55 Days at Peking (1963) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Diplomats, soldiers and other representatives of a dozen nations fend off the siege of the International Compound in Peking during the 1900 Boxer Rebellion. The disparate interests unite for survival despite competing factions, overwhelming odds, delayed relief and tacit support of the Boxers by… Runtime: 154 min Release Date: 20 Sep 1963
Others have used a fine comb to go over the plot details so I needn't repeat it here. Quite simply, this is an action movie intended to entertain, not educate as some would prefer. One needn't look for drop-by-drop authenticity since purportedly they didn't use a speck of African soil when filming "Casablanca" either, although no one would ever guess it.I was surprised to note Flora Robson as the Dowager Empress as I felt sure it must have been Gale Sondergaard, being her kind of role. There's a superb cast and well-moving script, some of the mannerisms were overdone <more>
but then that's what acting is about at times. It's good entertainment and deserves more than one viewing to absorb it entirely.
The good old fashion type of the movie. (by Sunil_Vikashiki)
Movie is the good old fashion kind with the political and the historical intrigue. Movie about very small group of American and European military and businessmen setting up the possible trade posts in land overpopulated by the China people. Many of the people very primitive compare to the newcomers and very suspicious of ways of newcomers. Of course does not take long for war to start and quickly the Europeans and the Americans are soon surrounding. Fortune keeps striking the ingenious ones as each large massive attacked repelled using the quick thinking and the superior strategy. Soon the <more>
supplies to be running out so use of the coy political move made through the daring mission of exploding main ammunition depot to make the large humiliation of the China Queen. Acting in the film very great especially that of Mr. Charlton Heston. Movie quality is very well made as most of film of this era is. If looking for fancy computer effects, not going to find here. Nothing here but the good old fashion movie. Good acting and direction make you be happy every time the good guys in film defeat the bad guys with the multiple countries celebrating at end. Movie get 10 out of the 10.
Allied Artists Big Hit with Ava and Heston (by williwaw)
Samuel Bronston film impresario extraordinaire built a replica of Peking aka as Beijing on the outskirts of Madrid and filmed this exciting film. Allied Artists was a small boutique studio that produced such films as Love In The Afternoon, El Cid, Friendly Persuasion, Soldier In The Rain, and even an Elvis Presley movie Tickle Me and scored triumphs with Papillion and Cabaret. Directors such as John Huston,William Wyler, Bob Fosse, and Billy Wilder worked at AA as well as stars such Sophia Loren, Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn, Steve McQueen, Liza Minnelli and William Holden. Allied Artists <more>
studio had a big hit with 55 Days At Peking which recounts the Boxer Rebellion in China. Charlton Heston is stalwart and manly as always and Ava Gardner as the female lead is gorgeous to the camera. Mr.Heston would remark in his book that only Ava Gardner could stay out all night and party and look more beautiful in the morning than ever David Niven lends fine support. I highly recommend this exciting film.
55 Days at Peking 2008 compared to 1963 (by shmulik-cohen)
I am commenting on the DVD version that I have now and I have not seen since 1963. There is a very big difference as in 1963 not only I was much younger but Cinema has changed. 55 Days was a Large Screen Movie compared with the Ten Commandments, Cleopatra of the same year 1963 and The Sound of Music and many others at that period. In those days of Cinema Hollywood convinced people to go to the Cinema with Movies that are not the same on Black and White TV on Small Screen. Watching it on DVD is not the same. Technirama an Advanced Technicolor, Dolby Stereo not as big as Cinerama. I <more>
specifically remember sitting in the cinema and the sound moved behind us. For example the Musical Bands in the opening scenes playing the anthems. About the History of China read the other comments. Still a very exciting Movie where a minority overcomes the Mass's winning at the end. David Niven does an interesting part that reminds me of the Guns of Navarone. Heston and most other actors do it very well too. Nine out of Ten in Sam's Scale.
Beautiful Tiompkin score and intelligent scripting win out (by kreeper)
This much maligned Bronston epic, known perhaps more for its production disasters than its actual on-screen merits, has, after nearly 40 years, finally blossomed into a respectable epic of the early 60's- less logy than Bronston's EL CID 1961 and less misguided than his FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE 1964 and perhaps his best elephantine production of all. A pungent script by Philip Yordan reportedly written and the film was shot creates a powerful ambiance of the politics of 1900 china and the intricate background of the then world power's conspiring to undermine each other for the <more>
sake of nationalism and the humility of confronting man-power over brain-power. An undeserved footnote in film- and a near-classic has the Ava Gardner romance sub-plot been excised entirely- 55 Days at Peking rates a 9.
