7 Women - 1966 - John Ford
The last dance for a master. John Ford was one of the great directors of the cinema's first century. For his final film he moves from the beautiful vistas of Monument Valley to an isolated mission in China. Ford's ever present theme of what it is to be a hero movie the action here but, instead of John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart we have Anne Bancroft as a doctor who has come to the mission. Margaret Leighton is the old fashion head of the mission that does not agree with the doctor's ways. When the mission is attacked by Mongolian invaders the doctor sacrifices herself to protected the seven other women whom the film's title refers. The lovely Sue Lyon plays the youngest of the women. She is the focus of the ideological struggle between the doctor's modern sensibilities and the mission's religious ways. As is the case in all of Ford's work neither way is necessarily right. Both views have value and even though Bancroft is the hero, her character is something of a martyr.