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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:02 pm 
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Marabunta
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I really like the way he portrayed the US Marine Corps major. He reminded me of a few that I knew when I was in the Navy. Hard on the outside but soft hearted inside.

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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:16 am 
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An Italian poster....


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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:17 am 
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newspaper ad from the Milwaukee Journal - August, 1963.


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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:17 am 
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another ad.


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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:08 pm 
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Damned Dirty Admin
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Wow, they were really selling it with that first ad you posted! :lol: I have to agree, movies are always better on the big screen, while epics are basically made for the big screen.

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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 6:25 am 
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Prince Judah
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I may be moving away from the topic... but I can't help it. The last scene where Lewis pulls up the little girl is really touching, and it also reminds me of some other Chuck-scenes with such little ones, especially girls. In 'Khartoum', Gordon's affection for the little girl reveals a deep tender side of his character, and even a character like Neville(in the Omega Man') looks different when he puts the girl inside the car, and she asks him, 'Are you God?'.... i feel that such scenes work out so well because of Chuck's real-life affectionate side as a 'daughter's father ', he and Lydia adopted the daughter (to make sure that it would be a girl) after they got a boy as their biological child.

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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:13 pm 
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Prince Judah
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There are certain parallels among Heston's various characters, to be sure... his gentleness with children while being tough with adults is certainly prominent.

I also noted some parallels in a few scenes in a couple of films today. Just before watching a good portion of this film again during the TCM marathon today, I was also watching The Wreck of the Mary Deare. In that film, one scene finds Heston on a small boat with Gary Cooper at sea (this is after they leave the ship of the title). It recalled a similar scene with Heston and Jack Hawkins in the middle of Ben-Hur.

Now, in 55 Day at Peking, Heston and David Niven are slowly walking through a crowd of hostile Chinese (the Boxers). I immediately thought of the scene of Heston slowly walking through a crowd of hostile prisoners in Major Dundee. Eerie..? :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:32 am 
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Yes, yes, I think he knew what mannerism suited him when! As for rescuing Arrius(Hawkins), that going-to-be-old man seemed to throw all his weight upon poor Judah, he didn't even dragged himself up, Judah had to do it all, while holding the platform so that it is not waved away. And recall another scene from POTA-- when the astronauts reach the shore on a robber-boat, Taylor has to come down and push the boat, while the other two sit still. Eerie....?

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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:57 pm 
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And to think how differently things may have turned out of if Heston had done "Fall of the Roman Empire" instead of this one - would we have had Stephen Boyd playing Heston's role in this as a result?


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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:24 pm 
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Prince Judah
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Found a nice and comprehensive blog-review on this movie. I am quoting important portions, view the rest from the link-

http://filmjournal.net/livius/category/ ... a-gardner/

"I generally steer clear of writing about huge sprawling epics on this blog, but that’s not to say I don’t like them. As it happens I’m extremely fond of such films and often feel that it’s a near impossible task to do them justice in a relatively short write up. When I was growing up the Samuel Bronston movies were always a source of marvellous entertainment to me, and represented some of the most spectacular scenes ever put on film. So, when I realised this would be my hundredth post here I thought maybe it was time to turn my attention for once to a genuinely big film. I could have chosen El Cid or The Fall of the Roman Empire but opted instead for one of the so-called lesser Bronston’s, 55 Days at Peking (1963).

The action takes place in the summer of 1900, during the latter stages of the Boxer Rebellion, when the foreign legations in Peking came under siege. Without wanting to get mired in historical detail, it seems safe to say that the Boxers found their roots in a sense of unease over the growing foreign influence in China. At the time this influence was most apparent in the area of religion, with Christianity usurping the local variety. The movie opens with a brief voiceover narration to the accompaniment of a cacophony of national anthems assaulting the eardrums. After a little more exposition in the Forbidden City, the camera cuts to the arrival of a column of dusty and weary US marines. At their head is the swaggering figure of Major Lewis (Charlton Heston), no mean feat while still on horseback. That the situation in China is spiralling out of control is immediately obvious when we see an English priest, strapped to a water wheel, being slowly tortured to death. Lewis’ attempts to buy the priest fail and the only thing he and his men accomplish is the killing of a Boxer. From here events move inexorably towards the inevitable crisis. Despite the best efforts of the British minister, Sir Arthur Robertson (David Niven), a state of war is fast approaching. In the midst of the mounting chaos Lewis finds himself drawn into a romance with a Russian aristocrat of dubious reputation (Ava Gardner). This slow build up occupies the first half of the film and it is quite heavy going. However, there are some visually impressive set pieces, such as the confrontation with a Boxer “theatrical” group during the Queen’s birthday celebrations, to keep it from becoming totally bogged down.

It’s only with the murder of the German envoy that things start to heat up on the screen. This is the point where the real action and spectacle take centre stage. Lewis’ romance starts to fade into the background as all attention is focused on the ever more desperate attempts to defend the foreign compound from wave after wave of attacks from the fanatical Boxers. It’s these marvellously choreographed scenes of pitched battles along the ramparts that really breathe life into the movie. The maniacal determination of the Chinese to breach the foreign defences forces the besieged men to come up with ever more ingenious ways to repel them. When the Boxers wheel a massive tower laden with explosives up to the perimeter, and proceed to bombard the exposed compound below, there’s a wonderful scene wherein a French priest (Harry Andrews) with a suspiciously strong Irish brogue supervises the construction of an improvised mortar to lob fireballs back at them. While this all sounds slightly deranged on paper it’s filmed and performed with enough style and conviction to remain gripping and tense throughout. Even though the seemingly endless assaults and counterattacks make for great cinema in themselves, there’s also a well filmed sequence of a night time raid on the Chinese arsenal which concludes with a magnificent and explosive payoff. The only false note is having the British minister tool up and join the raiding party on their sortie - although I’m guessing it was done to give David Niven the chance to get away from pottering fretfully around his study."

....

"...As far as the performers are concerned it’s Heston’s film all the way. Chuck was in the middle of that purple patch that would last another decade and he stamps his authority all over this picture. Though to be fair, while the film doesn’t develop his character to any meaningful degree it does offer ample opportunity for the kind of iconic posing only he could pull off convincingly. David Niven’s quiet, gentlemanly dignity is a welcome contrast (his casual flicking aside of the kneeling cushion when summoned before the Dowager Empress is a beautifully understated moment), and he even manages to make some fairly trite dialogue sound credible by adopting just the right amount of earnestness - a true professional. Ava Gardner was nearing the end of her days as a leading lady at this point and her performance is adequate but nothing more. I understand that she didn’t get along particularly well with Heston (they certainly don’t have a lot of on screen chemistry) so that may be part of the problem. Finally, a word about Dimitri Tiomkin’s score; his style is not to everyone’s taste and he’s sometimes criticised for being excessively bombastic, but I like it a lot and think it’s perfectly suited to this kind of larger than life movie."

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