Allied Artists Pictures was a small boutique movie studio. Willima Wyler's splendid "Friendly Persuasion" with Gary Cooper movie was among the fine films distributed by AA other Allied Artits films were "Love In The Afternoon" with Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn, "El Cid" with Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren, "Soldier In the Rain" with Steve McQueen and future hits would be "Cabaret" with Oscar Winner Liza Minneli, and "Papillion again with Steve McQueen, and a great John Huston film "The Man Who Would Be King" with Sean <more>
Connery. AA had no big studio lot to offer other companies to rent and hence had little or no rental Income, and had no TV division as did Warners, 20th and MGM.Allied Artists did manage to bankroll this fine film set in China but filmed in Spain. Starring Charlton Heston, David Niven and the too beautiful Ava Gardner it is a stirring film set in the Boxer Rebellion. I remembered this fine film when it premiered, and it was a hit. Produced by super producer Samuel Bronston in the league of Sam Spiegel and David Selznick as maestro producers.Sadly even though AA did manage to lure the only sure fire box office at the time Elvis Presley to film "Tickle Me" and the other films mentioned above it could not compete with the major film companies and went out of business. Its last film of note was Billy Wilder's brilliant "Fedora" with William Holden, Henry Fonda and a cast of great character actors however AA could not give that film its proper distribution and that film failed too.Someday someone will do a book on Allied [email protected]
For a while there Samuel Bronston was in a contest with Dino De Laurentis to see who would inherit the mantle of Cecil B. DeMille for producer/director of big budget spectacles. Bronston's 1963 entree is 55 Days in Peking about the Boxer Rebellion and the attack on the foreign compound in Peking.A Chinese made film on this would certainly tell a different tale. Since the Opium War when Great Britain humiliated China and was granted all kinds of trading concessions a whole flock of other powers came in and nibbled off chunks of China. There were pieces of that country on the coast that <more>
were colonies in all, but name. The latest nibbler was Japan who defeated them in the Sino-Japanese War a few years earlier and they are among those in the foreign compound.A Chinese made film this was not, it is an American produced European made film and the concentration is on the heroic resistance of the foreigners. The Boxers are a secret society who's symbol is the clenched fist. They start the rebellion against the Chinese government, but the government directs them against the foreigners. One thing that must be remembered. It's common even today to have one's military personnel, a corporal's guard of them, stationed at embassies all over the world. But you can see for yourself that there sure were a lot more troops than a small guard force. David Niven and Elizabeth Sellars are the British Minister and his wife who lead the resistance. They bring the others in line, including the Americans who have no colonies as such, but sure are looking for some better trading rights. The American minister who is played by director Nicholas Ray is ill so the marine commander Charlton Heston is making the decisions for the USA. Heston's also got some romantic entanglements with Ava Gardner the widowed sister-in-law of the Russian minister Kurt Kaszner.Another perceptive viewer mentioned that Heston and Gardner were not a great romantic team and waited patiently for the action to begin during the romantic interludes. Heston and Gardner did not get along during the filming of 55 Days at Peking, so Heston says in his autobiography. Got along great with David Niven though, but then again I can't think of anyone who didn't.One of Heston's men who is killed in the siege is the father of a AmerAsian child who is now an orphan. Some of the best scenes involving the personal issues raised in this film are with Heston and the child. Heston has to confront some of his own feelings there and his character grows as a result.The outcome of this for the Americans was our Secretary of State John Hay issuing the Open Door declaration, guaranteeing Chinese sovereignty. Sad to say, but with the best of intentions it just wasn't possible. China as we all know worked out her own salvation at a terrible price.
" A Violent Wind will arise to Destroy the Foreign Devils " (by thinker1691)
China has produced many a historical event which has shaped it's past. The discovery of Gun Powder, Rockets and even spaghetti are said to have originated in this vast country. Yet it is the rise of the Boxers which still provokes much debate among scholars today. This exceptional film called " 55 Days at Peking " was directed by Nicholas Ray and has been hailed as perhaps the best rendition of that infamous rebellion. The years of the Boxer Rebellion spanned 1898 thru 1901 and involved the nine imperial powers of the world. The reasons for the rebellion were manifest, but chief <more>
among them concerned the ever growing problem of Christian missionaries spreading like locust across China. Accompanying the Christians were the business profiteers who systematically drained the wealth and natural resources of China. The film dwells mainly on the military conflict between the foreign powers, the Boxers and the Imperial Empress Dowager Cixi Flora Robson and lasted 55 days. Although Charlton Heston plays American Maj. Matt Lewis, his commanding presence is overshadowed by David Niven who plays Sir. Arthur Robertson. Together they share the screen with such notables as Ava Gardner, Harry Andrews, Leo Glenn and John Ireland. The movie which offers hundreds of angry sign-carrying multitudes, also has impressive battle scenes, terrific explosions and physical mayhem, is also touched by several poignant moments. Although entertaining, the movie labors at several intervals. Nevertheless, the movie with its multi-star cast earned enough praise to list it as a historical Classic. Recommended to anyone seeking amusement from the pages of Chinese history. ****
First, this is one of those films that really deserves to be seen on the big screen. It is an epic production, and it is done extremely well. Sets are lavish, and from what I have read, remarkably accurate.On the downside, the production is overly long. With the scope of the story, it was bound to be over 2 hours, but the run time here is a full 2 hours and 30 minutes.I remember seeing this film when it was first released, and was impressed by it. But then being less impressed when I saw it on television quite a few years ago. However, the new release, clearly restored, made it a wonderful <more>
film to watch again.This is a somewhat accurate depiction of events during the Boxer Rebellion, and yes, the foreign delegations were holed up in then Peking for 55 days. Sure, the film is somewhat fictionalized, but in a reasonable way...it's just good...make that great...movie making.This was back in the good old days when Charlton Heston was still just a wonderful actor, before he got all political and ruined his own career. He is great here. Fits the role perfectly.Ava Gardner has never been one of my favorites, but I did enjoy her in this film. A very good performance.And, this film is a good reminder of just how good David Niven was. He is perfect here as the conflicted British diplomat, and his scenes with Charlton Heston are very, very good.There are a handful of other character actors you'll recognize. I was pleased to see Paul Lukas, having just watched him in "Watch On The Rhine".I highly this film, which I feel is underrated here on IMDb. Perhaps it's the time we live in, as compared to the time when this was first released. I give it very high marks, and I would guess it finds a place on quite a few DVD shelves.