Dir: Mark Robson
Starring: Ingrid Bergman and Robert Donat
An English missionary’s experience in China
This classic DeLuxe Color film tells the story of Gladys Aylward, evangelical Christian missionary to China, and is based on the 1957 book The Small Woman by Alan Burgess. However, although it is a beautiful and mostly true story it seems such a shame that Hollywood had to contrive such nonsense just to tell it. Shot almost entirely on location in Snowdonia, there are excellent opening scenes at London Liverpool Street station which include a good shot of Class N7/1 0-6-2T No.69665 arriving with a train. The studio-based railway journey to China starts off with a departure from Liverpool Street and the initial back-projection shows row upon row of 4-wheel box vans. A couple of Continental railway locomotives are then glimpsed before Bergman arrives into ‘Tientsin station’ on the Chinese border. This is actually the Longmoor Military Railway, with a fairly substantial mock-up station constructed in Longmoor Yard and one of the railway’s USATC S100 Class 0-6-0T’s disguised as a Chinese locomotive.