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55 Days at Peking (1963)

Unrated | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 6 May 1963 (UK)
During the 1900 Boxer Rebellion against foreigners in China, U.S. Marine Major Matt Lewis, aided by British Consul Sir Arthur Robertson, devises a strategy to keep the rebels at bay until an international military relief force arrives.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(additional dialogue), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Maj. Matt Lewis
...
Baroness Natalie Ivanoff
...
Sir Arthur Robertson
...
...
Sgt. Harry
...
Father de Bearn
...
Gen. Jung-Lu
...
Prince Tuan
...
Baron Sergei Ivanoff
...
Julliard
...
Dr. Steinfeldt
...
Lady Sarah Robertson
...
Garibaldi
...
Maj. Bobrinski
Jerome Thor ...
Capt. Andy Marshall
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Storyline

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 the Empress of China and her generals. Written by Martin H. Booda <booda@datasync.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A handful of men and women held out against the frenzied hordes of bloodthirsty fanatics!


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 May 1963 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Fifty Five Days at Peking  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film, which was shot in Spain, needed hundreds of Chinese extras, and the company sent scouts throughout Spain and the rest of Europe to hire as many Asiatic-looking actors as they could find. The casting web in 1962 reached as far as London, Lyon and Marseilles, so the result was that many Chinese restaurants in those cities closed for the summer 1962 during filming because the restaurant staff - often including the restaurant's owners - was hired away by the film company. The company hired so many that for several months there was scarcely a Chinese restaurant to be found open in Spain and those 3 other cities. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scenes while the German band is playing the national anthem, their flagpole is flying the modern Netherlands flag upside-down. The German flag in 1900 had black, white and red horizontal stripes. See more »

Quotes

Capt. Andy Marshall: [Regarding the Boxers massed on the Tartar Wall] No sign of activity, hmm?
Sgt. Harry: No sir, I think they're all asleep.
Capt. Andy Marshall: Ah, but we'd better not be Sergeant.
[Nodding to sleeping soldiers]
Capt. Andy Marshall: You'd better wake them all up.
Sgt. Harry: [to English Soldier] Wake up!
[to German Soldier]
Sgt. Harry: Guten Morgen!
[to French Soldier]
Sgt. Harry: Bonjour! Bonjour!
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dragon Flies (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

So Little Time
(The Peking Theme)
Recorded by Andy Williams on CBS Records
Words by Paul Francis Webster
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Even in wartimes, a valuable gift placed high enough can work miracles…

"55 Days at Peking" is the story of the Boxer Rebellion in China, in the summer of the year 1900, where the violent wind of discontent disturbs the land…

Separated from the foreign compound by a mere wall and a gate is the Forbidden City, where, in untouchable isolation, Empress Dowager Tzu—protected by an army of eunuchs—earnestly advises Sir Arthur (David Niven) that all foreign residents, including diplomatic personnel, to leave Peking within 24 hours…

For the Empress of China (Flora Robson), the situation in Peking cannot be expected to become tranquil because of the projected draught, because of hunger and unrest among the people, because of the merciless demands of the foreign powers… Prince Tuan (Robert Helpmann) counsels the empress a reckless adventure, while Gen. Jung-Lu (Leo Genn) counsels prudence and patience…

That morning, Sir Arthur came to the Imperial Palace with the truth, the truth that is already known to the German government, and to all other powers, asking the empress to take action against Prince Tuan who commanded the Boxers to drag and kill the German minister…

Obviously, the empress rejected Sir Arthur's truth and his protest, informing him that Prince Tuan is her closest and most trusted adviser and she appointed him to head the foreign office… The ambassadors realizing now that Prince Tuan succeeded in getting the support of the empress, vote on whether to stay or leave Peking…

Niven demonstrated both his capacity and his potential as the English diplomat with no intention of displaying fear of the Boxers, nor of handling the victory to Prince Tuan…

Ava Gardner looks beautiful as the Russian Baroness who knows that her sublime trinket sure glitters…

Lynne Sue Moon steals the show in her moving portrayal of the abandoned Oriental 12-year-old child in need of love and care and who has been promised, by her father, to be taken home to America… Her best scene comes at the climax of the movie when Heston— riding out at the head of his Army—stops, looks down at the girl, and says, "Here, take my hand." He pulls her upon his horse and they ride together out of Peking…

Nicholas Ray's direction and the actors' performance appear sincere enough… Those merely looking for an epic spectacle are likely not to get satisfaction from it as a motion picture… In spite of its aspirations, "55 Days in Peking" isn't enough to keep us engaged, while, there's no denying, succeeded in entertaining us for a while…


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