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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 3:05 am 
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Prince Judah
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A page from 55 DAYS AT PEKING comics version, can anybody provide any details? I can find only this page, and no other link.
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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 7:47 pm 
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Prince Judah
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My first guess is that would be the 55 Days at Peking comic book published the same year as the film was released by Gold Key, one of their Movie Comics line. There's one in auction right now on eBay which ends in a couple of days;
I'm actually thinking of bidding on it now, as I may get it cheap: Image http://www.ebay.com/itm/55-Days-at-Peki ... 46041459fa

If I do get it, then I can confirm if those comic book panels are from this book. :sherlock:
EDIT: whoops, an update - I just bid and it's not as low as I thought; someone has a higher bid on it.


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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 10:57 am 
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You can still do it, brave knight. SMITE HIM!

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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 4:06 pm 
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Prince Judah
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If you get this, Knight, I would like to see how they have portrayed Chuck with the little girl-- in scanned pages posted by you, if possible.

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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:57 pm 
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Prince Judah
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Here is a nice review, you can read it through the link. I am quoting important portions.

http://livius1.wordpress.com/category/a ... opher-lee/

" 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.

Take my hand - Charlton Heston in 55 Days at Peking

One of the pleasures of watching the epic movies from this era is the knowledge that the sheer scale of the production wasn’t anything but real. Nowadays, in the age of CGI, the thought of something as financially prohibitive as building a full size replica of the besieged compound and filling it with literally thousands of swarming extras would be enough to give the average studio executive palpitations, if not an outright seizure. However, the fact that what you see on the screen in a movie like this is real and has actual physical mass adds something indefinable, a quality that’s now been lost. Somehow the very knowledge that you can now create pretty much any image imaginable on screen rubs away a little of the magic for me. To all intents and purposes 55 Days at Peking was Nicholas Ray’s last film, having walked away leaving it incomplete after one argument too many with Bronston he suffered a heart attack. It’s not his best work by any means and I don’t believe he was ideally suited to these kinds of large scale productions. Still, the striking use of colour throughout does seem to bear his hallmark. 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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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:26 pm 
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I wonder at one thing-- hope many of you remember the scene where Heston and Niven lead their men to a raid to destroy the Boxer-camp. They are disguised in Boxer outfits. Has anybody thought of how they have got those outfits? If they have taken them off the dead Boxers in the battlefield, it is really difficult to find one that would fit the 6' 3" Heston. Chinese people are generally of short height.

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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:56 pm 
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Prince Judah
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itsjudah24 wrote:
If you get this, Knight, I would like to see how they have portrayed Chuck with the little girl-- in scanned pages posted by you, if possible.

I missed the deadline for bidding again on that 55 Days at Peking comic book and was unable to get it.
I finally bought a copy from another eBay seller only a week or so ago and it arrived the other day.

The problem, though, is that this is a typical-length American comic book of about 30 pages, so it is a condensed version
of events in the film; after looking through it once, it looks like the whole subplot involving the little girl was not included
in this comic book version. I can confirm that it is the same comic book which contains those couple of panels which you
found a while back. And, the artist tried to capture the likenesses of Heston, Ava Gardner and David Niven. You can see more from
the comic book in the new Comic Book thread that I created in the Memorabilia section. It shows that the first page of the
comic book begins the story much later than where the film began.


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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:04 am 
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Say, did anyone else read the story about how during filming Chuck saw his "Greatest Show On Earth" co-star James Stewart check into a hotel only to be told "We don't allow actors" only for Stewart to reply "I'm not here as an actor I'm here as Colonel James Stewart of the United States Air Force"? Or how during filming Chuck's chauffeur wasn't getting paid, so Chuck paid him after telling this multiple times to Samuel Bronston only to see that nothing was happening, at least I think it was Sam (been a while since I read In The Arena) or whoever was supposed to be handling it and then got reimbursed for paying the chauffeur?


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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:26 pm 
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EL-CID-1983 wrote:
Say, did anyone else read the story about how during filming Chuck saw his "Greatest Show On Earth" co-star James Stewart check into a hotel only to be told "We don't allow actors" only for Stewart to reply "I'm not here as an actor I'm here as Colonel James Stewart of the United States Air Force"? Or how during filming Chuck's chauffeur wasn't getting paid, so Chuck paid him after telling this multiple times to Samuel Bronston only to see that nothing was happening, at least I think it was Sam (been a while since I read In The Arena) or whoever was supposed to be handling it and then got reimbursed for paying the chauffeur?

I've read about the second story, but have no recollection of the first. Why wouldn't they allow actors and who the heck can turn down James Stewart?!

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 Post subject: Re: 55 Days at Peking
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:59 pm 
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Detective Thorn wrote:
EL-CID-1983 wrote:
Say, did anyone else read the story about how during filming Chuck saw his "Greatest Show On Earth" co-star James Stewart check into a hotel only to be told "We don't allow actors" only for Stewart to reply "I'm not here as an actor I'm here as Colonel James Stewart of the United States Air Force"? Or how during filming Chuck's chauffeur wasn't getting paid, so Chuck paid him after telling this multiple times to Samuel Bronston only to see that nothing was happening, at least I think it was Sam (been a while since I read In The Arena) or whoever was supposed to be handling it and then got reimbursed for paying the chauffeur?

I've read about the second story, but have no recollection of the first. Why wouldn't they allow actors and who the heck can turn down James Stewart?!

I don't remember exactly why that particular hotel wouldn't allow actors to stay there - I know that in ancient times the profession of acting was not as revered as it is today (in some ancient cultures actors were actually looked down upon - in the Nolan/Bale/Jackman adaptation of the Prestige Hugh Jackman's character changed his name so as not to embarrass his very well off family with having an entertainer in the family) so maybe the owner(s) of that hotel were in that mindset, or maybe they just didn't want to deal with the local tabloids or what have you.


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