th Century Fox film based on the true story of Gladys Aylward, a tenacious British woman, who became a missionary in China during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Directed by Mark Robson, who received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director, the film stars Ingrid Bergman as Aylward and Curt Jürgens as her love interest, Captain Lin Nan, a Chinese Army officer with a Dutch father. Robert Donat, who played the mandarin of the town in which Aylward lived, died before the film was released. The musical score was composed and conducted by Malcolm Arnold. The cinematography was by Freddie Young.


The story begins with Aylward (Ingrid Bergman) being rejected as a potential missionary to China because of her lack of education. Dr. Robinson (Moultrie Kelsall), the senior missionary, feels sorry for her and secures her a position in the home of Sir Francis Jamison (Ronald Squire), a veteran explorer with contacts in China. Over the next few months, Aylward saves her money to purchase a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Railway, choosing the more dangerous overland route to the East because it is less expensive. Sir Francis writes to his only surviving friend in China, veteran missionary, Jeannie Lawson (Athene Seyler), who agrees to accept Gladys as a much-needed assistant at her mission in the remote county of Yangcheng. Lawson has set up an inn for muleteers, where the men can get clean food for their animals, communal beds without bugs, a good hot meal and Lawson's free stories (from the Bible). The film follows Aylward's acculturation, until tragedy strikes and Lawson dies when a balcony collapses. Captain Lin (Curt Jürgens), the commander of Yancheng's garrison, advises Aylward to go home and wishes her well as he leaves.